UFC 296 results: Shavkat Rakhmonov rear-naked chokes Stephen Thompson, calls for title shot

The welterweight title picture became even more crowded after Shavkat Rakhmonov’s performance against Stephen Thompson in the final pay-per-view of the year.

At UFC 296 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a few welterweights were hoping to make their case to disrupt the title picture going into 2024. Rakhmonov (18-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) submitted his claim to No.1 contender status by submitting former title challenger Thompson (17-7-1 MMA, 12-7-1 UFC) at 4:56 in Round 2 with a rear-naked choke.

Rakhmonov applied pressure after the initial feel-out process, clinching with Thompson against the cage. The crowd grew restless as the position began to stall out, prompting a brief exchange of short punches. Rakhmonov eventually isolated a leg and lifted it high, but was unsuccessful in getting Thompson to the ground. They separated with less than a minute to go, and Thompson was able to land a few strikes before the horn.

Thompson started the second round with a series of side kicks and a punching combo that caused Rakhmonov to look for a takedown. The crowd booed as Rakhmonov pressed Thompson against the cage. With three minutes left, the takedown was completed and Rakhmonov was able to trap an arm behind Thompson’s back. A deep rear-naked choke followed, but Thompson was able to escape.

However, Thompson was not out of danger as Rakhmonov remained on top and controlled the position. As time ticked away, Thompson turned his back and Rakhmonov slapped on another rear-naked attempt. Shortly after the 10-second clapper sounded, Thompson tapped.

“Stephen Thompson is a very tough opponent, and I was very happy I was able to finish him, and I think I’m worthy of a title shot,” Rakhmonov told Joe Rogan through an interpreter during his post-fight interview. “… I believe the winner of the title fight, I’m ready to fight him.”

The undefeated Rakhmonov picked up his sixth victory under the UFC banner. “Nomad” entered on the heels of another rear-naked choke finish of Geoff Neal at UFC 285 in March.

On the other side, the 40-year-old Thompson dropped his only appearance of the year. The previous fight for “Wonderboy” was a TKO victory over Kevin Holland last December which snapped a two-fight skid.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 296 results include:

  • Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Stephen Thompson via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:56

  • Paddy Pimblett def. Tony Ferguson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Josh Emmett def. Bryce Mitchell via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:57

  • Alonzo Menifield def. Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Irene Aldana def. Karol Rosa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Cody Garbrandt def. Brian Kelleher via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:42

  • Ariane Lipski def. Casey O’Neill via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 1:18

  • Tagir Ulanbekov def. Cody Durden via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:25

  • Andre Fili def. Lucas Almeida via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:32

  • Shamil Gaziev def. Martin Buday via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:56

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie