LAS VEGAS — The biggest fight in UFC history ended in utter chaos after Khabib Nurmagomedov secured a fourth-round submission against Conor McGregor to retain his lightweight title at UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena.
Unfortunately, that won’t be what people remember.
Instead, what will be remembered is Nurmagomedov leaping into the crowd after winning the biggest fight of his career and attacking McGregor team member Dillion Danis. The shocking assault sparked a full-fledged brawl that engulfed everyone from both teams. Even McGregor — who stood and watched in the Octagon as the chaos ensured — found himself attacked by Nurmagomedov’s team.
It was a despicable ending to an epic encounter that saw Nurmagomedov retain his title against a game McGregor, who returned to the Octagon after nearly two years away from the sport.
Perhaps this ending was one that could have been predicted considering the storyline heading into the fight that was built around an infamous incident between McGregor and Nurmagomedov that saw the Irishman assault a team bus carrying the Dagestan fighter back in April. The incident became the crutch of the promotion for their encounter at UFC 229 and further fanned the flames between the two sides.
By the time McGregor and the undefeated Nurmagomedov were locked inside of the Octagon, you could cut the tension with a knife.
As for the fight itself, it was a competitive affair that saw Nurmagomedov deploy his vaunted grappling to neutralize McGregor’s standup. What was surprising, however, was Nurmagomedov’s willingness to stand and trade with the former two-weight champion.
After a first round that saw “The Eagle” work furiously to secure a takedown and keep McGregor pinned between the fence and the canvas, Nurmagomedov opened the second frame with an overhand right that dropped his opponent to the canvas. It would be the start of a dominant round that saw the champion throttle McGregor with vicious ground and pound. To McGregor’s credit, he showed great resolve by surviving the brutal pounding that saw all three judges score the round 10-8.
McGregor would get his wind back in the third and began picking apart his rival behind a jab and body shots. The Irishman stuffed several takedowns and consistently beat Nurmagomedov to the punch. But Nurmagomedov wasn’t through and trash-talked McGregor between rounds.
It wouldn’t take long for Nurmagomedov to drag a tiring McGregor down in the fourth round and swiftly move to mount. With McGregor desperately trying to scramble, he would leave his back open for the taking. With a talking Khabib on his back and nowhere to go, McGregor did his best to tuck his chin as the champion wrapped his arm around his chin. Khabib cranked the pressure down on McGregor’s jaw and forced the tap at the 3:03 mark.
After the brawl, both McGregor and Nurmagomedov would be escorted out of the arena before the result was announced. It’s unclear how Nurmagomedov will be disciplined for this incident. If the April incident is any indication, the UFC may use this to fuel a rematch to build off of an event that is expected to have the biggest PPV buyrate in UFC history.
UFC 229 results in full:
Khabib Nurmagomedov def Conor McGregor, (Submission) Round 4
Tony Ferguson def Anthony Pettis via TKO (corner stoppage), Round 2, 5:00
Derrick Lewis def Alexander Volkov via KO (punches), Round 3, 4:39
Michelle Waterson def Felice Herrig via unanimous decision
Jussier Formiga def via unanimous decision
Vicente Luque def Jalin Taylor via KO, (punches) Round 1, 3:52
Aspen Ladd def Tonya Evinger via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:20
Scott Holtzman def Alan Patrick via KO (elbows) – Round 3, 3:42
Yana Kunitskaya def Lina Lansberg via unanimous decision
Nik Lentz def Gray Maynard via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:19
Tony Martin def Ryan LaFlare via KO (head kick and punches) – Round 3, 1:05