AOPNEWS | May 2, 2018
Afghan MMA fighter Nasrat Haqparast announced earlier this week on Social Media that he has officially started training camp to prepare for his upcoming UFC fight on June 22, 2018 against Congo’s Marc Diakiese. The 22-year old Afghan lightweight announced he will spend some time in Doha, Qatar for strength and conditioning, before heading to Montreal, Canada to train at the famous Tristar Gym – the same gym, former welterweight champion George St. Pierre is affiliated with.
This fight has the potential to be an exciting match, as both fighters are coming into the match after suffering losses. Haqparast’s fight on the 22nd will be an attempt at redemption for him as he lost his debut fight in the UFC against Poland’s Marcin Held via unanimous decision on October 21, 2017. All three judges scored the fight 30-27, in favor of Held. After the fight, Haqparast announced that was surprised he had lost the fight via points, and claimed he was more dominant against Held, even though he only had a 10 day notice. To his credit, Haqparast did knock down Held once in the fight, and threw more significant strikes. However, Held had more overall strikes and more take-downs, and was even given a submission attempt credit. Haqparast posted on his Facebook page that he was only at “50% skills and shape”, and that for his next fight, he will be going in with a full camp and it will be “PURE DESTRUCTION”.
Unfortunately for Haqparast, his scheduled second fight on March 17, 2018 against Nad Narimani was cancelled, as Haqparast came down with an eye infection, prompting the UFC to cancel the fight an hour before it was scheduled to begin. Haqparast announced on Social Media that he would fight as soon as he could, perhaps in the next UFC fight event in May. However, the UFC requested that instead he wait and fight on July 22nd in Hamburg, Germany. Haqparast was born in Germany, and the organization likes to have local fighters in the card as a way to boost ticket sales.
In terms of size, both Haqparast and Diakiese are pretty evenly matched lightweights. However, when it comes to fighting, Haqparast has an impressive knockout history. Prior to his loss against Held, Haqparast had won his last 8 fights either by TKO (technical knockout) or KO (knockout). In contrast, Diakiese lost his last 2 fights, and has a record of 3 wins and 2 losses in his last 5 fights. Both fighters have an evenly matched ground game. Haqparast’s combination of striking and strong ground and pound abilities should be enough for him to dominate and win the fight.
Haqparast is one of only two Afghans who are fighting in the UFC, which is the largest MMA promotion in the world, and has the best fighters. The other UFC fighter and the very first Afghan to be signed by the promotion is welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada recently fought against Luan Chagas on April 21st, and defeated him via knockout in the second round. With that win, Bahadurzada is now on a three fight win streak, defeating Rob Wilkinson on September 2, 2017 via TKO in round two, and submitting Brandon Thatch on March 5, 2016 in the third round.
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