By Dan Foley – Well UFC 229 certainly lived up to the hype but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Let’s talk about the good first, things started off very well and I must say it was one of the best fight cards I’ve seen in a while in terms of fights. Derrick Lewis showed incredible heart and really dug down deep to pull out a knock-out in the dying moments of a fight he was certainly losing. Later we perhaps saw what, in my opinion, was the fight of the night when Tony Ferguson beat Anthony Pettis via TKO. Ferguson showed incredible pressure and an iron will as he fought through adversity to break Pettis down and earn another victory that certainly solidifies him as the next contender for the Lightweight title.
Now we get to the main event where the fight itself was actually very good. Khabib Nurmagomedov managed to get Conor McGregor’s leg early before taking him down and was relentless from there, smothering him with his dominating top control game.
There was an excellent change in tactics from Khabib in the 2nd round as he totally surprised Conor by coming out and throwing some huge shots, one of which rocked the Irishman and this exchange then left McGregor completely open to another takedown. From there Khabib really started imposing his will, instead of just controlling Conor as in the first round, he really started opening up and landing some hard shots from the top position. Complete domination from Khabib in the 2nd round.
It looked as if the pace of the fight started to take its toll a little bit in the 3rd with both fighters looking a little slower in the striking exchanges. Khabib got stuffed on his 1st takedown attempt and failed to get another. Some interesting exchanges in the remainder of the round, but this one could have gone to either fighter. There was a nice takedown from Khabib to start the 4th and this was the beginning of the end for McGregor. Khabib’s grappling was so superior and he used it extremely effectively, gaining top position once again and then smoothly transitioning to back mount where he locked in the rear naked choke and forced McGregor to tap.
Unfortunately, at this point, things seemed to take a very bad turn for the worst and all hell broke loose. Khabib jumped the cage and went after Dillon Danis (McGregor’s jiu-jitsu coach), and then members of Khabib’s team jumped into the octagon and one, in particular, attacked Conor McGregor from behind. This was absolutely disgusting and cowardly behaviour, in my opinion, you never attack a fighter especially after he’s just fought. It’s sad to see these kinds of things happen in a professional sport and I’ve lost a lot of respect for Khabib and his teammates after this incident. This really leaves a black eye on the sport and will not help its reputation with the mainstream media. After such impressive fight performances, it really was a sour note to end on.
Assuming Khabib is allowed to fight in the near future I really hope we get to see Tony Ferguson finally get a shot against him. The fight has been scheduled numerous times in the past and has fallen through for one reason or another, but it really would be a great fight to see.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Conor McGregor — fourth-round submission.
- Tony Ferguson def. Anthony Pettis — second round retirement (broken hand)
- Dominick Reyes def. Ovince Saint Preux — via unanimous decision
- Derrick Lewis def. Alexander Volkov — via 3rd round KO
- Michelle Waterson def. Felice Herrig — via unanimous decision
- Jussier da Silva def. Sergio Pettis — via unanimous decision
- Vicente Luque def. Jalin Turner — via 1st round KO
- Aspen Ladd def. Tonya Evinger — via 1st round TKO
- Scott Holtzman def. Alan Patrick Silva Alves — via 3rd round KO