"The Eagle" has landed once again.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (23-0) made his return to the Octagon for the first time in two years at UFC on FOX 19 on Saturday night (April 16, 2016) and he sure didn't look like he missed any time.
Nurmagomedov, 27, absolutely dominated Darrel Horcher (13-2)-who took the fight on nine-day's notice to fill in for the injured Tony Ferguson--and won the bout by technical knockout in the second round inside Alamie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
The official time of the stoppage came at 3:38 of round two.
After a quiet two minutes to start the fight, Nurmagomedov went in on a takedown, but Horcher avoided it. The UFC newcomer wouldn't avoid a second one though, as the No.2-ranked UFC Lightweight picked him up and dumped him on the canvas. The Russian worked out of Horcher's half guard, and passed to side control where he began to drop some vicious elbow, which opened a cut on Horcher's head. The former Cage Fury Fighting Champion recovered to half guard, but Nurmagomedov transitioned to mount. When Horcher gave up his back, "The Eagle" secure both hooks in and began wailing away with big punches. Although he was in deep trouble, Horcher would make it to round two.
Nurmagomedov began the second round by picking a single and when Horcher began to defend he used chain wrestling to continue working for it. He then landed a hip toss and threw Horcher to the canvas, where he landed into side control. Nurmagomedov transitioned to side control and then to mounted crucifix and began teeing off on Horcher, who was rendered helpless in that position.
With two minutes on the clock, Nurmagomedov took Horcher's back one again and started to pound away with big strikes and referee James Warring stepped in to call it a day.
A fantastic and vintage performance by Nurmagomedov, who beat Horcher from pillar to post for two rounds. The Russian remains undefeated at 23-0 and improves his record in the UFC to 7-0. It won't be long until he receives a title shot, or he and Tony Ferguson may face off beforehand once "El Cucuy" returns to health.
Tough loss for Horcher, but he must be commended for taking the fight against top-level fighter like Nurmagomedov on such short notice.
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