Belal Muhammad cannot be denied much longer. Muhammad overwhelmed Sean Brady with pressure, building momentum over the course of two rounds until Brady withered at UFC 280 on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
Accomplished grapplers Muhammad and Brady negated each other's wrestling skills. The result was a compelling stand-up battle not particularly common for the two fighters. Brady started the fight well by fending off Muhammad with the jab. It opened space for Brady to land repeatedly with left hooks, right crosses and low leg kicks. Brady also appeared to have the strength advantage, landing harder punches and physically shoving Muhammad to the mat. It was Muhammad's increased pressure in the closing minute of the first round that narrowed the competitive gap.
Muhammad continued to accelerate in Round 2. Muhammad fended off five consecutive takedowns in the fight as he slowly took over with his forward movement. The pressure was eventually too much for his opponent. Muhammad rocked Brady and cranked the heat with a high volume of punches that sent Brady into retreat. Brady was unable to intelligently improve his position and the referee intervened, awarding Muhammad the standing TKO finish.
Muhammad credited his training camp and the tutelage of coach Khabib Nurmagomedov for his success in the fight. During his post-fight interview, Muhammad told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier that Nurmagomedov was yelling for the finish. Having defeated a lower-ranked opponent, Muhammad turned his attention to the welterweight elite.
"I heard [UFC welterweight champion] Leon Edwards is out here. Where is he at?" Muhammad asked before turning his attention to Khamzat Chimaev. "I also heard the big bad wolf is coming back down [to welterweight]."
Muhammad (No. 5) is now undefeated in his last nine fights dating back to 2019. He has defeated Brady, Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia in succession following a no-contest against Edwards in March 2021. Brady (No. 8) suffered his first career loss and snapped a 15-fight winning streak over the likes of Michael Chiesa and Jake Matthews.
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