UFC free fight: Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, then retires

With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Khabib Nurmagomedov was able to produce one of his best UFC performances.

Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title against interim champion Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254, which took place on “UFC Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.

The champion entered the bout with a heavy heart having recently lost his father, and also carried physical pain from a broken toe sustained before the bout. However, Nurmagomedov’s performance didn’t falter one bit as he ran through Gaethje to register another dominant title defense.

Nurmagomedov applied heavy pressure early, while Gaethje attempted to hinder the Russian’s movement with a succession of his famed low kicks. Once Nurmagomedov was able to back up the challenger, he effortlessly took Gaethje to the mat effortlessly, then transitioned to an armbar right before the buzzer sounded.

In Round 2, Nurmagomedov’s pressure proved to be too much for Gaethje, as he was able to get the fight back down to the mat before sinking in a triangle choke that eventually rendered Gaethje unconscious.

Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC) announced his retirement after the fight, but UFC president Dana White remains hopeful that he can talk the champion out of retirement when they meet in Abu Dhabi later this month.

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