Khabib Nurmagomedov showed off his dominant grappling skills against Michael Johnson tonight at UFC 205, beating him up with ground and pound for much of the fight, before finally tapping him out with a kimura submission in the third round.
THe two lightweights circle each other in the center of the Octagon. Johnson comes up short with a punch and just grazes Nurmagomedov with a leg kick.
Johnson looking to find a home for the straight left. He misses to the body, but lands another leg kick. Johnson with a left hook that’s blocked, but he’s staying busy here in the first 90 seconds.
Left to the body for Johnson. Nurmagomedov tried to fire back, but gets caught with a right and left that seemed to hurt the Russian. He keeps fighting though and not long afterwards he wisely decides to switch things up and goes for the clinch, then lands a takedown.
Nurmagomedov in side control and easily puts him into the crucifix position. Johnson is able to burst out of that, but Nurmagomedov remains on top in half guard landing ground and pound punches and elbows.
90 seconds to go and Nurmagomedov is starting to beat up Johnson here. Nurmagomedov thinks about passing guard, then opts to just rain down some hard punches instead.
Johnson backs up towards the cage, but Nurmagomedov is almost in mount and blasting him with punches again. Johnson’s almost given up his back and is taking a great deal of punishment here and can’t find a way out. He manages to scramble back into his guard and almost stands, but Nurmagomedov is right back on him as the round ends.
Leg kick for Johnson. He wants to get back to the striking game that was so effective for him in the opening round. He’s firing off those long-range punches again, and that’s something Nurmagomedov has to be wary of.
a minute into the round Nurmagomedov ties up in the clinch, but Johnson is able to break free on this occasion and gets back to the center of the cage.
Nurmagomedov swoops in on a double-leg, but it’s stuffed. He’s not giving up on his gameplan though and soon after he goes in for another takedown and this time Johnson goes to ground trying for a guillotine choke.
Nurmagomedov easily gets out of the choke and looks for the crucifix position again as he gets back to that hard ground and pound.
Johnson just has no answers for Nurmagomedov’s dominant wrestling and this is almost a replay of the first round now as Nurmagomedov settles into half-guard with Johnson, almost taking his back, and just hits him repeatedly in the head.
Referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy is watching this very closely and could bring an end to this at any time. However, Johnson hangs tough and manages to make it out of the round, though he looks a little unsteady and disheartened as he heads back to his corner. He’s eaten a lot of big shots.
Nurmagomedov has his hands raised in the air as he gets ready to start the third round. Less than 30 seconds into the round Nurmagomedov does exactly what Johnson didn’t want – taking him back down to the mat again.
Nasty elbow and punches land and Khabib seems to be talking to his opponent as he does so. McCarthy said to Johnson’s corner inbetween rounds that he wouldn’t let him take the same kind of punishment for much longer, so a stoppage is imminent.
Nurmagomedov to full mount, then back to side control. Johnson tries to wall walk out of this spot, but is unsuccessful.
Khabib changes his tactics now, working on a kimura submission and that’s what finally forces Johnson to submit, handing Nurmagomedov a completely dominant victory at 2.31mins of the third round.
Afterwards Nurmagomedov takes the mic and demands a title shot, even getting Joe Rogan to admit that he’s earned the opportunity. It’s hard to argue against that, though Tony Ferguson might have something to say about it!