29-Year-Old UFC Welterweight 14-2-0
June 1, 2018 Belal Muhammad News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Muhammad defeated Chance Rencountre via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at UFC Fight Night on Friday in Utica, New York.
Muhammad looked fresh as a daisy despite the fact he hasn't been able to eat or drink from sunrise to sundown for the past two weeks because of his observing Ramadan. He made weight on Thursday morning and then had to wait many hours before he could add any muscle to his drawn out frame. It didn't impact Muhammad's performance on Friday. The victory was Belal's fourth in a row and the only blemish over the span is the fact that all four wins have come via decision. Muhammad has quietly amassed a 5-2 record throughout the early portion of his UFC career.
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Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad was originally scheduled to face Niko Price, but Price ultimately withdrew for an undisclosed reason. He'll instead welcome the 31-year-old Rencountre to the UFC in a fight where Muhammad finds himself as one of the largest betting favorites on the card. He's been on the shelf since November 2017 due to a knee injury, but will look to regain momentum and build on the three-fight winning streak he's currently riding.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad is riding a three-fight winning streak, but hasn't fought since last November after having MCL surgery. The welterweight had originally been targeting an April return, but the team will play it safe and return in New York this summer. Muhammad holds statistical advantages in striking volume, takedown average and takedown defense, which should make him the betting favorite in this matchup.
Fantasy AnalysisThe knee injury shouldn't keep him out too long, as Muhammad is targeting a return to the Octagon in April. He is currently on a three-fight win streak, including a recent victory over Tim Means in November via split decision. There should be an update regarding his status around mid-March.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad won this fight, but it could have been judged either way. It was mostly a stand-up fight, and the statistics were very close. Muhammad was able to get a takedown in the second round, and that likely swayed the judges in his favor, although he only held "The Dirty Bird" down for a brief period of time. In the second and third rounds, it was a back and forth fight, with neither fighter getting hurt. The two combatants relied primarily on jabs and straight right hands. Muhammad likely earned the decision for attempting multiple takedowns. Even though he was successful with only one takedown, it showed aggression and that he was putting pressure on Means. Muhammad called out Colby Covington in the post-fight interview.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad was left without an opponent after Jesse Taylor was flagged with an anti-doping violation by the USADA. UFC veteran Tim Means has stepped up to take his place. "Remember the Name" is 12-2 (3-2 UFC) and has already fought twice this year, both of which ended in unanimous decision victories.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad will lose his opponent for the time being due to a potential USADA violation by Taylor, but with the card two months down the road, the UFC appears to be actively searching for a replacement welterweight opponent. The 29-year-old Muhammad is an up-and-comer in the 170-pound division, and will be looking to tally his third victory in a row on the November card.
Fantasy AnalysisAfter an opening round which saw Muhammad being susceptible to leg kicks from Mein, Muhammad adjusted his strategy and controlled Mein against the fence for the majority of the remainder of the fight. It was not a boring fight as Muhammad landed knees and elbows, and managed to cut Mein. The Milwaukee-based fighter was also able to get a few takedowns and came close to securing a rear-naked choke after taking Mein's back and sinking in a body lock. However, the 11-year professional mixed martial artist was able to escape the tough position and survive until the closing bell. Muhammad looked impressive and his boxing improved in the later rounds once he tired Mein out against the fence.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a nice bounce back effort for Muhammad following his first-round KO loss at the hands of Vicente Luque at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in November. In his two UFC wins, Muhammad has shown a consistent ability to both land on the feet, and mix in a takedown if needed. He connected with a whopping 146 total strikes on Saturday. The UFC would be wise to give him a better opponent next time out in hopes of seeing if the advancements he has made are legitimate.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad attempted to throw a lazy punch that Luque was able to easily deflect before smashing a left-hand into Muhammad's face. Muhammad ate a few extra punches because referee John McCarthy was uncharacteristically slow with his stoppage, but the damage was already done. It was a scary finish. As solid as Muhammad looked in his last fight against Augusto Montano in September was as bad as he looked on Saturday. He now sports an uninspiring 1-2 record in his UFC career.
Fantasy AnalysisThe competition was virtually non-existent, but Muhammad will take his first UFC victory in any fashion he could get it. Muhammad scored consistently with both strikes and takedowns, slowly overwhelming Montano from the moment the opening bell rang. Muhammad looked decent in his UFC debut (a unanimous decision loss to Alan Jouban in July) and on Saturday he showed what he is capable of. The 28-year-old is worth keeping an eye on in the UFC's welterweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad may have taken the defeat in his UFC debut, but he certainly earned the respect of UFC fans after putting an iron chin on display. Jouban landed several flush shots early that resulted in knockdowns, but Muhammad just stood up and continued pressing forward. He was able to secure a takedown and land a reasonable volume of shots, but it was clearly Jouban that did more damage throughout the bout. That being said, Muhammad made it interesting in the third round by wobbling Jouban after landing several heavy shots of his own. Had this fight been scheduled for five rounds, Muhammad would have almost certainly came out on top, as he displayed superior conditioning in the tail end of the bout. There's no question Muhammad should be back in the UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisMuhammad, who will be making his UFC debut, owns a 9-0 professional record. His last three bouts were with the Titan FC promotion, where he finished as the company's welterweight champion. Like Jouban, Muhammad prefers to keep fights standing, but he expects to rely more on volume than power in this one. His clearest path to victory would likley be to keep his distance, tally up strikes and ride out a decision.