Khabib Nurmagomedov Dominates Al Iaquinta To Win Lightweight Title At UFC 223

Khabib Nurmagomedov became the UFC’s new lightweight champion tonight at UFC 223 after a dominant unanimous decision win over Al Iaquinta in Brooklyn, New York.

Round One:

The main event lightweight title fight is underway in Brooklyn!

Low stane from Iaquinta as he looks to avoid the takedowns and keep this fight standing. Iaquinta flashing out a few early punches and Nurmagomedov swoops in for a takedown attempt that doesn’t pay off.

At striking range again, but Nurmagomedov goes in for the takedown once again and this time he gets the single leg and despite Iaquinta’s best efforts he is taken to the mat in the middle of the Octagon.

Nurmagomedov looking for the back and gets it momentarily, but then Iaquinta does a good job of scrambling and getting back to his feet.

However, Nurmagomedov trips him back down again. Iaquinta threatens with a kimura and is able to get to his knees against the cage. Nurmagomedov landing punches to his exposed face and is talking to him as he does so. Iaquinta’s face already showing signs of damage here.

Iaquinta trying to crawl away, but he can’t escape Nurmagomedov’s clutches and eats more punches to the head. He does manage to stand, but immediately gets sent back down again and then eats a flurry of ground and pound strikes.

Nurmagomedov ties up his legs and lands more blows. Iaquinta gets to his knees again and looks to stand, eating punches as he does so.

Iaquinta stands, but Nurmagomedov is already working on another takedown attempt against the cage. The round ends before he can do so though.

Round Two:

Front kick upstairs from Nurmagomedov as Iaquinta pressures forward. Head movement from Iaquinta to avoid punches from Nurmagomedov. Now ‘The Eagle’ dives on a single leg, but Iaquinta is able to stuff that attempt.

However, soon after Nurmagomedov goes for the takedown again and this time he lands it clean and is back on top of iaquinta. As Iaquinta looks to stand, Nurmagomedov takes his back.

Nurmagomedov all over Iaquinta as he tries to stand and then scoops his legs back out from uner him. Iaquinta again tries to stand and this time Nurmagomedov commits to his back, sinking his hooks in to secure the position.

Nurmagomedov sinks in a rear-naked choke, but Iaquinta manages to escape. Nurmagomedov flattens him out. He’s still got 90 seconds to work.

Nurmagomedov rains down some hard punches. Iaquinta gets to half guard, but looks a little dazed. Nurmagomedov takes his back again. He postures up to land a few punches near the end of the round.

Round Three:

Right hand for Nurmagomedov as the two fighters exchange early in the third dround. Body punch for Iaquinta. he wings on a left hook attempt.

Right hand for iaquinta, but Nurmagomedov snaps his head back with a punch of his own on the counter. Nurmagomedov working behind the jab now. He lands a leg kick. More jabs from Nurmagomedov. He loads up on a right hand. More of a willigness to stand and trade from Nurmagomedov here.

Nurmagomedov tries for a single leg, but Iaquinta shakes it off. Good punch for iaquinta, who is bleeding from his nose quite significantly now.

‘The Eagle’ proving to be effective with the jab again. Leg kik for Iaquinta. Body kick for Nurmagomedov. Another leg kick for Iaquinta.

leg kick for Nurmagomedov and he almost gets caught on the counter. Spinning kick to the body for Nurmagomedov. One-two for him. Jab lands for NUrmagomedov and soon after a right hand.

Jabs continue for Nurmagomedov and Iaquinta threatens with an overhand right at the end of the round that just goes winging wide of the mark.

Round Four:

Nurmagomedov’s corner urge him to go back to his grappling in-between rounds even although he appeared to get the better of the striking in round three. Let’s see if he complies.

He does tries for an early low single, but it doesn’t pay off. He starts to strike again, throwing a series of punches and Iaquinta throws back.

Nurmagomedov definitely throwing a little caution to the wind here and seems to be warming to the idea of the striking battle, even though that gives Iaquinta more of a chance of success.

Nice right hand for Nurmagomedov. Single leg attempt, but it’s shaken off by Iaquinta. Jabs for NUrmagomedov and a leg kick. Right hook lands.

Two more jabs from Nurmagomedov as Iaquinta tries to come forward. Punch to the body for Iaquinta. Head kick attempt from Nurmagomedov just misses.

Iaquinta tries to flurry against the cage, but Nurmagomedov is quickly out of danger. Right hook for Nurmagomedov. Snapping jabs from Nurmagomedov connect.

Right hook for Iaquinta lands. More jabs for Nurmagomedov as she shakes his right hand in a taunting manner and then lands it.

Three-piece combo from Nurmagomedov and then a head kick attempt as the round comes to a close.

Round Five:

Again Nurmagomedov’s coaches urges him to take the fight to the ground, but does he have other plans?

Nurmagomedov immediately in on a takedown attempt, but it doesn’t pay off. One-two for Nurmagomedov. Body punch from Iaquinta.

Nurmagomedov leads with an elbow, but eats a counter-punch in return. Two punches connect for iaquinta and Nurmagomedov goes back to his jab effectively.

Spinning backfist attempt from iaquinta just misses. Still Nurmagomedov risks striking with him. Iaquinta trying to tee off on Nurmagomedov, but not with the most clean looking of strikes at this late stage in the fight.

Nurmagomedov looking for a takedown against the cage, but Iaquinta gets away.

Nurmagomedov upping his workrate on the feet here and even tries a flying knee attempt and big punches behind it as he tries to goe for a finish.

Then he’s in on another takedown attempt and this time he lands it. Iaquinta leaking crimson onto the mat as he tries to find a way back to his feet.

He does so, but Nurmagomedov is still tightly gripped to him with no intention of letting go. Nurmagomedov hops onto his back and wraps up a rear-naked choke attempt, but Iaquinta escapes that.

40 seconds to go and Nurmagomdov switches between a possible rear-naked choke attempt and then goes for ground and pound instead.

Nurmagomedov trying for one last rear-naked choke attempt, but then has to just hang on to avoid slipping off his opponent’s back until the final buzzer sounds.


Nurmagomedov dominated this fight from start to finish, and after initially wearing down Iaquinta with his grappling in the opening rounds, he also went on to show off his striking skills too led by a crisp jab, en-route to a clean sweep unanimous decision on the judges scorecards (50-44, 50-43 x2).

So there you have it, Khabib Nurmagomedov is now officially the lightweight champion of the world at last and it’s going to take something special to knock ‘The Eagle’ off his perch.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.