One of the strongest prospects to enter the UFC in years, Muhammad Mokaev was faced with what many saw as his toughest test yet at UFC 294, in the form of Tim Elliott.
Elliott, a former title challenger in the UFC’s flyweight division, was a talented, unorthodox veteran — while Moakev remained undefeated as both an amateur and pro.
It was Elliott coming out with a very unorthodox approaching, using herky-jerky movement and raising one knee at times, almost hopping forward. They went to the ground inside of a minute, Elliott on top, looking to pass to side control while Mokaev fought the wrists. It was Mokaev scrambling free, then getting his hands (and a kick) going. Soon, however, he was ducking an Elliott punch and shooting for a takedown, only for Elliott to sprawl. On the way up, Elliott fired a few knees, but one appeared to land illegally, with Mokaev a down opponent. That led to a brief pause, and a chorus of boos from the Abu Dhabi crowd.
Back underway, Elliott showed stance switches and kicks from both sides. But it was Mokaev landing a right hand, and then a takedown, though Elliott locked up a guillotine in defense. Tight as it was, Mokaev pulled free.
Round two saw more ground action, this time with Mokaev on top. He worked the body and looked to improve position, though Elliott would make it back to his feet. Elliott didn’t stay standing long, and wound up slammed back to the canvas. Mokaev finished the round on top, Elliott trying to tie him up.
If the fight had been seen as a test for Mokaev, through two rounds, he was passing. In the third, Elliott found himself in a familiar position, looking to lands knees while Mokaev tried to keep himself a downed opponent. Mokaev then reversed and put Elliott on his back with a slam, falling back on his wrestling and keeping Elliott tied up along the fence. It might have seemed like the opportunity was there to just ride out the round, a decision clearly in Mokaev’s grasp. But he was able to lock up an arm-triangle choke in close against the fence, and soon enough, he had the tap!
Following the win, Mokaev called for a fight with Kai-Kara France, or a title shot. He might not get the latter, but he’s not all that far off, either.
Official Result: Muhammad Mokaev def. Tim Elliott by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 3, 3:03