UFC Lightweigts Khabib Nurmagomedov and Gleison Tibau mixed it up at UFC 148 last night in Las Vegas. Nurmagomedov took home a unanimous decision win despite Tibau's size and defensive skills shutting down much of his offense. Nonetheless, this isn't football, defense doesn't win fights and the judges all gave all three rounds to the 23-year-old Russian national, Nurmagomedov, who's currently training out of New Jersey.
Tibau put on a worthy show of defensive wrestling skills that allowed him to frustrate Nurmagomedov, got a take down of his own and scored some punches standing but utterly failed to impress the judges.
What was the high spot of this fight?
Nurmagomedov's emotional reaction to getting the judges decision was more exciting than the entire fight.
Where do these guys go from here?
Nurmagomedov is 23, 18-0 (2-0 UFC) as a professional and yet doesn't really seem ready for the meat grinder that is the UFC LW division. I think he should strongly consider cutting down to 145lbs. He also needs to adjust his training and style to the Octagon and prepare for the strong wrestlers who dominate in the UFC. He's still fighting very much like an "M-1 style" fighter but he's in a cage now and needs to adjust.
Tibau had a three-fight win streak going coming into this bout and now he's back to square one. Somehow he's only 28 years old despite seemingly being in the UFC forever. He really should take the time off to reflect on adjustments he can make to his game to reach the next level or he'll be forever a middling UFC fighter and no more.
Watch it now, later or never?
Never. This was an ugly, odd and frustrating fight, both of these guys have been in more entertaining fights and will likely be in more entertaining bouts next time.
SBN coverage of UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II