by Matt Lo Cascio
They will remember the name. The fans, announcers, Dana White, Joe Silva, and most certainly Alan Jouban will all remember the name Belal Muhammad.
Muhammad (9-1) lost his UFC debut to Jouban by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 90 in Las Vegas, the first loss of his pro career. But he put on an amazing display of heart and made a lot of new fans. Jouban won rounds one and two, but Muhammad came roaring back in round three, battering Jouban with punch after punch, taking the best Jouban threw at him and giving it right back. Jouban wobbled on shaky legs for the latter half of round three, his face swollen and his eyes near shut. Muhammad proved he is a UFC-caliber fighter in his debut and almost scored a knockout against a man many consider to be a top-15 fighter.
The fight wasn’t without some odd moments. Muhammad suffered a groin shot from a Jouban kick early in round one and was subjected to eye pokes throughout the fight. The last two times Jouban protested, telling referee Herb Dean he did not touch Muhammad.
Between rounds two and three, Muhammad was receiving instruction from Louis Taylor in his corner and he was trying to get a contact lens back in his eye. A state official exhorted, “You can’t wear contacts in here!” Muhammad looked up at him and said, “You can’t?” He went out for round three without it.
“If you know anything about Belal Muhammad you know a contact ain’t gonna bother him,” Jon Anik said.
Not much bothered him throughout the fight. He showed an indomitable spirit, refusing to be broken by Jouban’s barrage of strikes in rounds one and two. He was knocked down twice in round one and again in round two, but he kept getting up and kept moving forward. He began to turn the momentum his way near the end of round two when he took Jouban down. He then came out and dominated the third round. There was no shortage of people impressed by his performance.
@bullyb170 you fought like a warrior proud of you!!!
— Jeff Aronson (@JAronsonTitanFC) July 8, 2016
Belal Muhammad did his whole camp during Ramadan. No food or drink during daylight. Tough, tough dude. Cardio forever.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) July 8, 2016
— Ray Flores (@RayFlores86) July 8, 2016
Outstanding fight and you know what, I bet your “Remember the Name” Belal Muhammad after that performance. #UFCVegas
— E. Spencer Kyte (@spencerkyte) July 8, 2016
No doubt Muhammad made a lot of fans for himself tonight in his UFC debut
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 8, 2016
Terrific fight. Most of the credit goes to Muhammad. Guts and that right hand kept him in there. But 29-28 Jouban.
— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) July 8, 2016
Belal Muhammad is just getting started. He’ll be back in the Octagon soon and he’ll put on another amazing show.