The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 242 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
The legend of Khabib Nurmagomedov grows.
The American Kickboxing Academy superstar unified the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight crown, as he submitted Dustin Poirier with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC 242 headliner on Saturday at The Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Poirier (25-6, 17-5 UFC), who entered the Octagon in possession of the interim lightweight championship, raised the white flag 2:06 into Round 3.
Nurmagomedov (28-0, 12-0 UFC) pressed the Louisianan into the cage, executed takedowns and overwhelmed him with positional control and ground-and-pound. Poirier clipped the champion with a right hand in the second round and pursued him with punches, only to find himself pinned to the mat once more. Perhaps sensing his situation was dire, the American Top Team stalwart threw all his effort behind a guillotine in Round 3. Nurmagomedov remained calm, freed himself and transitioned to the back, cinching the choke after Poirier made the mistake of lifting his chin ever so slightly.
Felder Edges Barboza in Rematch
Former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Paul Felder avenged a July 2015 defeat to Edson Barboza, as he eked out a split decision over the Brazilian in the three-round lightweight co-main event. Scores were 29-28 and 30-27 for Felder, 30-27 for Barboza.
Barboza (20-8, 14-8 UFC) spent much of the first round and a good chunk of the second exploiting his speed advantage by blasting “The Irish Dragon” with lightning-quick left hooks and devastating kicks to the legs and body. However, he delivered a takedown in the middle stanza, only to suffer a cut upon meeting a sneaky Felder elbow from the bottom. Barboza was far less successful during the third round. Felder (17-4, 9-4 UFC) pressed forward, dragged the former Ring of Combat champion into a brawl and started stringing together clean punching combinations, doing just enough to procure the victory.
Felder, 34, has rattled off five wins across his past six appearances.
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Makhachev Continues Climb, Denies Ramos
American Kickboxing Academy rep Islam Makhachev pushed his run of consecutive victories to six with a unanimous decision over 2015 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Davi Ramos in a three-round lightweight feature. Makhachev (18-1, 7-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-27, 30-26 and 30-26 marks from the judges.
After a relatively uneventful first round, Makhachev turned up the heat in the second. He countered effectively, probed Ramos’ defenses with straight punches and mixed in the occasional knee. Round 3 proved to be far more one-sided. Ramos (10-3, 4-2 UFC) walked into a knee strike from the Dagestani sambo stylist, hit the deck and absorbed a flurry of standing-to-ground punches. When it became apparent that a finish was not going to materialize, Makhachev settled in guard, applied steady ground-and-pound and maintained a position of dominance.
The setback halted Ramos’ four-fight winning streak.
Brutal Blaydes Mauls Abdurakhimov
Elevation Fight Team’s Curtis Blaydes put away Shamil Abdurakhimov with crushing ground-and-pound in the second round of their featured heavyweight encounter. His nose having been crushed by a devastating elbow strike, Abdurakhimov (20-5, 5-3 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:22 into Round 2.
Blaydes (12-2, 7-2 UFC) offer the former Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship titleholder no refuge, as he secured repeated takedowns, moved to dominant positions and unleashed hell from above. Abdurakhimov survived a lopsided first round but not the second. There, Blaydes dumped him to the mat once again, shifted to half guard and planted an elbow in the middle of the Dagestani kickboxer’s face. Aburakhimov reacted immediately, covered his nose and turned away to avoid further contact.
The 28-year-old Blaydes has won six of his last seven fights.
Offensive Ferreira Overwhelms Taisumov
Fortis MMA standout Diego Ferreira laid claim to his fifth win in as many appearances, as he took a unanimous decision from the favored Mairbek Taisumov in a three-round lightweight showcase. All three judges sided with Ferreira (16-2, 7-2 UFC): 29-28, 29-27 and 29-27.
Taisumov (27-6, 7-2 UFC) started strong -- he had the Texas-based Brazilian reeling with power punches in the first round -- but appeared to wilt in the oppressive Middle Eastern heat. Ferreira pushed a pace the Chechen could not match and overwhelmed him with offense, a chopping right hand his weapon of choice. Overcome by fatigue and the mercilessness of his opponent, Taisumov spent much of the third round on the retreat, eating punches while moving backward.
The loss was Taisumov’s first since March 23, 2014 and closed the book on his six-fight winning streak.
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