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UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov dominates Conor McGregor, starts a post-fight melee

UFC 229 was a night nobody will ever forget, and not just for the fights

By the end of Saturday night, everyone was talking about UFC 229. It might not have been for the right reasons, however.

Months of tension boiled over inside and out of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. After Khabib successfully beat the returning Conor McGregor, chaos unfolded. What ended up being a solid event for the UFC got overshadowed by petty drama, a recent recurrence in 2018.

But first, the match itself!

Almost everyone had Lightweight Champion Khabib winning this fight, as Conor had been away from the octagon for more than two years. There was always a chance “The Notorious One” surprised everyone. It seemed like he still had it after all this time, displaying his cocky self at several press conferences, from New York to Las Vegas. Conor made digs at Khabib any chance he could, from his father to his religion to anything else you can imagine.

Khabib, as calm and collected as any of Conor’s opponents, did not play Conor’s game, and instead focused on the task at hand. Starting from him confronting Artem Lobov, Conor’s teammate, to McGregor throwing the dolly at the bus pre-UFC 223, this one was as personal as they come. When both finally entered the octagon, it didn’t feel real. Grand entrances and all, these two looked their best physically, but mentally, just like the atmosphere, something didn’t feel right.

Khabib (27-0) controlled the pace from the start of the bout, using his patented groundgame early. At one point, Khabib had complete control of Conor’s legs, suffocating them to the point of being useless. While Conor tried to counter with strong elbows, it wasn’t enough to stop Khabib.

Round two was more of the same. Conor (21-4) tried hitting his patented hooks, but Khabib backed off and responded with heavy rights of his own. Putting him back on the ground, Khabib pounded on the face of McGregor, who stayed by the cage and attempted to use it to his advantage.

Both fighters looked tired by round three, especially Khabib. We saw his body getting weaker in the Al Iaquinta fight at UFC 223, and his stamina could have been affected here. Conor was able to hit a few shots and kicks, staying alive just long enough for the later rounds. Before the fight ended, the judges scored round three to Conor, giving Khabib his first loss in any round.

Round four was the final nail in the coffin. More groundwork by Khabib froze Conor, right near his Proper Twelve logo on the mat. Khabib finally got what he wanted and submitted Conor with a neck crank at 3:03 in the fourth.

Khabib won the battle, but the war was far from over. The champion started talking smack to Dillon Danis, one of Conor’s teammates. He then proceeded to jump out of the cage and attack Danis. Conor saw this and was about to jump the cage himself, when Khabib’s team tried to stop him. All of a sudden, one of Khabib’s teammates jumped the cage and jumped Conor, causing mayhem in and out of the cage. Conor was escorted out by security while everything was trying to get back under control.

Dana White refused to put the Lightweight Belt on Khabib, pointing out a riot might take place. Khabib walked to the back, and the commission withheld him of his fight pay. Conor did not press any charges.

It was something not seen in MMA before, and for good reason. A wild scene in Las Vegas ended a solid night of fights. Where do we go from here? Khabib may be stripped of his title, or a rematch could take place. One thing is for sure: Saturday, October 6 was a night people will never forget.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.

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