Belal Muhammad silenced any doubt that he was one of the best welterweights in the world on Saturday night as he proved a puzzle too difficult for Vicente Luque to solve in the main event of the UFC Fight Night.
Luque was a small favorite heading into the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Muhammad was in complete control of the fight except for a third round in which he was repeatedly tripped by Luque. Muhammad confused his opponent with constant side-to-side movement along the fence line, which made it difficult for Luque to get a rhythm or land straight punches. Muhammad used whip kicks to score runs from range and landed takedowns once Luque was caught in striking exchanges.
Muhammad picked up eliminations in each of the first four rounds, including a third round in which he was rocked significantly by Luque. But Muhammad did well not to panic as he continued to move, throw strikes and eventually urge Luque to leave the opening for a takedown. Muhammad received a unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 49-46 and a scorecard showing 48-47.
Following his victory, Muhammad spoke with UFC commentator Daniel Cormier, where he called out Colby Covington. He slammed “Chaos” for fighting Jorge Masvidal and Tyron Woodley, both of whom have been in Covington fights on back-to-back losses, and tough lightweights like Dustin Poirier. Muhammad also took a moment to salute his fellow Palestinians, saying his fight in the Octagon was nothing compared to what they fight for every day.
Muhammad (21-3, 1 NC) extended his unbeaten streak to eight with wins over Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. Luque (21-8-1) saw his four-game winning streak end in a loss.