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 Maheshate of China reacts after his knockout victory over Steve Garcia in a lightweight fight during the UFC 275 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Maheshate Back For More

After One Of The Brightest UFC Debuts Of The Year, Lightweight Looks To Keep The Magic Going Saturday In Las Vegas

It’s that time of the year where people like to start making those “best-of” lists. And if you happen to be making one of those lists for “Best UFC Knockouts of 2022,” I’d like to submit for your consideration Maheshate’s one minute, 14 second KO of Steve Garcia at UFC 275 in June.

Admittedly, it’s a crowded 2022 field with higher-profile names, but this KO was a veritable work of art that deserves a second look.

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“Piston-like,” were the words commentator Michael Bisping used more than once during the short duration of the fight to describe the Chinese lightweight’s right hand, and there is perhaps no better descriptor.

Maheshate of China knocks out Steve Garcia of the United States in their lightweight bout during UFC 275 at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Maheshate of China knocks out Steve Garcia of the United States in their lightweight bout during UFC 275 at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)


Skating backwards and perfectly timing a charge from Garcia--and without any visible windup—Maheshate landed a short, surgical, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hammer to his opponent’s jaw that sent him stiff and face-first to the canvas.

“I expected that,” Mahestate says matter of factly (via translator). Most of my opponents give me aggressive openings.”

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His record bears out that statement.  9-1 professionally, the majority of his wins have come by similarly speedy finishes in the first two rounds. I ask him when he realized he had the gift of ending fights early and he can’t necessarily pinpoint a time.

“That just came natural,” he says.

The Garcia fight should also be a nominee for UFC Debut of 2022 if you’re building that list, too.

Hayisaer Maheshate of China celebrates after knocking out Steve Garcia of the United States in their lightweight bout during UFC 275 at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Hayisaer Maheshate of China celebrates after knocking out Steve Garcia of the United States in their lightweight bout during UFC 275 at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)


“My favorite moment was after won the fight when I walked out of the Octagon, all the crowd was cheering. That was unforgettable.”

Making the most of his contract-winning performance on Dana White’s Contender Series, the Garcia fight was a statement win right out of the gate.

He’ll look to make another of those statements Saturday when he makes his sophomore trip to the Octagon against another Garcia: Rafa Garcia.

“No comment,” he says when asked his thoughts on his second opponent. It’s difficult to tell if this is a diss or he just hasn’t given it much thought, but he’s certain the same ingredients are available for another big evening.

“I see the same opportunities. Let’s have an exciting match and get the Fight of the Night.”

Maheshate Stakes His Claim | Dana White's Contender Series Free Fight
Maheshate Stakes His Claim | Dana White's Contender Series Free Fight
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Maheshate is happy to be back at the UFC APEX and feeling more comfortable this time around. Despite his contract-worthy effort on DWCS, he did it with a bout of jetlag.

“I’ve been in U.S. for two months already. I really like Vegas. DWCS was an amazing experience, I’m looking forward to this one.”

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Just a few days removed from his 23rd birthday, Maheshate joins a growing cadre of young UFC talents who represent the next generation of the sport. Even more impressive than his résumé to date is the fact that he only began training at age 17.

“When I was 15 years old, I watched my first MMA event, it was Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald. That fight was super crazy.”

Maheshate of China reacts after his knockout victory over Steve Garcia in a lightweight fight during the UFC 275 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Maheshate of China reacts after his knockout victory over Steve Garcia in a lightweight fight during the UFC 275 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


That UFC 189 all-time classic probably launched thousands of would-be fighters, and after a promising start in Greco-Roman wrestling, Maheshate transferred full time to MMA.

And while he still makes time to enjoy his youth—horseback riding and video games are among his favorite pasttimes—his drive is to one day be mentioned alongside the names of his favorites, like Anderson Silva.

And if Saturday yields another KO of the Year contender, how does he envision his path forward in one of the most crowded divisions in the entire sport?

“I will keep it secret until after I win the fight,” he smiles. “I will let you know.”

UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs Strickland took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on December 17, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass