Khabib Nurmagomedov successfully defended his lightweight title yet again with a slick triangle choke submission against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and then broke his legion of fans hearts by announcing his retirement from the sport.
The main event lightweight title fight is underway on Fight Island.
The two fighters slowly circle each other at range. Leg kick from Gaethje but had to reach to land it. Patience from Gaethje here, not looking to close the distance too quickly. He tries for another kick, but misses and spins out of it quickly.
Gaethje does land a leg kick. Right hand for Khabib and Gaethje swings for the fences with a big counter. Khabib starting to move forward a bit but as he tries to strike Gaethje is again swinging hard.
Solid jab from Khabib. Now Khabib clinches up and tries to work for a takedown, but Gaethje manages to avoid that attempt and they go back to striking range.
Gaethje swinging wildly here. Good kick to the body from Khabib. He lands another. Khabib applying lots of pressure here. He steps into a good knee.
Gaethje with a head kick attempt out of nowhere but Khabib blocked it. Very heavy pressure from Khabib and Gaethje is having to reset. Not often we see him on the back foot like this. Another body kick from Khabib and a flying knee attempt.
Left hooks from Khabib, but then a big hook from Gaethje. Hard leg kick from Gaethje buckles Khabib’s leg for a moment. Khabib still coming forward and throwing punches, but Gaethje is throwing so hard in return.
Tense stuff here. Gaethje lands cleanly and seconds later Khabib drives quickly into a takedown attempt and lands it. Big moment for him. Not long to go in the round and Khabib decides to throw caution to the wind and go for an armbar attempt. Gaethje defending though and that’s where the round ends.
Khabib putting fists in Gaethje’s face without actually connecting. Hard leg kick from him. He attempts a front kick upstairs. left hook for Gaethje.
Jab for Khabib and then stumbles off-balance for a moment and resets.
Leg kick for Gaethje, but Khabib swiftly takes him to the mat. Khabib dropping back w ith an armbar attempt, but then he changes to the triangle choke and it’s tight.
Gaethje trying to slam out of this submission and then he’s trying to tap out. The referee doesn’t see it at first though and he has to do so again and then goes unconscious as the fight is stopped! Khabib winsin style by triangle choke at 1.34mins of the second round.
Afterwards, Khabib kneels in the center of the Octagon and begins to cry uncontrollably for his late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who tragically passed away from Covid-19 complications earlier this year.
Another masterful performance from Khabib Nurmagomedov then to defend his title and take his unbeaten record to a remarkable 29-0. Unfortunately it seems as though we won’t get to see his 30th fight though as he takes his glove off prior to his post-fight interview in the Octagon and then announces his retirement from the sport.
It will be with a heavy heart that fans receive this news as it’s clear that Khabib is just on another level and looks better than ever, so it’s a great shame that we may never see him competing again, but he does so at the very summit of the sport as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.