Unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired from mixed martial arts after stopping Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke early in the second round at UFC 254 on Saturday night.
Nurmagomedov (29-0) made the declaration following he stunningly completed his first battle since the demise of his dad and deep rooted mentor in July. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov had a heart issue exacerbated by Covid-19, and his child was overwhelmed by tears in the pen minutes in the wake of stifling Gaethje oblivious 1:34 into the second round of his third UFC title guard. “This is my last battle,” Nurmagomedov said. “Its absolutely impossible I will be back without my dad. I addressed my mom. She don’t have a clue how I battle without father, however I guaranteed it will be my last battle, and in the event that I give my statement, I need to follow it.” The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov was dynamic with hits and with catching against Gaethje (22-3), the hazardous brawler who had taken out four sequential world class rivals while winning the UFC’s interval lightweight title. Subsequent to spending the first round generally exchanging punches and kicks with the forceful Gaethje, Nurmagomedov utilized his unmatched tackling aptitudes to bring down Gaethje from the get-go in the second round and afterward worked into position for the completing stifle. Gaethje seemed to tap out in any event twice before the ref saw and halted the session, by which time Gaethje was oblivious. He ricocheted up rapidly and imparted a snapshot of common regard to the prevailing Russian victor. “I realize he was in an awful spot, however if he was, he did what he expected to do,” Gaethje said. “I realize his dad is so pleased.” Additionally at UFC 254, previous middleweight champion Robert Whittaker put forth his defense for another title shot with a strong consistent choice over individual competitor Jared Cannonier in the penultimate session on Fight Island.
Nurmagomedov first battle in quite a while would be a fitting goodbye for one of the most powerful rivals in late MMA history. The Dagestan-conceived catching pro built up a balanced game under the tutelage of his dad and a Bay Area-based MMA exercise center, coming full circle in his climb to the UFC title in 2018. Nurmagomedov halted Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in his next two sessions before his yearlong nonattendance from rivalry. His triumph over McGregor made him one of the world’s most celebrated battle sports competitors, and the UFC booked this compensation per-see show at a sooner than-typical chance to take into account his immense fan base in Russia and Europe. Be that as it may, Nurmagomedov has discussed retirement previously, and his declaration affirmed he is done with the game in the wake of going through a large portion of the UFC lightweight division. “Dustin and Conor will battle in January,” Nurmagomedov stated, alluding to the likely gathering between the previous competitors at UFC 257. “I gagged them both out. I’m not intrigued by this.” Prior, Whittaker (22-5) gave a trained, dynamic execution with great striking to procure his second consecutive UFC triumph since losing his title to Israel Adesanya in late 2019. Covering his exertion by dropping Cannonier with a mix halfway through the last round, Whittaker won two of three rounds on each scorecard while adequately out striking. Cannonier (13-5), who assumed his first misfortune in almost 2 1/2 years. Whittaker probably procured an opportunity at a rematch with Adesanya with the triumph, yet he didn’t get down on the victor after his session, rather communicating just energy about getting back to set up his family’s Christmas tree. Whittaker pulled back from a session with Cannonier planned for March in Las Vegas since he understood consumed on MMA. “I’m cheerful it’s all finished,” Whittaker said. “We got the outcome we needed. Work’s done, infant. I’m returning home.” Prior in the show, Russian heavyweight Alexander Volkov halted Walt Harris with a kick to the chest and punches on the ground 1:15 into the second round. Flyweight Lauren Murphy likewise reinforced her case for a title shot with a second-round stoppage of Liliya Shakirova by back exposed gag for her fourth consecutive triumph.