Justin Gaethje followed through with his gameplan against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 254. Unfortunately for Gaethje, a good gameplan wasn’t enough to beat a perfect fighter. Nurmagomedov scored a win with a second-round submission, unifying his lightweight title with Gaethje’s interim championship.
Gaethje said leading up to the fight that he just needed to land solid kicks to the legs of Nurmagomedov to take away the champ’s wrestling game and open him up to the challenger’s huge power punches. The kicks did land, and Nurmagomedov’s legs did seem to be starting to show some damage, but it only takes one moment for Nurmagomedov to put an opponent in a bad position.
After a second-round leg kick from Gaethje, Nurmagomedov drove through a takedown and quickly moved to mount. After locking in a triangle choke, Nurmagomedov rolled to his back and squeezed the choke while Gaethje tapped out. Gaethje’s taps were missed by the referee, leaving the challenger unconscious on the canvas.
Following the fight, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement, stating he didn’t want to return to the Octagon without his father, who died following COVID-19-related complications earlier this year.
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