Dana White praises Rakhmonov vs. Neal brawl, reveals Neal was paid bonus despite missing weight: “There’s no way in hell I wasn’t gonna give that kid the bonus tonight.”

Shavkat Rakhmonov, Geoff Neal, Dana White
Credit: Bleacher Report

Dana White has granted Geoff Neal his win bonus, despite him missing weight for his UFC 285 clash with Shavkat Rakhmonov.

For the third fight of the thrilling UFC 285 main card, rising undefeated prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov and hard-hitting KO artist Geoff “Handz of Steel” Neal engaged in a bloody and vicious war that left fans in awe. Prior to the bout, Geoff Neal weighed in at 175 lbs, 4 lbs over the welterweight limit. As a result, it was announced that Neal would be fined 30% of his fight purse.

Shavkat Rakhmonov and Geoff Neal FOTN

Rakhmonov and Neal, two fighters known for their high-level striking abilities, went back and forth trading damaging blows over the course of the first two rounds. In the third and final round, Rakhmonov picked up the pace and started to wear down Neal with devastating combinations.

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The pressure of Rakhmonov was too much for Neal in the third round as the Kazakhstan native secured a brutal standing rear-naked choke putting Neal to sleep to finish off a hard-earned victory. The previously 9th-ranked welterweight Rakhmonov cemented his contender status in this one and a title shot seems to be a reality in the near future.

Dana White Vows to Pay Geoff Neal Bonus Despite Missing Weight

Traditionally, when a fighter misses weight for a bout this disqualifies them from receiving any bonus after the fact. However, UFC President Dana White made an exception for this absolute war that took place Saturday night.

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In the UFC 285 post-fight press conference, Dana White explained how impressed he was with this fight and how he felt that Neal deserved a bonus regardless of the weight situation:

“Well, it’s very rare that you will see me go up into the octagon for a fight that isn’t a title fight. Not just him [Rakhmonov], but Geoff Neal too. Those guys fought their asses off. When you don’t make weight, you don’t get the bonus no matter what happens. There’s no way in hell I wasn’t gonna give that kid [Neal] the bonus tonight. The heart that he showed tonight, the knees that he took, the punches that he fired back with and landed, I mean both guys just fought an absolute dog fight. I love that fight and I have nothing but the utmost respect for both of those guys.”

Even in defeat, Geoff Neal proved that he belongs fighting the best of the best at welterweight and has the heart of a warrior. Shavkat Rakhmonov showed he is the real deal as he remains undefeated with a record of 17-0 all by finish containing 9 submissions and 8 knockouts.

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In the post-fight octagon interview, Shavkat called out Colby Covington which is a potential fight with huge implications. With this win, Shavkat got much closer to a potential title shot and looks to continue tearing through the welterweight division on his way there.

Will the UFC and Dana White grant Rakhmonov his wish and match him with Covington next?