Justin Gaethje was BEATING Khabib Nurmagomedov on two out of three judges scorecards before his second round submission… as the American claims he had ‘The Eagle’ ‘in a bad spot’ before clinched his victory
Khabib moved to 29-0 with a ruthless performance on Fight Island and, consumed with emotion, promptly announced his retirement.
However, his opponent, the 13th UFC fighter to fall short against the dominant Khabib, believed he was troubling the lightweight king – with two of the three judges even scoring him in the lead.
Justin Gaethje was ahead of Khabib Nurmagomedov on the scorecards before his submission
Two of the three judges after the headline clash at UFC 254 had scored Gaethje in the lead
Gaethje was ahead after the first frame, despite Khabib landing more strikes and also recording a takedown – meaning ‘The Eagle’ lost a round for only the second time in his illustrious career.
It was soon revealed by Dana White that Khabib had broken his foot three weeks before the headline bout and also contracted mumps.
It was the clock which saved Gaethje after Khabib forced his opponent to the canvas late in the first round, and the 31-year-old was given little choice but to tap out in the second after the victor secured a triangle choke.
Gaethje was leading on two judges’ cards despite Khabib’s takedown late in the first frame
Khabib, who announced his retirement after his win, defeated Gaethje with a triangle choke
Gaethje said: ‘It sucks, I’m hurt. It’s emotional. Ultimately, it’s the name of the game, man. I had him in trouble. I wasn’t very many kicks away from him not being able to walk.
‘He’s going to limp… limping for at least the next three weeks. That’s nothing to be proud of because I lost, but, I felt alive… I felt great.
‘I believe I did a great job of causing damage. Keeping the distance, controlling the distance, threatening and causing damage. I caused damage in there.
‘I know he was in a bad spot. Even if he wasn’t, he did what he had to do. Took me down. He is very strong. I know he made his father so proud.’
The two fighters had shared an embrace with Khabib emotional after his father’s death in May
Khabib has revealed he does not want to continue with his trainer, and mentor, Abdulmanap
Both fighters shared a touching embrace after their showdown and the unbeaten Khabib explained his decision to retire was due to his father’s death in May.
The 32-year-old insisted he did not want to continue without his trainer and mentor.
Khabib, and Magomed Ankalaev, took home an extra £40,000 in bonuses after sharing the performance of the night mantle.