The anticipation for the Main Event was worth it. As soon as Justin Gaethje won the Interim title by destroying Tony Ferguson in May of 2020, we begged for the unification fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Pre-fight predictions were more or less 50/50, give or take some points in Khabib’s favour. Khabib has been the champion since he won the vacant title vs Al Iaquinta in April 2018. Since then he has choked out Conor Mcgregor, Dustin Poirier and now Justin Gaethje.
As soon as the fight began, Khabib began to stalk Gaethje and apply the pressure that has lead hom to success throughout his career. He landed all his takedown attempts, he out classed Justin in the standup and on the ground. Gaethje’s gameplan was smart, attack the legs with leg kicks a lot and defend the takedown. He was able to do the former but not the latter. Gatehje was taken down at the end of the first then again in the second where Khabib used his wrestling skills to mount and apply a tight triangle choke for the win.
After the fight, Khabib announced that he promised his mother that this would be his last fight. Khabib’s father and head trainer passed away in July due to complications with COVID-19. Khabib dedicated this fight to his father and was extremely emotional when the fight was over. Huddled over on his knees in the middle of the Octagon, Khabib cried in sadness for his late father. Khabib is the definition of a true Martial Artist, he was extremely candid after the fight and showed respect to the sport, his father, his opponents and the UFC. Khabib retires at the age of 32 and a flawless record of 29-0. Considered the GOAT even though some people would have Jon Jones as the GOAT, it’s hard for me to not give that honour to Khabib. Strictly for the fact that Khabib has never had a controversy, he has finished every title fight and has only recorded ONE round lost in his entire career (vs Conor Mcgregor).
What’s next for the Lightweight division. Names to look out for: Conor Mcgregor, Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje. Justin Gaethje just lost his title shot so I don’t think he will get an immediate shot. Conor and Dustin are fighting in January. Michael Chandler was the emergency replacement for UFC 254 and has now become relevant. Chandler was in Dubai making weight just in case Khabib or Justin would have to pull out. Chandler was the Bellator Lightweight champ and is now officially with the UFC. What I think and hope should happen is the winners of Dustin vs Conor and Gaethje v Chandler fight for the vacant LW title. Let’s see what happens. Justin already said he would fight Conor if he chooses to cancel his fight with Poirier.
The #1 contender for the Middleweight championship was outstanding. Former MW champ Robert Whitaker takes on Jared Canonier for the contender spot to face off vs Israel Adesanya. Canonier vs Whitaker was a very predictable fight. We knew that The Killa Gorilla would try to take off Bobby Whitaker’s head and that the former champ would use his awkward wide stance to create distance and confusion. Whitaker was able to secure a few takedowns and almost finished the fight in the final round, but Canonier withstood the finish and started his own counter attack. The judges score the fight 29-28 and a Unanimous decision for Whitaker.
For the full preview of the fight listen to our episode of Weekly Sauce with myself and Alex the Intern. We had Adam Caplan on from Unanimous Decision Podcast. ALso, don’t forget to Like and Subscibe Hot Sauce Sports everywhere.