At UFC Vegas 51, Belal Muhammad avenged his 2016 loss to Vicente Luque by defeating him in their rematch by unanimous decision.
Muhammad and Luque first competed at UFC 205 in November of 2016, where we saw Luque finish Muhammad by knockout in 79 seconds. This was the first and only time in Muhammad’s career that he has been finished. 6 years later, both Luque and Muhammad ascended and became two of the best Welterweights in the world.
Though Muhammad was on a 7 fight unbeaten streak heading into the rematch, not many were giving him a chance with only 23% predicting him to defeat Luque. Many expected the rematch to play out like the first fight but Muhammad showed that he was a new fighter. He neutralized Luque with his wrestling which would ultimately earn him the win.
Muhammad didn’t win the fight without adversity, as Luque had him hurt in the 3rd round. It looked like the momentum of the fight was going to shift towards Luque, but Muhammad stayed composed and took back control of the fight. The only round that Luque won on the Verdict Scorecard was the 3rd.
What makes this win even more special are the circumstances heading into the fight. Defeating a fighter like Vicente Luque is one thing, but defeating him after you’ve already lost to him is another. Fighting someone that’s already knocked you out requires a high level of mental toughness and that’s what we saw with Belal Muhammad. There were moments in the 3rd round where it seemed like the rematch would end how the first fight did, but Muhammad battled through.
Now that he’s defeated Vicente Luque, Muhammad will break into the top of the Welterweight division with only Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Khamzat Chimaev, and Gilbert Burns in front of him. It’s going to be a difficult mountain to climb, but Belal Muhammad is set on becoming the UFC Welterweight Champion.