UFC 236 results: Belal Muhammad relentless pressure too much for Curtis Millender

ATLANTA – Belal Muhammad (15-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) rebounded from a recent loss in fine fashion, pressing forward and outpointing Curtis Millender (17-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) over three rounds.

The welterweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ ahead of additional prelims on ESPN and the main card on pay-per-view.

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Millender was quick to start, pressing forward and missing on a leaping kick. Muhammad was unimpressed, pushing it aside and firing a jab to find the range. Millender kicked the legs a bit, though Muhammad made sure he didn’t get to stay at kickboxing range. Both men were able to land clean in spots, and Muhammad suffered a cut around his left eye. Still, he pressed forward and found success with powerful straight punches up the middle.

As the round unfolded, Muhammad pushed inside and drove the action to the cage. Millender did well to defend against he fence, and he showed excellent balance when Muhammad dropped levels and turned his attention to a single-leg attempt. Millender complained of an eye poke when they finally broke away, but the action resumed quickly. Millender’s crisp jab was on full display in the final seconds, though Muhammad fired back after every shot.

Muhammad was aggressive to start the second, looking to press forward. He walked through a few punches to get a clinch, controlling against the cage. The crowd grew quickly restless, wanting to see Millender work from range. Unable to score a takedown, Muhammad eventually backed way and resumed throwing heat on the feet.

Millender remained crisp from range. While he teased the flying knee on several occasions, he couldn’t find a home for it. He did have success with a crisp jab and snapping low kick, though. Still, Muhammad was undeterred and eventually was able to drive forward and trip the action to the canvas. Once on top in his opponent’s half-guard, Muhammad drove in short elbows and forearms with his left hand. Millender did his best to tie things up underneath and was able to regain full guard. However, he never showed a true ability to escape, and Muhammad finished the round on top.

Muhammad pressed forward in the third and tried to drive in for a takedown, though he was initially rebuked. Millender wanted to keep space to strike, but Muhammad was relentless in his pressure and was able get in tight and drag the action to the canvas. Millender again tried to tie things up in hopes of a restart, but Muhammad was grinding from the top, preventing Millender from escaping and staying busy with short strikes.

With time winding down, Millender’s corner called for him to gamble in an attempt to rise, but Muhammad’s control was too firm. Muhammad advanced to side control and then mount, forcing Millender to roll and expose the back. Muhammad immediately went hunting for the choke, and while it wasn’t there, he did wind up landing more punches from the dominant spot. Millender scrambled away at the bell but was unable to land any strikes before it sounded, and Muhammad was awarded the decision win, 29-27, 29-27 and 30-26.

“This fight was me against me,” Muhammad said. “I learned my lesson from my last loss, where I went in fierce and rushed. Today, the plan was to be cool, calm and collected and implement my game plan, which was to crowd him. I needed to close that distance – he does his best work at range, so I had to make him feel uncomfortable and crowd him.

“I’m hoping to next fight Niko Price in July. He’s always down to fight, as am I, so let’s do it.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC 236 results include:

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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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