Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight prospect Mirsad Bektic and Bantamweight replacement Russell Doane battled last night (Oct. 8, 2016) at UFC 204 inside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Many questions circled Bektic heading into last night’s bout. Following his knee injury and subsequent layoff, Bektic needed to prove that he could perform well, even if his opponent was a smaller man stepping up on short-notice. Meanwhile, Doane faced the unenviable task of attempting to upset Bektic with less than a week to prepare. Nonetheless, the Hawaiian stepped into the cage confident that his hand would be raised.
It wasn’t enough.
Doane started quickly and scored with some nice shots, but Bektic wasted little time in level changing and powering his foe to the mat. Despite his opponent’s valiant attempts to scramble, Bektic eventually worked his way into back mount.
From that position, the Bosnian athlete immediately began to hunt for the rear naked choke. Doane shook off the first deep attempt, but Bektic remained patient and keep trying to slide his forearm under the chin.
With about 45 seconds remaining in the first round, Bektic locked in the rear-naked choke.
This was a pretty ideal return performance. Bektic’s timing looked a bit off at the start of the bout, but he quickly settled into the fight and was comfortable in exchanges. Then, he expertly nailed a reactive double leg, showing that there was little in terms of ring rust.
Once Bektic put his hands on Doane, he was overwhelming. Doane really did a nice job of trying to work to his feet and fight hands, but Bektic refused to give him an inch. Before long, Bektic was able to force Doane to the mat and take his back.
The finish came quickly from there.
Now that Bektic has proven he’s still a top prospect, a match up with another opponent in the top 15 makes sense. For example, Brian Ortega would be an interesting style clash for the powerful wrestler.
As for Doane, he fought aggressively and didn’t make any real mistakes. Unfortunately for him, the lack of preparation and size disparity were too much for him to overcome. There’s no shame in a loss to Bektic, particularly since Doane is usually a Bantamweight.
Doane has lost his last four bouts. Usually, that’s more than grounds for a release, but Doane has really earned another shot by even accepting this bout. The odds were stacked against him, so hopefully Doane will receive a reasonable challenge at 135 lbs. in his next trip to the Octagon.
Last night at UFC 204, Mirsad Bektic made a successful return to the Octagon. Is he a future title contender?
For complete UFC 204: "Bisping vs Henderson" results and play-by-play, click HERE!