UFC 208 Prelims: Belal Muhammad, Wilson Reis, Islam Makhachev Victorious in Brooklyn

By Brian Knapp Feb 11, 2017
Belal Muhammad found the holes in Randy Brown’s game and exposed them.

The onetime Titan Fighting Championships titleholder used a combination of leg kicks, takedowns and aggressive grappling to claim a unanimous decision over Brown in the featured UFC 208 “Holm vs. de Randamie” prelim on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Muhammad (11-2, 2-2 UFC) drew 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 nods on the scorecards.

Brown (9-2, 3-2 UFC) leaned on two-, three- and four-punch volleys but had no response for what his counterpart brought to the table. Muhammad chewed up the inside and outside of his lead leg with thudding kicks, mixed in well-conceived takedowns and maneuvered to the back in the second and third rounds. Brown reversed position with 20 seconds left in the fight and fired away with ground-and-pound. However, the finish he needed was nowhere to be found (online betting).

Related » UFC 208 Round-by-Round Scoring

Surging Reis Outduels Sasaki

Former EliteXC champion Wilson Reis recorded his third consecutive victory and continued his pursuit of an elusive title shot, as he took a unanimous verdict from Yuta Sasaki in a preliminary flyweight clash. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Reis (22-6, 6-2 UFC).

Sasaki (19-4-2, 2-3 UFC) spent the majority of his time playing defense. Reis landed multiple takedowns in all three rounds, improved his position and went to work on various submissions. He nearly finished it in Round 2, where he wheeled to the back and locked in two rear-naked chokes that were tight enough to make Sasaki wince. Nevertheless, the onetime Shooto Pacific Rim titleholder denied his advances. Sasaki turned the tables late in the third, as he scrambled to the longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s back and made a pass at a choke of his own. He settled instead for a series of slashing elbows to the head, but the decision had long since been lost.

Makhachev Shuts Out Lentz

American Kickboxing Academy prospect Islam Makhachev used a variety of trip takedowns, punishing ground-and-pound and airtight submission defense in cruising to a unanimous decision over Nik Lentz in a three-round undercard tilt at 155 pounds. Makhachev (14-1, 3-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-25, 30-25 and 30-27 marks from the judges.

Lentz (27-8-2, 11-5-1 UFC) made a few bids for guillotines but was otherwise ineffective. Makhachev neutralized the American Top Team rep with stifling positional control. The 25-year-old did his best work in the third round, where he struck for two takedowns, climbed to Lentz’s back and assaulted him with punches before hunting the rear-naked choke. While Makhachev failed to net the desired stoppage, everything else appeared to go according to plan.

The defeat snapped a two-fight winning streak for Lentz.

Glenn Downs Reeling Nover

Onetime World Series of Fighting titleholder Rick Glenn won for the fourth time in five outings, as he was awarded a split decision over “The Ultimate Fighter 8” finalist Phillipe Nover in a preliminary featherweight affair. Judges Derek Cleary and Sal D’Amato saw it 29-28 for Glenn, while Douglas Crosby cast a dissenting 30-27 nod in Nover’s favor.

Glenn (19-4-1, 1-1 UFC) overcame a slow start that saw him absorb two first-round head kicks without so much as a flinch. Forced to fight on his heels by an increasingly aggressive opponent, output became a problem for Nover (11-8-1, 1-6 UFC) as time ticked by. Glenn often trapped him in the clinch along the fence, burying knees in his gut and elbows in his face. At a distance, the 27-year-old Duke Roufus protégé answered Nover’s counterpunches with sneaky straight lefts and short right hooks.

Nover has lost three fights in a row.

Returning LaFlare Sinks Carneiro

Heavy body kicks and sharp left hands carried former Ring of Combat champion Ryan LaFlare to a unanimous decision over Roan Carneiro in a three-round undercard scrap at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for LaFlare (13-1, 6-1 UFC): 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28.

Carneiro (21-11, 4-5 UFC) spun his wheels for much of the first 14 minutes. In his first appearance since December 2015, LaFlare stayed busy with crisp punching combinations and a steady diet of kicks to the Brazilian’s midsection. He floored Carneiro with a straight left in the second round and pounced with punches for a potential finish before retreating to the safety of his feet. LaFlare executed a takedown in Round 3 but whiffed on a subsequent attempt and wound up underneath the American Top Team mainstay. Carneiro ultimately advanced to full mount and applied his ground-and-pound but did so with only 20 seconds remaining on the clock.

LaFlare, 33, has won back-to-back bouts since his loss to Demian Maia a little less than two years ago.


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