UFC Vegas 74: John Castaneda Defeats Newcomer Muin Gafurov on Scorecards

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John Castaneda and Muin Gafurov, UFC Vegas 74
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 02: (L-R) Opponents John Castaneda and Muin Gafurov of Tajikistan face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on June 02, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

ONE Championship and LFA alum Muin Gafurov made his promotional debut at UFC Vegas 74 on Saturday, paired up with John Castaneda.

Bantamweight Gafurov, who had come up short on the Contender Series, had rebounded with a couple of wins in LFA. Castaneda had posted a 2-2 record through four fights in the UFC, and was coming off a Fight of the Night-winning performance.

When the fight kicked off, it was aggressive work from Gafurov that got things going. He was throwing wild and flashed a takedown even though it never came close. Soon after he re-shot and while he did get in on the legs, Castaneda defended. Gafurov then threw an axe kick and a wheel kick showing just how dangerous he can be. Castaneda was very calm even though Gafurov was going right after him. Castaneda did a good job sticking on the outside with leg kicks and a straight left. Castaneda landed a head kick right on the mark dropping Gafurov. Gafurov managed to hold Castaneda close until he cleared the cobwebs and scrambled to his feet. Both guys ended the round swinging.

Gafurov came out firing in round two throwing caution to the wind. He was winging big rights and lefts and some were landing on Castaneda. He was putting everything into his punches. Castaneda did take him down and took the back but slipped off. Gafurov went right back at it firing with hooks, and had Castaneda retreating. As Gafurov was coming forward he clashed heads with Castaneda and Gafurov had a point taken as a result.

Gafurov got a quick takedown after the break but Castaneda bounced right back up. Still in control, Castaneda tried to scramble but gave Gafurov top position for a little bit. The last minute saw Gafurov coming forward swinging and Castaneda trying for a takedown.

In the final round Gafurov showed the pressure a bit. He was the first to make a move shooting for a takedown. He almost got it but Castaneda displayed excellent defensive wrestling. Castaneda was still swinging wild but using it to shoot takedowns. Castaneda’s defense was too good and he was the one to get a takedown. Gafurov slowly worked back to his feet with a minute left in the fight. Castaneda got another takedown to end the round on the back.

Official Result: John Castaneda def. Muin Gafurov by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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