After being a contender at light heavyweight for more than six years, the 35-year-old Craig decided to bring his intensity and submission game to 185 pounds. It paid immediate dividends as Craig earned a TKO win over André Muniz in his middleweight debut. That win put Craig right into the rankings and earned “BearJew” a main event bout against the streaking Allen.
READ: Main Event Spotlight
Louisiana’s Allen has always seemed like he’s had all the ingredients to make a run to the top of the division, but missteps against now-champion Sean Strickland and Chris Curtis set him back. Something changed in Allen following the defeat to Curtis at the end of 2021, and he hasn’t looked back since, winning his last five fights.
Brendan Allen Sit Down Interview With Brendan Fitzgerald
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Brendan Allen Sit Down Interview With Brendan Fitzgerald
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Craig will mark the first true main event for both Allen and Craig.
Take a look at some of their best submission wins as we prepare for their all-action showdown on November 18.
Brendan Allen Submits Kevin Holland By Rear Naked Choke In His UFC Debut
Coming off a great showing on season three of Dana White’s Contender Series, Brendan Allen made immediate noise in the middleweight division by submitting Kevin Holland.
It was a wild fight, with both fighters having moments in the first and second rounds. The one thing that stood out was that Allen never stopped looking for submissions, and when he reversed position in the second round, he got the rear naked choke and put a bow on his UFC debut.
Paul Craig Submits Henrique da Silva By Armbar In His UFC Debut
Scotland’s Craig gave fight fans a preview of what his UFC career was going to look like when he faced Henrique da Silva in his UFC debut. Craig put a ton of pressure on da Silva and utilized his grappling to dominate the first round.
But what Craig did in the second round is what fans know him for. Craig essentially pulled guard then flashed a triangle choke attempt which he smoothly transitioned into multiple armbar attempts until one forced da Silva to tap.
Brendan Allen Submits André Muniz By Rear Naked Choke
When this matchup was announced, it was obvious that the grappling exchanges between Allen and submission ace André Muniz were going to be interesting.
Muniz entered the bout on a nine-fight win streak in which he’d won five of those bouts by submission. That didn’t deter Allen from putting together a complete fight and beating Muniz at his own game.
The two worked things out on the feet in the first round, with Allen looking great in the opening frame. In the second, Allen won a scramble and worked his top pressure to improve position and put some damage on Muniz. Just past the midway point of the third round, Allen caught a kick from Muniz and he planted his foe on the canvas. Allen worked from side control into full mount, then transitioned to Muniz’s back. He attacked the neck and used some strikes to soften Muniz up until he sunk in the rear naked choke.
Submitting the submission specialist is a huge win, and was exactly the statement that Allen needed to get into the middleweight rankings.
Paul Craig Submits Magomed Ankalaev With One Second Left In the Fight
The O2 crowd in London witnessed one of the wildest submission wins in UFC history, when Craig threw up a triangle choke in the final moments of his light heavyweight bout with Magomed Ankalaev.
Ankalaev had been dominant throughout the fight and was well on his way to winning the bout, but Craig had other plans. With just seven seconds remaining, Craig wrapped the triangle choke on Ankalaev from his back and squeezed with all his might. Ankalaev tapped with just one second left and, just like that, the legend of Paul Craig was born.
Brendan Allen Submits Bruno Silva By Rear Naked Choke
Allen had been in this situation before. Coming into a fight on a winning streak, but then his original opponent fell out of the fight only to be replaced on short notice. This time it was knockout artist Bruno Silva, but this version of Brendan Allen is different than that of the past.
Allen mixed up his game well for the majority of the first round. He flashed takedowns and did some clinch work up against the Octagon fence until the two traded in a wild exchange that left both fighters hurt. They continued to stand in the pocket and land powerful shots, but Allen caught Silva and dropped him.
That’s when Allen went to his bread and butter. He started off with some patient ground-and-pound before moving to Silva’s back and locking in a lightning quick rear naked choke. The victory put Allen at five wins in a row, with four of those five coming by rear naked choke, and set up his showdown with Paul Craig.
Paul Craig Submits Nikita Krylov By Triangle Choke
By this point, everyone knows that Craig is a threat off his back, but, for some reason, people keep testing him.
Nikita Krylov messed around and found out when he stayed in top control for the better portion of his fight with Craig. He even landed a handful of massive strikes that appeared to daze Craig, but after a few minutes on his back, Craig tossed up his trademark triangle choke. It happened so fast, as Krylov attempted to posture up and throw a strike, and it was airtight.
It was another stunning submission win for Craig and showcased once again that “BearJew” is built different when it comes to jiu jitsu.
Don't miss a moment of UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Craig, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prelims start at 2pm ET/11am PT, while the main card kicks off at 5pm ET/2pm PT.