UFC Saudi Arabia: Felipe Lima Taps Muhammad Naimov in Thrilling Debut

Muhammad Naimov and Felipe Lima, UFC Saudi Arabia
Muhammad Naimov and Felipe Lima, UFC Saudi Arabia ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

With Melsik Baghdasaryan tearing his labrum, it was Brazil’s Felipe Lima stepping into a short-notice featherweight fight with Muhammad Naimov at UFC Saudi Arabia.

While the opportunity got Lima’s foot in the door with the UFC, the highly-regarded bantamweight prospect was fighting up a weight class, on extremely short notice.

Lima started early in his UFC debut, firing a kick, then charging across the cage, firing a flying knee that came awfully close to ending the fight early. Things settled down just a little after that, with Lima firing low kicks. Naimov, the larger man, clinched up, and fired a knee of his own. On the feet, Lima was clearly able to hold his own, but in the second half of the round, Naimov was able to get the newcomer to his back, laying on Lima. Naimov was cut, however, dripping blood down onto his opponent.

Round two started out with more back-and-forth on the feet. Naimov mixed in a leg kick, then fanned on a spinning kick. Lima put together strikes to the body and head, but Naimov had become the busier fighter. He clinched up, landing a few knees. Lima answered back a moment later with a kick to the torso. No top control for Naimov in this round, with the pair continuing to battle it out on the feet for the most part.

Between rounds, Lima’s corner scolded him, telling him to use his boxing, and that he wasn’t tired. “You’d better do this,” his coach implored, telling him to do it for his mother, who Lima hadn’t been able to visit in two years.

Naimov opened round three with a kick, while Lima firing knees, then a high kick that was blocked. Lima hit the body, went upstairs, and then fired a spinning back kick. When Naimov clinched up, looking for a throw, Lima reversed, took the back, and sunk in a tight rear-naked choke! It wasn’t long before Naimov tapped, giving Felipe Lima a big win in his promotional debut. And, with a visit home to Brazil planned, he’ll get to celebrate the win with his mother.

Official Result: Felipe Lima def. Muhammad Naimov by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 1:15