Nurmagomedov caps wild week with lightweight belt at UFC 223
4/8/2018 5:49:46 AM EST
Khabib Nurmagomedov ended the wildest week in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's considerably colorful history as the company's first Dagestani champion.
Nurmagomedov (26-0) dominated late replacement Al Iaquinta (13-4-1) of Long Island in the main event of UFC 223 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday night. The judges' scores were 50-44, 50-43 and 50-43 for a unanimous decision.
"What can I say? 26-0, 10 wins in the UFC, and now the UFC lightweight champion," Nurmagomedov said.
Iaquinta was the fifth potential opponent in a week for Nurmagomedov, who was originally scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson. Ferguson had to withdraw last weekend after tearing his knee in a freak accident tripping over a cable on a TV lot in Los Angeles.
Featherweight champ Max Holloway filled in for Ferguson, but the New York State Athletic Commission stopped his weight cut Friday and pulled him from the fight, deeming him unfit to continue. Paul Felder and Anthony Pettis were proposed before Iaquinta, who was scheduled to fight Felder, accepted the bout.
But the underdog tale ended there. Iaquinta, who came into the bout on a five-fight win streak, proved plenty tough in simply going the distance. But Nurmagomedov mauled Iaquinta on the ground in the first and second rounds and also got the better of things in the third and fourth, which were conducted in the standup.
Iaquinta went for broke in the final round and had Nurmagomedov backpedaling. But Nurmagomedov scored his fifth takedown of the fight midway through the round and sealed the victory from there, as time ran out on Iaquinta's upset bid.
In the evening's co-feature bout, UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (8-3) of Denver retained her championship with a unanimous decision victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2) of Poland, the woman she beat to win the 115-pound title in November. The judges' scores were 49-46 across the board.
--Field Level Media