UFC: Dubai 'Sniper' Lazzez hits the bull's-eye
UNSTOPPABLE: Mounir Lazzez of Tunisia punches Abdul Razak Alhassan of Ghana in their welterweight fight inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on Thursday. - Wam
Abu Dhabi - The Tunisian expatriate achieved a unanimous verdict against Abdul Razak Alhassan in the welterweight division
Dubai resident Mounir 'The Sniper' Lazzez grabbed global attention with his eye-popping performance on UFC debut in Abu Dhabi's Fight Island 1 - the first of three Fight Nights.
In the welterweight division, his opponent was Abdul Razak Alhassan, the Ghanaian 'Judo Thunder', with 10 first-round knockout against one loss. Alhassan had floored his last opponent in just 43 seconds and was never stretched beyond the first round in any of his 10 victories.
However, Tunisian expatriate Lazzez not only took the fight to the full distance but owned Alhassan inside the octagon to achieve a unanimous verdict (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), which also earned him the Fight of the Night bonus.
For Lazzez, the dream debut was a reward for his years of toil in various Dubai and regional events that prepared him for the big bad boys of MMA.
He had been visualising the entire exercise inside the steel cage for a long time. So Lazzez was unperturbed even when he was pounded by a raging Alhassan in the first few minutes. The Tunisian even smirked and the calmness with which he dealt with a dangerous opponent was uncommon for a debutant.
Then, in a matter of minutes, he took charge of the steel ring and Alhassan.
"It's weird. I feel normal because I've been seeing this in my mind. It's just a moment. I feel it just like any other fight. I felt calm and composed in the beginning, then I got two or three punches and we went to the scrap. We just readjust and pick the second and third round for domination. I'm just happy. This is just the beginning," he told reporters.
The Lazzez camp from Team Nogueira Dubai had done their homework for AlHassan.
"I know he's a heavy hitter. I got a couple of punches. I entertained people and that's exactly what we planned for. It's never perfect but we got the deal done."
Now that the 32-year-old has made his mark, he is eager for more. He has asked UFC president Dana White to "keep an eye" on him during the next card.
"It's always hard in this sport to stay humble. Dana is happy, the UFC are happy and that's the most important thing. I think the UFC's capital is Abu Dhabi and I'm here in Dubai. I'm healthy and ready to go. Just give me two weeks' notice and I can take anyone from the top 15. I want to take my career step-by-step, but it's hard nowadays because there is a lot of new talent and they like to stay busy. So I'm planning to stay busy too, and show my case in my second hometown."
However, post fight, Lazzez threw his first challenge - welterweight division's Mike Perry, who is in a spot after a brawl outside a restaurant in Texas.
Lazzez noted Perry had an issue with his team mate.
"If one of my team has a problem with someone, that means he has a problem with all of us. I just want to put him in his place because he's an idiot and he's been inspiring the new generation with his idiot stuff he does."
But Lazzez isn't ready to just wait for Perry but anyone that White picks as he wishes to build on his magnificent start.
"This is the dream. I do it for myself and my family, so I'm super happy about it."