Nurmagomedov announces retirement after submitting Gaethje at UFC 254
The one word often used to describe UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is inevitable.
Nurmagomedov submitted top contender Justin Gaethje via triangle choke in the second round of the main event of UFC 254 Saturday, Oct. 24 in Abu Dhabi.
Following the conclusion of the fight, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts ending his career 29-0 as the undefeated, undisputed Lightweight champion.
Referee Jason Herzog did not see Gaethje tap while in the triangle choke and was put to sleep with the bout being waved off at the 1:36 mark of the second round.
Retiring with a perfect record, Nurmagomedov finishes a career with wins over fighters like Edson Barboza, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and now Justin Gaethje.
It was the first fight since the death of his father, Abdulmanap, who died of the coronavirus back in July.
He also served as Khabib’s trainer as well as having an extensive background with a lot of fighters from Dagestan.
In the post fight interview, Khabib admitted that his mother did not want him to ever compete in life without his father by his side.
However, he assured her he needed to close out this “Gaethje chapter,” and then he would retire.
In another admission, Khabib admitted he promised his mother that it would be his last fight in the UFC and if he made the promise, he has to “keep [his] word.”
Before addressing his fans in his native Russian, he asked for one more favor from the UFC, asking to be placed atop the Pound-4-pound rankings Tuesday morning.
Not a bad ask after securing a performance of the night bonus in a dominant effort where he was two-for-three on takedown attempts.
Toward the end of the first round, Khabib landed a takedown and immediately went for the submission attempt before the sound of the horn.
In the second round he got to work quicker, securing the takedown with just 1:13 seconds into the five-minute frame.
Gaethje did have success on the feet, landed 29-of-46 total strikes, good for 63 percent.
Khabib was 26-for-80 on his total strikes or 33 percent.
After the fight, Khabib’s camp made it aware that the champion suffered a broken foot in training camp but refused to withdraw from the bout hereby refusing to speak about it.
With Khabib now retired, the lightweight division is in need of a champion.
Former Bellator Lightweight champion, Michael Chandler, was recently signed by the UFC and is expected to make his debut sometime in 2021.
He comes over with 21 wins and 12 first-round finishes, serving as a standby in case there was a withdrawal from the main event.
Chandler told commentators Joe Anik and Daniel Cormier he expects to be UFC Lightweight champion in 12 months.
Other top contenders in the division, Mcgregor and Poirier, are slated to fight each other for a second time in January.
Whittaker outlasts Cannonier in co-main event
The co-main event of UFC 254 was so good, if there were fans in the building many would’ve been clamoring for a fourth and fifth round.
At least that’s what social media did at the conclusion of the middleweight pick ‘em fight between former champion Robert Whittaker and contender Jared Cannonier.
Following the latest defense of his title, current Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya expressed that if Cannonier “destroyed” Whittaker, he would be next in line for a shot at the title.
All three judges scored the bout, 29-28 for Whittaker but it wasn’t without some thrilling moments inside of the 15 minutes.
It was the leg kicks of Cannonier early in the fight, knocking down Whittaker with one in the first round.
At one point in the first round, Whittaker teased a left-right hand combo that was finished with a high right head kick missing once before landing the second time around.
There was a partial connection on a third attempt from the New Zealand-born fighter.
Whittaker’s leg appeared bruised and battered by the second round but could not be noticed as he was constantly bouncing around with a steady output that featured a sharp jab.
The jab was sharp enough to begin to cause swelling around Cannonier’s right eye.
After not throwing his signature combination in the second round, Whittaker landed it flush in the third round, sending Cannonier stumbling to the canvas.
In an effort to finish the fight, Whittaker jumped on Cannonier but could not finish the man known as “The Killa Gorilla.”
Somehow, Cannonier got back to his feet and went on the offensive, rocking the former champion before the conclusion of the 15-minute war.
Whittaker landed 47 percent of his total strikes with a higher output of 75-of-158.
While Cannonier was more precise with a 62 percent success rate on his total strikes, he was the far less active fighter landing 58 of his 89 strikes.
Eighty-six percent of Whittaker’s strikes landed to the head of Cannonier, highlighted by that knockdown in the third round.
Cannonier did land 22 leg kicks.
Whittaker improves to 22-5 including a 10-1 record as a middleweight. It was the first time he’s fought twice in a year since 2017.
Cannonier drops to 13-5, suffering his first loss at middleweight and ending a three-fight win streak.
Four of his five losses have come against either former and current UFC champions or fighters who’ve once competed for a title.