The highly anticipated UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje wrapped up the promotion’s second stay on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi. Would Khabib remain the undefeated, undisputed champion? Or would Justin Gaethje pull off the upset and unseat the seemingly unbeatable Khabib?
Well we got our answer, and it’s simply, “....and still!” The first round was extremely competitive and compelling, with Khabib flashing a solid jab and going strike for strike with the feared striker himself. A late takedown in round one by Nurmagomedov resulted in instant full mount, which was a bad sign for Gaethje in the next r ound. Gaethje did chew up Khabib’s leg plenty, but all it took was one takedown off a kick and Nurmagomedov went straight into full mount again. In next to no time he transitioned into a triangle choke and Gaethje tapped several times over. It took an eternity for referee Jason Herzog to notice Gaethje tapped and indeed he passed out. Bad reffing.
The real shock occurred in the post-fight interview, as Khabib announced his retirement from the sport. He was emotional given that this was the first fight since the death of his father and trainer Abdulmanap.
Here’s Tim Burke’s play-by-play of the finish:
Round 2 - Left from Gaethje. Leg kick from Khabib. Front kick misses. Another left hook from Gaethje. Khabib shoots but is swatted away. Hard leg kick from Gaethje. He didn’t like that. Another leg kick. A third, as Khabib is shooting in. And he still gets the takedown. Wow. Right to mount! He’s looking for a topside triangle armbar! He rolls to his back and Gaethje taps! The ref didn’t see it! Gaethje goes to sleep! WOWOWOW! Khabib is incredible.
Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje via submission (triangle choke),1:34 of round 2
Watch the highlights below:
La la presión del campeón y los contra golpes de Gaethje #UFC254 pic.twitter.com/TjRlKVoWFw— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
Khabib gets the fight right where he wants it! #UFC254 pic.twitter.com/mmUxSX1NqL— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) October 24, 2020
Gaethje conecta buenos golpes, Khabib usa su control en round 1! #UFC254 pic.twitter.com/WgZX4EWvzy— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
Lo duerme!!!! @TeamKhabib somete a Gaethje y retiene el título!— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
Una celebración emocional para rendir tributo a su padre #UFC254 pic.twitter.com/ru6tuHVMFk