Prediction for the fight Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Jeff Neal

The kickoff event of 2023 - UFC Fight Night 217, which is scheduled for January 15, includes a fight between top welterweights: Shavkat Rakhmonov and Jeff Neal. The Kazakh fighter has long been considered by the promotion management as a potential contender for the title, and now he is as close as possible to this status.

To achieve final success, Rakhmonov needs to overcome the Nile, which occupies the 7th line of the rating, after which he can count on opposition from among the division's elite. By the way, "Nomad" will not only have to overcome a difficult opponent, but also maintain an impeccable record before entering the top positions.

Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Jeff Neal

Shavkat Rakhmonov

The athlete began his career with judo and combat sambo, later switching to pankration. He managed to win the title of master of sports in freestyle wrestling, judo, and also win a major victory at the MMA World Amateur Championship, where the award was presented to him by Fedor Emelianenko himself. A few years later, "Nomad" managed to take the Kazakhstan MMAF professional league belt, and making his debut under the auspices of M-1 Global, he took the title there too, successfully defending it once.


Rakhmonov is an adherent of the attacking style, moreover, he easily transfers the fight from the stand to the ground floor, where he literally fills up opponents with all kinds of submissions. Painful on the limbs, suffocating and guillotine, pounce on them from almost any position. And this, without taking into account that the ground and pound in his performance leaves no chance for opponents to resist. By the way, Shavkat's strike is also on the level, and he does not hesitate to turn the turntables when the situation allows it.


There are also flaws in Rakhmonov's technique. He does not always work successfully under pressure in the standing position, preferring to move to the ground as soon as possible, his defense can hardly be called impeccable, and in terms of experience, so far, he is inferior to many colleagues. In fact, apart from Neil Magni, he has not seen more formidable opponents, and at 77 kg there are enough high-class wrestlers with whom he may have problems.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Shavkat is 28 years old, and his track record of 16 victories in a row, without a single defeat, inspires hope that a new big name will appear in the UFC welterweight very soon. Triumphs over the aforementioned Magni, Carlston Harris, as well as veterans Alex Oliveira and Michel Prazeres were achieved by finishes, mostly by tricks. Rahmonov shows rapid progress from fight to fight, his cardio and stamina are in perfect order, which is why such high hopes are placed on this fighter.

Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Jeff Neal

Jeff Neal

The American recently made his way into the ratings, before remaining in the shadow of his colleagues, despite spectacular victories. Jeff is the winner of the title of “Best Finisher 2019”, he has a well-trained striking technique and a purple BJJ belt in his arsenal, and in addition, the athlete already has experience in fighting for the title, although he never got the HKO belt. Despite monotasking, Neil has made significant progress in the octagon and is now being used as a gatekeeper to weed out prospects like Rakhmonov.


Jeff's strong point is boxing. He has a knockout punch, focuses his work on the head of the opponent, and throws a large number of punches, blocking mediocre accuracy with the density of attacks. In almost two dozen professional performances, "Hands of Steel" has not been in knockouts or heavy knockdowns, and such stamina is backed up by good cardio, which together allows Neil to work out 3 rounds at an average pace without drawdowns. As far as wrestling goes, it's pretty simple - he's a striker with good takedown defense, and that's it.


It's hard to call Jeff an inventive and creative striker. Noticeable straightforwardness and stubbornness, blunders in defense, as well as complete failures in fights with elite strikers, indicate that it is too early for Neil to think about title races. We have not yet seen how it is unilaterally dismantled by wrestlers on the ground floor, but in the upcoming fight, such omissions on the ground may also appear.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

The 32-year-old fighter has suffered two setbacks in his last 5 fights, losing to Stephen Thompson and Neil Magni. However, he managed to kill Mike Perry and Santiago Ponzinibbio, in fact, as well as Vicente Luca, who was rapidly losing his condition. The form of an American has not undergone global changes in recent years: he does not sag functionally, he works in the same manner for a long period of time, while not showing much progress. Before us is a typical drummer who will definitely not have time to achieve a breakthrough in ground skills until his physical capabilities decline. However, his knockout power will always be a danger to the opposition.

Comparative analysis

The issue of anthropometry in this fight is not acute, since Shavkat's 5 cm advantage in reach and height would not have played a big role in the exchanges of blows, if not for one "but". He acts much more aggressively than his opponent, boldly approaches and is not at all afraid of counterattacks, including transfers. On the contrary, the Kazakh athlete longs to get to the ground floor, because it does not matter at all for him where to throw tricks from - from the back or in an attacking position from above.

Even though dry statistics tell us about Neil's superiority in the number of accented punches, there is no doubt for a minute that Rakhmonov will do everything possible not to leave him operational space in the cage for a charge on a heavy punch. Neither in speed nor in accuracy, Jeff does not surpass the opponent, therefore, in the context of a duel on his hands, you can count on an equal course of the meeting, especially since Shavkat is much more willing to connect his legs and dry the body.

Moving into clinches and into a horizontal position, it is no longer necessary to talk about the same competition. "Nomad" instantly changes positions, with terrifying frequency throws tricks on the limbs and neck, so that the purple belt of the Nile will not be enough to cope with all this, and even constantly arriving blows. That is why the opening exchanges of punches can result in the total superiority of Rakhmonov on the zero floor, and I see no reason to count on a positive outcome of the meeting for Jeff if he allows at least one takedown from the opposite side.

Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Jeff Neal Prediction

On one side of the scale we put Jeff's concrete jaw, his decent endurance and the absence of early defeats, and on the other - 16 finishes performed by Shavkat. We will add a bonus to the American in the form of more competent boxing, although there are many questions there, at the same time, reinforcing Rakhmonov's advantage through wrestling and grappling. The facts tell us that the collision of the station wagon and the drummer is unlikely to become something like a battle of trucks, because the American has practically nothing to cover the strengths of the Kazakh. He can rely on a lucky punch, but along with Nomad's equally heavy shot, his ground and pound, and his ground play in general, that chance drops to almost nothing. And there is no reason to believe that this time Shavkat will have to work in the cage all 15 minutes - he has more than enough tools for an early victory. Download 1xbet to your phone and place a bet on the favorite!

Prediction: Shavkat Rakhmonov to win by KO/TKO/Submission

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