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Nasrat Haqparast of Germany punches Jamie Mullarkey of Australia in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 09, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Nasrat Haqparast Is Living Up To His Own Expectations

Lightweight Nasrat Haqparast Is Ready To Announce Himself As Ready For The Rankings With A Win At UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Aliskerov

The last time Nasrat Haqparast came into a fight having won three in a row, he was just 25 years old and had only four UFC bouts under his belt. Despite losing his Octagon debut, he recorded a trio of wins over 13 months including back-to-back performance bonuses, and so, when he faced Drew Dober at UFC 246, he was touted as a name to watch in the lightweight division.

Unfortunately, he suffered a knockout loss to Dober (the all-time knockout leader among lightweights) and split his next four fights. Now 28 and fresh off a first-round knockout over Jamie Mullarkey, Haqparast believes those experiences shaped him into the fighter many pegged him as a handful of years ago.

“I think slowly I'm starting to enter my prime,” Haqparast said during his interview with UFC.com. “At a very young age I gained a lot of experience early on, good and bad circumstances, injuries. I think now I am really getting mature, and I think I'm going to show it in this fight.”

Saturday's Full Fight Card Preview

At UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Aliskerov, Haqparast draws gritty veteran Jared Gordon, who most recently scored a first-round TKO over Mark O. Madsen at UFC 295.

Although Gordon is seven years Haqparast’s senior, they both entered the promotion in mid-2017 and have about the same amount of appearances. Gordon garnered a solid reputation for himself, which means he is a perfect opponent for Haqparast to face in order to prove he is ready for the vaunted Top 15 at 155 pounds.

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“I'm looking forward to a violent fight,” Haqparast said. “I'm coming for violence this time again.” 

For all the lumps taken, Haqparast’s confidence is as solid as ever. When competing at the highest level, losing is part of the game for almost every fighter, especially in the lightweight division, which Haqparast compares to the UEFA Champions League. 

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Despite that praise, he is assured in his own abilities and training, so even though the fight game is the fight game, Haqparast isn’t hesitant about sharing his thoughts on how the fight will play out on June 22.

“This sport is crazy; it's very unpredictable,” he said. “That's why I don't like to give predictions. But I know I'm better everywhere, and I'm going to dominate this fight. I'm looking forward to Saturday to bring a good show.”

Nasrat Haqparast of Germany punches Landon Quinones in a lightweight fight during the UFC 293 event at Qudos Bank Arena on September 10, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Nasrat Haqparast of Germany punches Landon Quinones in a lightweight fight during the UFC 293 event at Qudos Bank Arena on September 10, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Haqparast is under the assumption Gordon will want to take him down at some point in the fight, which is more than fair considering Gordon averages 1.95 takedowns per 15 minutes, according to Fight Metric. Haqparast’s takedown defense sits at a respectable 78 percent, and when it comes to one-punch power, Haqparast probably takes the advantage there. 

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In his mind, it’s a perfect formula to steal the show in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and one to provide a warning shot to those seated in the lightweight rankings.

“I am really living up to my potential,” he said. “I'm excited to keep going.”

UFC 303: Pereira vs. Procházka 2

UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs Aliskerov took place live from Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on June 22, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!