Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor at UFC 229 (PHOTOS)
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has sensationally defended his belt and undefeated record with an emphatic win over Irish MMA superstar Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Khabib dominated from start to finish against McGregor and finished the fight with a rear naked choke after a long period of grappling that forced McGregor to tap.
Dagestan native Khabib now moves his impressive undefeated streak to 27-0, while McGregor is set back to 21-4 after failing to win back the lightweight title he won back in 2016 before taking a two-year absence from the octagon.
After all the trash talk and bad blood surrounding the fight, the first round of the biggest fight in UFC history saw an expected cagey beginning from both men, with Khabib perhaps starting the brighter of the two, scoring a takedown that seemed to trouble McGregor.
The master grappler the turned striker as a barrage of punches from ‘The Eagle’ landed on McGregor as he lay on the canvas.
In the second, the unthinkable happened and Khabib, who had been lambasted by McGregor pre-fight for his perceived lack of striking skills, scored a sensational long right hand to the jaw which sent McGregor stumbling, following it up with a vicious flying knee, which was blocked.
What came next looked like it would spell the end of the fight, with McGregor flat on his back and almost powerless to stop blows from Khabib raining down on his already weary face after being taken down yet again.
Not letting a single swing of momentum slip, Khabib mounted Conor, pulling the Irishman's limbs before he somehow made it to his feet.
It looked as though, as early as round two the fight would be turning in the favor of the Dagestan native, who looked as like an over zealous dog using the great McGregor, as a chew toy.
McGregor stayed on his feet for the early part of the third, but Khabib continued to beat the boxer at his own game and held real estate in the middle of the octagon with blistering shots.
Conor had his own success in patches, but Khabib would not concede an inch. The two boxed into the middle of the round, which by that time looked as though it was a chore to renowned striker McGregor, who was beaten to the punch every time.
More energy-sapping pressure from Khabib forced McGregor up against the cage and the Russian goaded the former double champion when the round ended, by nor the writing was beginning to appear on the wall, and it spelled out the end for McGregor.
In the fourth, and entering the championship rounds, the two approached each other with caution, until Khabib once again took down McGregor, holding him against the ropes in complete control of the action.
Then what had appeared inevitable in the previous round became reality, when Khabib battered McGregor to maneuver into position to execute a rear naked choke, with McGregor powerless to do anything but accept his fate and tap out.
Making the former champ quit was not enough for Khabib, who stood over his fallen opponent and taunted him in defeat, which came after McGregor had spent almost the entire build up constructing precise insults to fire at Khabib and his camp.
Then Khabib turned his attention to outside the ring, throwing his mouthpiece at a member of the crowd before jumping over the octagon and wading into a brawl.
As a result, UFC President Dana White refused to hand Khabib his championship belt, and the fighter was escorted from the arena.
White later told journalists that Khabib's fight purse had been withheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and three members of his team had been arrested.
Nevertheless, he was the champ, and had defeated one of the most talked-about names in sport. Khabib will now most likely face Tony Ferguson in his next bout, who was the winner of the co-main event against Anthony Pettis.