Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, made his long-awaited return to mixed martial arts (MMA) this afternoon (Sat., Sept. 7, 2019) after putting his Conor McGregor-fueled fiasco behind him (details). While he was away, Dustin Poirier toppled Featherweight champion, Max Holloway, to secure the interim 155-pound championship.
So Nurmagomedov and Poirier were paired up at UFC 242, which took place inside The Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with the undisputed Lightweight title on the line. It was a fantastic match up, one that essentially carried the entire pay-per-view (PPV) event. And it more than lived up to the expectations, with the grappler (Nurmagomedov) able to topple the striker (Poirier) thanks to a spectacular third round submission win that made the Lightweight title whole once again.
Nurmagomedov, the crowd favorite, was eager to get the fight to the floor as soon as possible — Poirier boasts tremendous knockout power. And it took him less than 90 seconds to get in on a single-leg takedown along the fence. Poirier defended well, but Nurmagomedov was eventually able to dump him to the canvas. Nurmagomedov quickly took his back, got his hooks in and attempted a rear-naked choke along the bottom of the fence. He couldn’t get his arm under the chin, though, and settled for a neck crank. Poirier was able to peel off his hands and get back to his feet, but he was in some serious danger. Nurmagomedov remained all over Poirier, who could simply could not break free. It was total Nurmagomedov domination to start round one.
Between rounds, Poirier was composed and fresh — hard to imagine after the mauling he took. Nurmagomedov — perhaps a little over confident — began to talk trash and stand and trade with Poirier. That was a big mistake — Poirier lit him up like a Christmas tree. Nurmagomedov eventually came to his senses and got the fight back down to the floor, looking to open up some ground-and-pound to soften “The Diamond.” Poirier was able to scoot up onto his butt with his back against the cage, opening up an opportunity for Nurmagomedov to nail him with short shots, which open up a bloody facial cut. Poirier was able to eventually get back to his feet with 45 seconds remaining in the round, but he was clearly exhausted.
Nurmagomedov wasted no time shooting in for a takedown to start the third round, but Poirier was ready — locking in a super tight guillotine choke. Nurmagomedov struggled to fight it off, adjusting and re-angling at least three times until Poirier had no chance but to abandon the hold. He then reversed position and was able to take Poirier’s back and slide his forearm under Poirier’s chin. He was able to defend at first, but then Nurmagomedov went for it again and that was a wrap — Poirier had no choice but to tap.
What another incredible performance from Nurmagomedov, who pushes his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) record to an absurd 28-0. He’s not just defeating the best the division has to offer, but he’s finishing them.
It’s nothing short of amazing.
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