Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again yesterday (Sat. Sept. 7, 2019) as UFC 242 went down from inside The Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. In the main event of the evening, Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his Lightweight title after submitting Dustin Poirier in the third round (see it). In the co-headlining act, Paul Felder got revenge on Edson Barboza by edging out a split-decision victory (recap).
Biggest Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Though Dustin Poirier did have his moments — rocking “The Eagle” in round two and locking in a pretty tight guillotine in round three — Khabib did what he does best; maul his opponents, as he did to Poirier with his wrestling before sinking in an air-tight rear naked choke. With the win, Nurmagomedov makes it clear that there is only one 155-pound king and moves his record up to 28-0, (12-0 UFC). That’s uncharted territory for any current or former UFC champion.
Khabib’s legacy takes another step toward all-time greatness and finally sets up a much-anticipated title fight against Tony Ferguson after the proposed matchup fell through four times before. Sure, Conor McGregor was watching and even tried his best to swoop in and convince UFC officials to give him the rematch, but it would be ludicrous of the promotion to do that. Ferguson deserves the title shot, so Conor can either rematch Poirier or wait a little while longer. Nevertheless, Khabib’s dominance proves that he is perhaps the best 155-pound fighter ever and is without a doubt a big star for the promotion.
Runner Up: Paul Felder
Felder got his much-desired revenge on Edson Barboza after escaping Abu Dhabi with a split-decision win in what was a thrilling and bloody back-and-forth brawl. “The Irish Dragon” took several of Edson’s powerful shots — including his infamous kicks — and still managed to do enough to convince the judges to give him the nod.
That is now two straight and five of six overall for Paul, who is sure to climb the rankings following his impressive outing. And it will be well-deserved, too, as Paul is a silent assassin in a Lightweight division that has several of boisterous personalities who seem to get all the shine. If you put his loss to Mike Perry -- which was at Welterweight — to the side, “The Irish Dragon” has won five in a row at 155 pounds.
Biggest Loser: Edson Barboza
Edson has had a tough run as of late, as his loss to Felder was his second in a row. Going back a bit further, the Brazilian bomber is now 1-4 in his last five outings. It’s a steep decline for one of the most lethal strikers in all of MMA, whose lone win since the end of 2017 is against Dan Hooker. Barboza is still as exciting as they come, but there comes a point where he and his team have to dig deep down to see what’s not clicking and why he can’t win on a consistent basis.
Credit to him, though, as all of the people he has lost to are without a doubt the cream of the crop. But at the end of the day, if Edson wants to be a part of that crop, he has to start winning a bit more consistently, regardless how exciting he is inside the cage. Granted, many felt Edson should’ve gotten the nod, but at the end of the day that’s why you don’t leave it in the...you know the rest.
For complete UFC 242 results and coverage click here.