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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Alonzo Menifield wasn’t feeling much pressure for his UFC debut this past Saturday – and then his teammate won a few fights before him.
Geoff Neal (11-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) picked up the biggest win of his career with a dominant decision over Belal Muhammad (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) on the UFC on ESPN+ 1 prelims. Then Menifield (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) took out Vinicius Moreira (9-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in the first round an hour later.
“(Neal) winning like that put pressure on me because he looked so beautiful doing it,” Menifield said Saturday after his win. “But it made me think, ‘I need to be as controlled as Geoff.’ After the first 20 seconds, I slowed it down.”
UFC on ESPN+ 1 took place Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The main card streamed on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
Prior to Neal’s win, Menifield was looking at his promotional debut as just another one of life’s moments.
“I’ve been under a lot of lights, believe it or not,” he said. “I believe in God, so that calms me down. I’ve been through a lot, and basically this is nothing – trials and tribulations in life in general. … This is enjoyment. This is expression.”
That expression culminated in a TKO win over a Brazilian who also was making his UFC debut. Moreira gave Menifield a few moments of difficulty, he said. But then he adjusted and he was on his way to getting his hand raised.
“Getting in there and getting it done in this fashion is awesome,” he said. “It was a little frustrating, and then I noticed I was hitting his glove. So with that said, it was just a matter of time and eventually I caught him. I knew I would defend takedowns – I thought he would shoot immediately, but he didn’t. Brazilians, they always do spinning moves. I knew he was going to do that. Eventually, it was just too slow and I said I’d get him, and I got him.”
To hear more from Menifield, check out the video above.
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