What are some of the best ways for Belal Muhammad to find success at UFC Vegas 21?
Opportunity knocked and Belal Muhammad answered.
After a few attempts at booking Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev, a highly anticipated welterweight contender matchup, Chimaev ultimately had to bow out of the competition because of the lingering effects of Covid. This presented an opportunity that Muhammad jumped all over, just less than one month after his last win, Muhammad is set to take on Edwards in the biggest fight of his UFC career.
Edwards is currently riding an eight-fight win streak but hasn’t competed since July 2019. It remains to be seen if the extended lay off will have accrued ring rust for Edwards, or if he will be able to pick up from where he left off. The circumstances surrounding this contest are a recipe for an entertaining result no matter how it unfolds. Now that we are just days away from the unlikely match-up, we will examine the three paths of victory for Muhammad.
High amplitude slams
This is a classic striker vs grappler pairing. Muhammad has chops on the feet, but there is no question that it would bode well for him to get Edwards to the mat. Edwards has beautiful striking and footwork and does a good job of avoiding the ground. But with Muhammad’s wrestling pedigree, it’s just a matter of time before he gains entry to the takedown. One of Muhammad’s great qualities is the ability to hit high amplitude takedowns, and if he could do this often, it’ll be a great opportunity to take the wind out of Edward’s sails and get him off his game.
Smother from the top position
Another great quality that Muhammad has his ability to put massive pressure on his opponents from the top position. Whether it be in side control, half guard, or full mount, Muhammad weighs very heavy on his opponents when he is on top and transitioning between positions on the ground. His grappling style tires his opponents and flusters them in the process. If he can get Edwards to his back, a high volume of strikes isn’t even needed. Just making Edwards wear him like a wet blanket will be enough to mentally take Edwards to a bad place.
Take the back
Although a wrestling-based fighter, Muhammad has a knack for slick back takes. Although one of the wins on his record comes by submission, he has great success with taking the back and controlling opponents to soften them up with striking and control the fight. If he gets Edwards to the ground, he will be able to find holes to get the back take. Even if he doesn’t get to threaten the submission, he will be able to control the fight on route to a decision victory.