The UFC brass have yet again been forced into a reshuffle after the latest breaking news reports Geoff Neal is now OUT of his UFC Vegas 67 clash with Shavkat Rakhmonov on January 14th.
The welterweight pair were set to meet next month as Shavkat Rakhmonov planned to yet again put his undefeated record (16-0) on the line against the experienced and high-flying Neal (15-4).
In a story first reported by Igor Lazorin, Marcel Dorff tweeted that ‘Handz of Steel’ had withdrawn from the meeting with Rakhmonov due to an undisclosed injury.
“Not yet in 2023…and here is some bad news for the first event already. Geoff Neal is OUT of his scheduled fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov on January 14th at #UFCVegas67.”
Geoff Neal will be hugely disappointed with his forced withdrawal as he has appeared as confident as ever during fight preparations. The 32-year-old was headed into the bout on a two-fight winstreak which included a KO victory over Vicente Luque and a performance bonus to boot.
For Shavkat Rakhmonov, the 28-year-old has seriously impressed since making his UFC debut in 2020. ‘Nomad’ has won all four of his contests so far as well as back-to-back Performance of the Night bonuses in his last two outlings.
Stephen Thompson’s breakdown of Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Welterweight star Stephen Thompson all but guaranteed fans a “war” if Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmonov make it into the octagon.
Although the latest breaking news has put their January 14th clash in doubt, the pair will likely run the fight back later next year. According to ‘Wonderboy’, if and when the pair do meet inside the cage, Geoff Neal’s high-level takedown defense will force the pair into a stand-up exchange:
“”I think that’s a very interesting fight… I think this is gonna be a standup fight. I think Geoff Neal’s takedown defense is gonna be on point. I think Shavkat at some point is going to try and take him down, Geoff Neal’s gonna stuff it, he’s gonna keep the fight standing, and we’re gonna have a standup war, which is what I love to see… I’m anxious to see [the fight] and I think Geoff Neal can bring the best out of Shavkat, I really wanna see that this fight… I think it’s gonna be tough, but I think Shavkat’s got it.”
The welterweight bout was set to pit the No.10 ranked Rakhmonov vs. the No.7 ranked Neal with both men vying for a serious push at the upper echelons of the stacked division.
Catch Stephen Thompson’s breakdown here: