Nasrat Haqparast went the distance with former teammate John Makdessi at UFC Paris. The fight had been in the works for years but it was the Afghan who won it claiming a unanimous decision.
Haqparast decided to represent Morocco in this fight as he didn’t want to see the new flag of Afghanistan next to his name. He did manage to display the old black green and gold colours of the country on his mouthguard.
He explained the decision to represent Morocco saying the country had always supported him as a Muslim:
Makdessi (18-7) was coming off a split-decision win over Ignacio Bahamondes in April 2021. With a layoff of over a year Makdessi was looking to make a statement upon his return to the cage at UFC Paris.
Haqparast (13-5) came in riding a two-fight losing streak with losses to Dan Hooker and Bobby Green respectively. Haqparast needed a win in order to stay off the bubble of possible cuts to the roster.
Perhaps the two men were a little too familiar with one another because the first round was basically a prolonged feeling out process. The crowd didn’t like it but Makdessi was marginally busier and scored with some low kicks.
The second stanza wasn’t producing much more in the way of action but a spinning back fist attempt from Makdessi left an opening which Haqparast capitalized on ruthlessly, dropping the Canadian with a right hook.
It was enough for the Afghan to win the round leaving the scorecards likely level heading into the third. Haqparast started to score with punches to the body and head and crucially landed a couple of takedowns in the closing stages.
In the end all three judges scored the contest for Haqparast with the scorecards reading 30-37 (x 2) and 29-28. He improves to 14-5 and snaps his two fight losing skid while Makdessi drops to 18-8.
Afterwards Haqparasat made it clear that the well publicized animosity between him and Makdessi was over,
“We have a little history but I respect him. It didn’t get personal, everything is fine. I just love this, I’m a big UFC fan and I’m just happy to be in the UFC. I sacrificed a lot to be here.”