Joaquin Buckley and Abdul Razak Alhassan faced off in a Middleweight clash tonight (Sat., Feb. 19, 2022) at UFC Vegas 48 from UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following a really competitive fight, Buckley earned the win.
Buckley began the contest moving and jabbing, flicking up some kicks at distance. Alhassan was more patient, and he looked to attack with heavy kicks of his own. A couple minutes into the first round, Alhassan landed his first big connection of the fight, a right hand to the temple as Buckley pushed forward. In response, Buckley timed a double leg beautifully.
Alhassan scrambled back up quickly, eating an elbow for his trouble. Alhassan landed another heavy right, but Buckley ran through him with a second brief double leg takedown. Back on their feet, the two really let loose and traded wild power shots. Both men were still standing when the dust settled, leaving behind a competitive first frame.
Early in round two, Alhassan stalked his opponent, searching to line up his right hand again. Instead, Buckley changed levels into another takedown, very briefly gaining top position and scoring on the break with a good combination. Buckley started finding his rhythm as Alhassan fatigued, resulting in solid combinations along the fence.
Alhassas was still in the fight though, landing a gnarly elbow in the clinch. Buckley ripped the body along the fence well. He wasn’t able to follow up with a takedown, however, and the two traded blows in the clinch. Buckley finished a strong round by running through a double leg takedown.
Buckley was the far fresher man to start round three. The two traded 1-2s, then Buckley returned to his clinch work and body shots. Then, “Judo Thunder” struck, and Alhassan landed some nasty right hands before Buckley popped back up. Buckley ripped the body with a two-punch combo. Alhassan tripped his opponent back down to the mat.
Standing over his foe in guard, Alhassan landed some big shots and moved to take the back. Buckley couldn’t free himself from the back clinch, and Alhassan dragged him back to the canvas. Alhassan finished the fight in top position, clearly rebounding to take the final frame.
It all came down to the first round, which was clearly the closest of the fight. Ultimately the judges awarded the victory to Buckley, who was the more active man in the opening frame despite some of the power shots landed by Alhassan. Either way, Buckley did well to adjust his strategy vs. a very dangerous opponent.
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Result: Joaquin Buckley defeats Abdul Razak Alhassan via split-decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
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