UFC welterweight contenders Vicente Luque (21-8-1) and Belal Muhammad (21-3, 1 NC) collided in a rematch at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Luque previously defeated Muhammad via knockout in 79 seconds in 2016. The rematch aired live on ESPN and ESPN+.
Catch the video highlights below.
For more on Luque vs. Muhammad 2, check out the live blog from MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Round 1: Luque is the one taking the center early and pressuring Muhammad. He’s cutting the cage pretty well but he’s eating some body kicks from Muhammad. Both men switching stances a lot to start.
Muhammad really on his bike here and he’s landed some good kicks. He’s trying to draw Luque in and he finally does. Muhammad immediately changes levels and drives on a double-leg, planting Luque on the mat. Luque has full guard and we’re now playing this game.
Muhammad keeping a strong base here, not too interested in passing, just chipping away. Luque gets to a hip and creates space to scramble but Muhammad stays with and now he’s on the back. Luque up to the cage though and trying to swipe Muhammad off, and he finally does it, turning into Muhammad.
Short time and they get back to space and Luque is on the hunt again but Muhammad is circling like crazy and the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the Round 10-9 Muhammad.
Round 2: Luque on the march again to start the second. He’s cutting the cage well and landing some solid calf kicks. Muhammad is starting to show signs from those. He lands a crisp counter 1-2 though but Luque eats it and continues the pressure.
Muhammad is committed to this movement. He is not presenting a stationary target and he’s landing some solid counters when he does get cornered. Still eating low kicks from Luque though, who is really timing them for when Muhammad is moving into them.
Luque starting to find a rhythm now, getting hooks involved to counter some of this side-to-side movement, along with the kicks. Muhammad striking in bursts here, combinations when he decides to try and back Luque off. But Luque is getting dialed into them and most are missing now.
Muhammad takes this opportunity to shoot a blast double though and gets it with ease. Muhammad in full guard with 90 seconds to work, and he goes right to chipping in with short shots. Luque gets to a hip and grabs and underhook, using it to scoot to the fence. Muhammad stays with and again has the back, but Luque looking to scrape him off again. This time Muhammad goes for a mat return but Luque scrambles and gets back up to his feet with short time.
Muhammad lands a solid body kick and the round ends. Closer round this time but still probably Muhammad’s?
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Muhammad, 20-18 Muhammad overall.
Round 3: Luque not putting up a ton of resistance to the wrestling of Muhammad through two rounds and that’s very surprising. He starts the third in the same manner though, one the hunt, with Muhammad once again shuffling around the outside of the cage, looking for openings.
Luque lands a short left hook inside that hurts Muhammad! He’s in full retreat now and tries to clinch to stall for time but Luque breaks out. Luque coming on strong now and he’s found a nice home for his hooks as Muhammad shuffles. Muhammad grabs another clinch but Luque breaks. Muhammad lands a big elbow off the clinch but Luque is fine.
Muhammad drives in on another takedown but this time Luque defends as Muhammad drives him across the cage to the fence. Muhammad still going for it but can’t finish and now Luque separates and he’s starting to build momentum.
Luque going to the body and lands another big shot to Muhammad who is really looking unsettled. Muhammad goes for another takedown though and beautiful timing! He finishes cleanly and in the center of the and it’s Muhammad in full guard again with less than 2 minutes.
Luque again gets to a hip and powers his way up though and now they’re on the feet and Muhammad is starting to look very labored. Never seen him tired before but his punches are coming back SLOW.
Luque cornering him now and they are starting to exchange inside. Muhammad firing back but he’s getting the worst of these exchanges. Luque still looks pretty fresh right now. He goes for a jumping knee right before the bell, and that’s his first round in the bank.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Luque, 29-28 Muhammad overall.
Round 4: Muhammad’s corner not offering a ton of technical advice here, mostly inspiring their fighter to keep fighting. He does appear to be the more tired fighter thus far, but we’ll see how the championship rounds play out.
Luque on the march again to start the fourth and he lands a head kick to open that Muhammad barely blocks. And Luque is back on the calf kicks as well. Muhammad looking a bit fresher now though. Certainly more pop on his punches than last round.
Luque starting to feint more now and that’s opening up some windows for bigger shots. Also, Muhammad’s movement has slowed noticeably. But his wrestling hasn’t. Muhammad drives in on a single leg, and finishes it easily. He’s in full guard again and going for the chip shots. 3 minutes left in the round.
Luque getting to a hip and trying to scramble but Muhammad is playing smash now. He wants to hold this position for as long as possible. Smart. And Muhammad is able to pass to side control. Luque gives up his back on a roll though and after a scramble, Luque is back up. 2 minutes left.
Luque on the hunt again and lands a left, but Muhammad fires back. Luque looking labored now though. This fight is slipping away as he is cornering Muhammad but not unloading offense. Muhammad is outworking him right now. 1 minute left.
Luque paralyzed right now and that’s gonna doom him in this fight. He’s getting his spots but not throwing back and Muhammad has really upped his work rate. Jabs, right hands and move. Nothing huge, but it all counts.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Muhammad, 39-37 Muhammad overall.
Round 5: Luque’s corner telling him it’s 2-2. That is a generous interpretation of this fight. Luque probably needs a finish. Muhammad appears to have caught a second wind though and that’s trouble.
Luque starts again on the hunt but Muhammad lands a big right to kick things off. Muhammad goes for a tricky little trip takedown but Luque stuffs that one. Muhammad lands an elbow on the break though.
Luque again cutting the cage but there is simply no offense from him now. Muhammad has him fully on the defensive. Muhammad shoots again but Luque stuffs it easily. Muhammad’s movement is making Luque so uncomfortable. He wants perfect shots and those aren’t there for him.
Muhammad shoots again and this time Luque grabs the neck and now Muhammad has to bail and turtle to defend. He gets out and almost immediately shoots again, driving Luque across the cage and to the fence. Luque tries to keep his feet but can’t quite and Muhammad shucks to the back. They’re sitting along the fence with Muhammad holding the rear-waist lock and 90 seconds left. This is Muhammad’s fight to lose.
Now Muhammad is wrapping an arm around the neck of Luque. He doesn’t have position on it but something to think about. Luque stands up but Muhammad refusing to let go of him. Finally Luque breaks free but he has 50 seconds to get a finish or he has lost this fight. And Muhammad isn’t gonna let that happen. He’s on his bike. Luque tracking him down but still no real offense from him and Muhammad lands a combo of his own. Tremendous performance from Belal Muhammad.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Muhammad, 49-46 Muhammad overall.
Belal Muhammad defeats Vicente Luque by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-47).