Short-Notice UFC Newcomer Muhammad Naimov KOs The Biggest Favorite On The Card Tonight

That's one hell of a way to make your (short-notice) UFC debut against a -450 favorite while your whole country watches on, huh?

4:30am in Tajikistan and they've got a stadium full of people watching Muhammed Naimov and Marat Gafurov fight on the prelims! Tremendous!

Poor Jamie Mullarkey (and everyone in Australia who stayed up for that), though. 

Mullarkey was originally supposed to fight Guram Kutateladze on this card, and he was the biggest underdog on the whole event. Right before Mullarkey boards his flight to Vegas this week, though, he's told Guram had to pull out of the fight last-minute due to visa complications. Hours later, when he lands, Mullarkey finds out his new opponent is Tajikistan's Naimov, and becomes the biggest FAVORITE on the card....and then you know the rest. 

Getting finished in the UFC is always rough, obviously, but under those circumstances? That's even tougher. You just had a shitshow of a week with your team that you should probably pretend never happened after you get home. Just get back to the gym, regroup, and convince yourself the fight was cancelled and you never left Australia.

Naimov cut a great promo after the fight, where he referenced fighting on the Contenders Series (he lost a unanimous decision in September 2020) and working his way back to a spot where he could get a short-notice call like this - and warned everyone at featherweight, lightweight, AND welterweight that he's comin!

Honestly - with power like this at 155lbs, I could see him being a real force at 145, but that division is just full of KILLERS nowadays....

….so we'll see. It's not like lightweight is any easier to jump into.

This was a great moment on the prelims, though. 

I can't wait to see the videos of Tajikistan going wild for this. Congrats to Naimov.