Mounir Lazzez (right) punches Abdul Razak Alhassan during their welterweight fight at the UFC Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The durable 170-pounders went all three rounds as Lazzez and Alhassan didn’t hold back in unleashing their full array of attacks, as reported by UFC.
Alhassan unloaded bomb after bomb on Lazzez in the early going, but Lazzez took everything with no issue, and as Alhassan’s attack slowed, it was the newcomer firing back with knees, leg kicks and elbows. Soon it was Lazzez, nicknamed the Sniper, leading the offense, and finished the round with a takedown to add to his point total.
Lazzez, who became the first Arab fighter to make an UFC debut, appeared to rock Alhassan in the first minute of round two, but after the Tunisian fired off a barrage of strikes, Alhassan roared back with a barrage of his own.
Moments later, Lazzez put his opponent on his back and worked from side control, but the two were stood up by referee Dan Movahedi. Another series of strikes followed by Lazzez before a takedown, but again there was a quick standup by Movahedi just before the end of the round.
A knee a minute into the final round landed flush on Alhassan’s chin, but the Ghana native took it well and locked up with his foe, subsequently scoring with a takedown that Lazzez rose quickly from. Lazzez returned the favor and was able to keep the fight grounded until the closing seconds of the round, when Alhassan got in one last flurry.
A delighted Lazzez said after the win: “I love to be the underdog and to show my skill and that’s exactly what happened tonight. I came in as the underdog and I enjoy the victory.
“When he put me in the first round against the cage, I said, “what, this is all that you got?” I still have a lot of weapons and just step by step I killed his will with the kicks, moving around, high kick, low kick, I showed my wrestling, my takedown defense.
“I kept visualization this over and over as just another fight, don’t put pressure on yourself and just go enjoy what you do. I love this craft, I loved when I get clipped and I see the will inside the eye of my opponent, that mental game, I love that, I love that deep water stuff.
“My mental game, I’ve said it before, maybe you can be more technical and maybe you can be more powerful, but my will and my mental game, you can’t beat it.
“I’m healthy, 100%, I swear to God I’m ready to go in two weeks, but I let my management speak to the UFC, and when that idiot is ready, I’m ready to go.
Mounir Lazzez and Abdul Razak Alhassan during their welterweight fight at the UFC Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, Calvin Kattar beat Dan Ige 49-46, 49-46, 48-47 in the main event to earn a unanimous decision and move closer to the title picture at 145 pounds, UFC reported further.
Kattar said: “It’s a good opportunity, I was happy to go out with my team and finally give ourselves a main event win, and what better spot than out here in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island. Anywhere, anytime, that’s my mindset.
“We just follow where the opportunities are at, we had a big one here in Abu Dhabi, like I said, I’m just happy to go and capitalize. It’s a great check point for me and my team.
“I feel great, my lungs were great, my cardio felt good. It was good to go and get five rounds because we’re eyeing that belt and we’re ready for five round fights. We had to do that with a guy like Ige, you let him get momentum, it might be a long night for you.
“We figure we go out and get the momentum early and keep it as long as we could through the entirety of the fight. Everything was happening off the jab, so I was sticking to the jab, listening to my corners and we were able to go and get the job done.
“He had a good right hand, clipped my nose with one of them. In a 25 minute fight, you’re going to get hit. I felt like I hit him with a lot more and if there were a couple more rounds, maybe I get the finish, but with that kid you’re gonna have to fight to the death. He’s a tough kid, six fight win streak, you don’t get that by luck.
'I'm at the top of the mountain and everyone's looking at me,' declared the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges' cards.
The opening night of UFC Fight Island inspired awe and excitement amongst fans and sporting organisations across the world, not only due to the sporting spectacle, but also for the ambitious yet seamless delivery of an international event in the midst of a global pandemic.
In early July, Etihad flew in hundreds of UFC athletes and staff, including UFC President Dana White, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and fellow stars Amanda Ribas, Jéssica Andrade, José Aldo, Paige VanZant, Rose Namajunas and Max Holloway jetting into the UAE capital from Las Vegas and Sao Paolo.
Conor McGregor has promised to put on a ‘masterpiece’ when he makes his first UFC appearance in the Middle East, against Dustin Poirier at the Etihad Arena on Sunday morning. According to UFC, fan favourite McGregor faces Poirier in the headline
Jesus, who scored 95 goals in 236 appearances for City, has signed a "long-term contract" with Arsenal after deciding to leave the Premier League champions in search of more regular first-team action.
The AJP Tour Fujairah International Pro Championship came to a stunning conclusion on Sunday with the UAE taking home the most medals courtesy of excellent performances across the Amateur and Professional divisions.
The 40-year-old winner of 20 Grand Slam titles has been out of action since a quarter-final loss at the tournament in 2021 before undergoing another bout of knee surgery.
From 2023 onwards, Dubai will be seen hosting the prestigious Badminton Asia Championships. This latest development came to light after Badminton Asia inked a five-year deal with Dubai-based leading sports management and consulting company Beyond Boundaries.