‘I recovered enough to fight’

Nothing was going to stop Muhammad Mokaev from competing at UFC 286.

Mokaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) dislocated his shoulder this past December and decided not to undergo surgery so he doesn’t jeopardize his flyweight fight against Jafel Filho (14-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), which takes place on March 18 at The O2 in London. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and ESPN+.

“I decided to do (surgery) maybe after the fight, but I recovered enough to fight,” Mokaev told MMA Junkie. “If I make surgery, I’ll probably be out for six or seven months minimum.”

Mokaev admits he could barely lift his arm when his fight with Filho was officially announced. He had to make some adjustments during his training camp in Phuket, Thailand.


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But one week out of his fight, the 22-year-old says he’s ready, and vows that people will hear zero excuses from him if he doesn’t get his hand raised.

“I just believe I can beat these guys,” Mokaev said. “I have always struggled before my fight. Always sickness, sometimes something happens, it’s not always 100 percent. Not just me, all fighters I think are like this. I think 95 percent of fighters don’t go inside the cage 100 percent. So, it’s OK. I did sparring, I feel good, and I’m confident I will win this fight.”

He continued, “Feeling good, both hands working. So, I’m not gonna make any excuses after the fight. I’m saying now I’m recovered.”

Mokaev is also eager to stay active so he can realize his goal of becoming the youngest champion in UFC history. Unbeaten in his professional career, Mokaev has defeated Cody Durden, Charles Johnson, and most recently Malcolm Gordon by submission at UFC 280 this past October.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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