The fight everyone wanted to see was the UFC 229 main event between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former simultaneous two-division champion Conor McGregor, fighting in MMA for the first time since November 2016. Fans around the world and of course inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada witnessed Khabib largely dominate McGregor in a very compelling fight, tapping the Irishman out with a neck crank in the fourth round. However, post-fight scenes were ugly, as Khabib went after McGregor’s teammate Dillon Danis, and a riot broke out at cageside and in the Octagon. There will be presumably be repercussions for all who instigated this, and Khabib in particular won’t win many fans for his behavior. One of the most stunning things to ever happen inside the Octagon.
There was no glove touch between these two fierce rivals. Conor took the forward step and landed the first left hand of the fight. Khabib went for a takedown and McGregor did very well to keep his balance initially, but Numagomedov was persistent and put him on the canvas. McGregor threw elbows to the side of Khabib’s head, while the Russian looked to control the Irishman. Khabib laced the legs together to further prevent McGregor from escaping, but he wasn’t doing much damage. Nurmagomedov connected on a couple of right hands and tried to advance his position as McGregor stayed busy by clapping Khabib’s ears. Khabib maneuvered and planted McGregor on his back and passed to half-guard, as the pro-McGregor crowd booed. Khabib fired off a couple of left hands and maintained control through the rest of the round.
Conor threw a kick to start round two and fought on the front foot. Nurmagomedov avoided a knee and rocked and briefly dropped Conor with a massive right hand. A big exchange ensued and McGregor was taken down. Khabib passed to mount but used butterfly sweeps to get to full guard. Nurmagomedov unleashed the monstrous ground-and-pound from a postured up position. Khabib attacked the head and body. An onslaught of elbows and punches with more than three minutes remaining in the round. McGregor was covering up taking serious punishment. It was a beatdown and McGregor was seriously hurt taking unanswered punches aplenty. McGregor was still alive and had to defend a kimura. Khabib couldn’t finish it and went back to punching McGregor, who then got back to his feet. Khabib remained draped all over him against the fence as the seconds ticked away. A totally dominant second-round by Khabib.
McGregor began round three with a jab and a left hand. Conor attacked the body and had success with a left hand there. Khabib was being backed up and not shooting for takedowns to start the round. Khabib had a takedown stuffed and he took a knee to the body, but McGregor got clipped with a right hand. Another takedown against the fence was thwarted by the former champion. Uppercut by McGregor caught Khabib flush. A right hand scored for Khabib and they both traded big shots. McGregor was finding more success than in the previous two rounds, with Khabib standing in front of him. A knee and right hand landed for McGregor who then ate a body shot and was briefly tripped to the mat. Khabib leaned up against McGregor but was unable to get the takedown for the rest of a compelling round.
Khabib complained to referee Herb Dean that McGregor was holding his glove repeatedly, which is illegal. Both men exchanged left hands. McGregor was going to the body a lot in hopes of deterring Khabib. A good entry by Khabib led to another double leg takedown for Nurmagomedov. McGregor was dragged down to the canvas and in mount. Conor hip escaped to half-guard, but Khabib fired away left hands from that position and mounted him again, then back mount. Khabib then went for a neck crank and forced McGregor to tap out. Khabib then exited the cage and attacked Dillon Danis in an absolutely chaotic scene. Someone from Khabib’s camp then punched McGregor in another melee. It took a long time for everyone to be separated and the chaos cleared.
Official result: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Conor McGregor by submission (neck crank) at 3:03 in round 4 to remain UFC lightweight champion