UFC Overview: Khabib remains undefeated and Gaethje shines

by Ella Fenwick

UFC 242 Overview

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier was the headline fight at the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC 242) that recently took place in Abu Dhabi.

It was an intense fight from both of the fighters, with a total of three submissions throughout. In the first round, it was apparent the two fighters had different MMA backgrounds. Khabib dominated with wrestling, using a submission and the cage to pin and tire out Poirier, while landing elbows and punches. Meanwhile, Poirier used combinations of mainly kicks and punches, but also slipped the submission made by Khabib. 

Going into round two, the tight contest continued. However, Poirier received a heavy shot to the face subsequently leaving a cut on his left eye. This appeared to affect him with Poirier looking exhausted before round three. 

Round three began with a strong start from both fighters. Poirier held Khabib in a guillotine submission, but with Khabib’s wrestling expertise, he slipped from the hold and rolled Poirier into a neck crank. After landing some well thought out punches on Poirier, Khabib used this to throw a final submission. The Russian (28-0) won in the third round through a rear-naked chokehold.

Poirier tapped out at 2:06, which means that Khabib has maintained his 12-unbeaten match streak in the UFC. After the fight, everything was respectful and friendly between the fighters. In the press conferences, Khabib talked about Poirier’s charity and wore a t-shirt supporting it, showing true sportsmanship. He eventually went on to sell the t-shirt for $100,000 for the foundation. 

After the championships in Abu Dhabi, Tony Ferguson called out Khabib for his shot at the title. Previous matches of theirs have been derailed due to injuries, therefore Ferguson is the next in line to fight for the lightweight title. Waiting on the confirmation, the fight would be due in Las Vegas at the UFC 245, on December 14th.

Elsewhere, Paul Felder defeated Edson Barboza through a split decision, with both fighters holding similar statistics of strikes in the fight. Islam Makhachev used more strikes throughout the course of his fight with Davi Ramos, allowing him to win on a unanimous decision. The same occurred as Carlos Diego Ferreira beat Mairbek Taisumov through his landing of more significant shots.

The heavyweight bout was dominated by Curtis Blaydes, who landed big shots and takedowns against Shamil Abdurakhimov. Blaydes used the advantage of his good hand control to trap Abdurakhimov, leaving his opponent unable to defend himself, receiving a heavy elbow across his face which shattered his nose. This allowed Blaydes to win the fight with a TKO in round 2.

Fight Night 158

The UFC Fight Night 158 took place in Vancouver on the 14th September, with the headlining fight taking place between Justin Gaethje and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. There were a further five fights covering all weight categories.

Gaethje dominated Cerrone, raising his claim for a title shot. The 30-year old, synonymous with keeping his fights away from the ground, landed a vicious leg kick which brought Cerrone to his knees. This impressive first-round TKO has many UFC believing ‘The Highlight’ deserves a big name in his next fight.

There is a possibility that Gaethje could fight current world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but a long-awaited bout between ‘The Eagle’ and Tony Ferguson might mean Gaethje will have to wait. However, a controversial yet appealing fight could come in the form of Connor McGregor. McGregor, who is retired, may be tempted to return to the octagon as an encounter with Gaethje would be the perfect opportunity.

Meanwhile, the heavyweight bout was declared as a no contest, due to an eye poke from Jeff Hughes being recorded as accidental. His opponent Todd Duffee was left seeing double, forcing the referee to stop the contest in the opening round. Glover Teixeira defeated Nikita Krylov in the light heavyweight bout through unanimous decision, with the Brazilian completing more submission attempts. Tristan Connelly beat Michel Pereira in the welterweight division, using a higher amount of strikes throughout the fight as well as a submission attempt. Even though the statistics favour Antonio Carlos Jr in the middleweight bout, Uriah Hall won through decision, with a larger number of knockdowns. The lightweight bout was won through a TKO early on in the first round by Misha Cirkunov hitting a Peruvian necktie on Jim Crute.

In other news, Welshman Jack Shore will be making his UFC debut on September 28. He is set to fight at bantamweight against Nohelim Hernandez who currently sports a 9-3 record. Since losing his UFC debut, Hernandez has recovered well and will definitely be a difficult matchup for debutant Shore. The Abertillery-born fighter was undefeated in Cage Warriors but the step up to the UFC is an extremely difficult challenge. A defeat doesn’t mark the end of his career in the UFC, but building momentum is imperative if he wants to move up the ranks. Shore has had the luxury of fighting in Cardiff previously, so travelling abroad will be another obstacle he will have to overcome.

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