Khabib Nurmagomedov ended his Ultimate Fighting Championship tenure with one last dominant effort.
The reigning lightweight champion received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for his second-round submission of Justin Gaethje in the UFC 254 main event at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. “The Eagle” executed a takedown early in Round 2, transitioned from an arm triangle to a mounted triangle and rendered Gaethje unconscious at the 1:34 mark of the period. In the aftermath, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
Magomed Ankalaev captured the card’s other $50,000 “Performance of the Night” check on the strength of a knockout of Ion Cutelaba in a featured light heavyweight tilt. Ankalaev floored his foe with a left hand early in the contest before dropping him again with a counter left hook later in the frame. Punches and hammerfists from above brought an end to the bout at the 4:19 mark of Round 1 and allowed Ankalaev to improve to 2-0 against Cutelaba.
Elsewhere, Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood earned “Fight of the Night” honors and $50,000 apiece for their preliminary scrap at 140 pounds. In a matchup that saw the combatants combine to land 259 significant strikes, Kenney ultimately emerged with an entertaining three-round verdict on the judges’ scorecards.
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