UFC 242: Khabib retains UFC lightweight title, shuts out Dustin Poirier inside 3 rounds.
Khabib Nurmagomedov entered the Octagon on Saturday riding a 27-fight win streak, and left with an extra number in his win column and an upgraded version of his UFC lightweight title.
With a 90 second feeling out process, the Russian champion pressed the action and forced Poirier to the fence and maintained a serious level of graft to work for the takedown. Round one was Khabib’s to lose, going from mount against the fence, to riding Poirier’s back, to then looking for a rear naked choke and transition to a neck crank. But in the end, he settled to ride out the round with nasty ground and pound, which likely made it a 10-8 round in “The Eagle’s” favor.
A dominant performance is fair to say, but Khabib did have to overcome adversity in the second round after eating some heavy shots from Poirier, appearing to be stunned momentarily. After managing to weather the storm, Khabib secured a takedown and and again finished the round strongly, having maintained control for the remainder of round two. A frustrated Dustin Poirier expressed to his coaching staff that he can’t seem to keep Khabib off him. How many other competitors have said that I wonder? Hint. A lot.
In the round that would eventually close the show, again Nurmagomedov found himself in trouble, with a game Dustin Poirier sinking in a tight guillotine choke. And when for a moment it seemed like we were seconds away from a new champion being crowned, Khabib managed to scramble and get back into a dominant position, reclaiming the back of Poirier and quickly sinking in a rear naked choke of his own, enough to see Poirier submit and surrender his chances of claiming an undisputed lightweight strap.
A phenomenal and mostly dominant performance by Khabib was then eclipsed by a fantastic moment of respect between the two lightweight combatants. Both fighters wearing each other’s Reebok walkout t-shirts, with Nurmagomedov committing to selling Poirier’s shirt and donating all the proceeds to Poirier’s charity: The Good Fight Foundation.
Dustin Poirier entered the octagon a heavy underdog against Khabib, but it was Dustin who came the closest to handing Khabib the first loss of his professional career, having significant moments at the beginning of the second and third rounds. It was not to be for the American Top Team fighter, but he put on a courageous performance and to that you can only tip your cap.
An emotional post fight interview inside the octagon was tough to listen too, considering Poirier is such a fan favorite all around the world, and majority will disagree with his statements that he let himself and his fanbase down. It will be interesting to see where “The Diamond” goes from here, but I can’t help but feel that Poirier will remain a top contender in the lightweight division.
There is no denying it will take something very special to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov, and with the champion back in action now, who is next to stand across the octagon from Numargomedov?