Vincente “The Silent Assassin” Luque and Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad square off this weekend, to determine who’s next in line to challenge the UFC welterweight title. UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Muhammad 2 is an exciting event with many great fights. Arguably, this fight night is better than last week’s PPV (UFC 273), on paper at least. I would have liked to have predicted the whole event, but I don’t have the time! At the very least I will predict the main event, which is a clash between one of the UFC’s most entertaining fighters, and one of their least.
Vincente Luque vs Belal Muhammad Prediction
“The Silent Assassin” is an apt name for the darkest horse in the UFC’s welterweight division. Vincente Luque has been on a slow rise since 2015, going 14-2 in that time. Those 2 defeats coming to prime Leon Edwards and Wonderboy Thomson. With some of the crispest boxing you’ll ever see, superb grappling, with a ridiculous granite jaw, Luque is as well rounded as they come. A stunning 90% finishing rate in 21 victories, Luque capitalises on every mistake his opponents make.
How does Belal Muhammad compare?
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Belal Muhammad. “Remember the Name” is as ironic as they come, since you’d struggle to build a highlight reel for this fighter, who has gone to the scorecards in 15 of his 20 victories. Muhammad already has a prior loss to Luque, his only loss by finish in fact. This skews the betting lines, but it happened way back in 2016. Luque countered Belal with a mean left hook (a punch which has cemented itself as a staple of Luque’s toolset).
Since this vicious defeat, Belal has been on an absolute tear, going 10-1-0(1NC), with that 1 loss being to Geoff Neal, and that NC to Leon Edwards via. eye-poke just last year. 9/10 of these victories have come by decision. Belal is the wet blanket fighter of the UFC’s welterweight division, he smothers his opponents with dominant top control for the full 15 minutes. This is smart fighting from Belal, he comes with a game plan and executes it near flawlessly every time.
Belal’s last victory came over a faded Wonderboy. Belal showed dominant top control, and very nearly ended the fight via. TKO. Does this improved Belal pose a threat for the ever dangerous Vincente Luque?
Luque vs Muhammad 2: The Striking
Without a doubt Luque is miles ahead in the striking department. It’s unwise to stand with Luque as he has superb boxing, and he can also mix it up with flashier techniques like flying knees. Muhammad uses a lot of his striking to set up takedowns, so he doesn’t have a lot to offer here.
Muhammad cannot get lazy when in range of Luque as his countering ability is unparalleled. His combos are often followed by a short, sharp left hook that has floored several past opponents. If you lower guard for a moment you’re risking a knee to the face or a hook to the jaw.
This isn’t to say Luque won’t get hit, because he gets hit a lot in all of his fights. Woodley smashes Luque several times, as did Mike Perry, and Wonderboy. What stopped these men in their tracks was Luque’s insane durability, the man can’t be knocked out. If massive power punches like Woodley and Perry can’t dent Luque, then neither will Belal.
Luque vs Muhammad 2: The Grappling
It’s going to be a difficult night for Luque if Muhammad brings his A-Game. Belal looked huge against Wonderboy, and totally dominated the superior striker who had a fantastic record of takedown defence. What Luque offers than Wonderboy couldn’t, is underrated grappling and deadly offensive submissions.
Forget Tony Ferguson, the real Darce Knight is Vincente Luque
I say Darce, but Luque has 6 finishes by either Brabo or Anaconda choke. His grappling is no joke with almost half of his finishes coming by submission. Two submissions that Luque has an affinity for are the Brabo choke and the Anaconda choke. These are set up from the headlock position, and are especially deadly when an opponent hits the takedown. Vincente likes to sprawl on takedowns, or lock heads with an opponent against the cage, before locking up their neck in a choke. He then drags his opponent to the ground before flipping them onto their rear and applying pressure to the neck. This is how Luque finished his last two fights, against Tyron Woodley, and esteemed grappler Michael Chiesa.
Luque vs Muhammad 2 – The Conclusion
It’s often the superior grappler who wins in MMA. The superior grappler in this case has to be Muhammad, who has the better smothering wrestling. However, Muhammad lacks the submission threat to pose any danger on the ground, and actually risks being submitted himself when entering on his takedowns.
The fight should play out like this: Muhammad is thoroughly outmatched on the feet, he can’t stand and bang with Luque for fear of being knocked out. Because of this, his takedowns are his route to victory. If Muhammad can put on a similar performance to what he did to Wonderboy, we should see a tiresome but dominant UD. However, I don’t think this will be the case, as Luque not only has good TDD, but also a fantastic arsenal of submissions.
If Luque can deny Muhammad the takedowns, and ruin the game plan of smothering top control from Muhammad, then I anticipate a Luque finish.
My pick – Vincente Luque by finish
Vincente Luque vs Belal Muhammad Betting Suggestion
I choose Vincente Luque by finish. Luque averages 4/7 odds to win out right, playing as a slight favourite. Luque by KO/TKO, or DQ comes in at 28/11 odds, and by submission 7/2. Picking Luque to win out right would be the smartest choice. With his finishing rate and the fact he’s already knocked out Muhammad once means a victory by KO/TKO/DQ at 28/11 odds should be very tempting. A submission definitely isn’t out of the question if you’re feeling riskier.
If you’re feeling Belal Muhammad, the odds of a decision win are 11/4, which are very good odds for a fighter with his record.
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Mathew is a UK-based combat sports journalist. He currently works for MMA Knockout, part of the Sports Illustrated FanNation network. The Fight Fanatic is Mathew’s one-man operation. His past bylines include Heavy on UFC, Sportskeeda, and MMA UK.
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