Submission (Neck Crank)
      Conor landed a big punch, a big kick, and then Khabib shot for a takedown, which Conor stuffed, and then ALMOST reversed it. Khabib FINALLY took Conor down a minute into the round, pinned Conor against the fence, and Conor hammered him with some elbows to the "side" of the head. Khabib had Conor's legs tied up in sort of a seated full mount position, but he wasn't really doing any damage, he was mostly just smothering Conor against the fence. Conor landed far more strikes in that round, but I guess Khabib still wins the round, based on his wet blanket top control.
     Conor started the second round with some nice punches, a wild flying knee, and then Khabib rocked the shit out of him with a MASSIVE right hand. Conor recovered, tried to fire back, they both landed some solid shots, and then Khabib took him down again, pinning him with full mount near the fence, a minute into the second round. Khabib unloaded with some big punches & elbows, and Conor was mostly just covering up. Khabib passed to side control, Conor blasted him with an illegal knee from the bottom, Khabib just shrugged it off and started setting up a Kimura. Conor finally worked his way back to his feet with 45 seconds left in the round, but Khabib continued to press him against the fence with some tight clinching. That round was probably a 10-8 round for Khabib Nurmagomedov.
     Conor picked apart Khabib for the first 90 seconds of the third round, Khabib shot for a takedown, and Conor stuffed his shot this time. They continued to box with each other at a decent pace, with Conor winning most of the exchanges. Khabib finally took him down again with a minute left in the round, but Conor stood back up almost immediately. Khabib finished the round clinching and pressing Conor against the fence, but I'm going to say that round goes to Conor. I have Khabib ahead 29-28 going into the fourth round, but it COULD be 29-27 for Khabib, depending on how the second round was scored.
     Conor blasted Khabib with some big punches to start the fourth round, and then Khabib took him down again, a minute into the round, and after a brief scramble, Khabib secured a tight full mount again. He eventually took Conor's back, locked on a rear-naked choke, cranked the shit out of it, Conor tapped out, Khabib wins via fourth round submission, and then... all hell broke loose. Khabib jumped over the fence, attacked Conor's corner, Khabib's corner jumped into the cage, and assaulted Conor, a giant brawl broke out, and... BASICALLY... "Fuck Khabib..." He's a hell of a fighter, but that was some of the dumbest shit I've ever seen. Khabib should be stripped of his title.
      Iaquinta threw a few decent punches, didn't quite land with them, and then Nurmagomedov turned into a bucket of glue, clinched, grabbed Iaquinta's leg, took him down with 100% control of the grappling, and then somehow Iaquinta magically got back to his feet against the fence a few seconds later, only to have Nurmagomedov dump him to the ground again. Nurmagomedov then spent the next couple of minutes riding Iaquinta's back against the fence, while Iaquinta struggled to get back to his feet. Nurmagomedov has to be the most dominant grappler I've ever seen, this guy is fucking relentless. Round one obviously goes to Nurmagomedov, maybe even with a 10-8 scorecard.
      Iaquinta started the second round with a lot of movement, he landed some decent punches, and a body kick, and then Nurmagomedov went back to his grappling, and took Iaquinta to the ground with ease, pinning him against the fence a minute into the round. Nurmagomedov took his back, continued to dominate Iaquinta on the ground, he went for a rear-naked choke, and Iaquinta was able to spin out of it somehow, but it didn't take long for Nurmagomedov to secure back mount again, and he punched Iaquinta in the head repeatedly. Iaquinta is down 20-16 going into the third round, but he deserves some serious credit for at least surviving into the third round. Khabib Nurmagomedov is from another planet.
      The third round was a more evenly matched boxing match, where both guys stayed standing pretty much the entire time, which allowed Iaquinta to land a few solid punches, but by the end of the round, Nurmagomedov still didn't look damaged at all, and Iaquinta's face was all busted up and shit. Khabib is clearly running away with this fight, but again, you have to give props to Iaquinta for surviving into the Championship rounds.
      The fourth round was another weird round of striking, where Nurmagomedov's shots were stuffed with ease, and Iaquinta landed some solid shots with his boxing. I'm tempted to score the fourth round for Iaquinta, even though there is absolutely no way he can win this fight on the scorecards, but I think he deserves to at least win a round given Nurmagomedov's bad gameplan over the course of the third & fourth rounds. So I have this fight scored 39-35 for Nurmagomedov going into the final round.
      Nurmagomedov failed with a bad takedown attempt to start the final round, and then from that moment forward, Iaquinta started beating the shit out of him with hard punch combinations. Nurmagomedov shot for another takedown 2 minutes into the round, and Iaquinta stuffed the shot again. Nurmagomedov threw some wild shit, including a flying knee, and that was enough to finally open up an opportunity to secure another takedown against the fence. He took Iaquinta's back again, they rolled around wildly, and Iaquinta worked his way back to his feet with 90 seconds left in the round, but Nurmagomedov continued to grind him against the fence. Nurmagomedov went for another rear-naked choke with a minute left in the fight, and Iaquinta used his magic to escape again. Iaquinta accepted this fight on basically a day's notice, with NO time to come up with a gameplan, and he still lasted 25 minutes with one of the scariest fighters in the world. Kudos to Al Iaquinta, but yeah, this is a clear cut unanimous decision victory for Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Al Iaquinta deserves more props than anyone else tonight just for the size of the balls he was dragging into the octagon tonight.
      This is one of the only seriously interesting fights on this card. The fight started with Barboza moving backwards, while throwing a lot of fast kicks at the legs of Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov was plowing forward like a tractor, while trying to power Barboza to the ground. Khabib finally took him down 90 seconds into the round, and dropped some BRUTAL elbows while pinning him against the fence. Khabib dropped some shots that would make most grown men weep like babies, but Barboza just ate the shots while trying to survive on the ground against the monster Khabib. Khabib passed to full mount with a minute left in the round, and he continued to maul Barboza with brutal ground & pound all the way up until the end of the round. That was a 10-8 round for Khabib. He's a fucking MONSTER.
     The second round had Khabib chasing Barboza while beating him up with big punches, while Barboza just ran backwards, trying to escape the punishment from Khabib, and he wasn't able to get away. Khabib pressed him against the fence a minute into the round, but Barboza was able to stay on his feet. Barboza finally started to land some solid shots halfway through the round, but that didn't stop Khabib from moving forward, until he eventually buried Barboza against the fence, like he was digging a grave for Barboza, using Barboza's head like a shovel against the canvas. Khabib beat the living shit out of Barboza on the ground with brutal punches until the end of the round. Khabib is a fucking MONSTER!!!
     Barboza spent the first minute of the final round picking apart Khabib with some clean strikes, and then Khabib took him down against the fence again, but Barboza was able to work his way back to his feet this time. Barboza FINALLY landed a brutal spinning wheel kick, but just ate it, and continued to plow forward. I think that was probably Barboza's one shot, and after it failed, Khabib just sucked him right back into the ground, and continued to pound on him until the end of the round. That was a fantastic one-sided performance by Khabib Nurmagomedov, against one of the best strikers in all of MMA. Khabib Nurmagomedov 100% deserves a title shot after this. HE'S A FUCKING MONSTER!!!
Submission (Kimura)
      The first round was kind of embarrassing for Nurmagomedov, as Johnson spent the first 2 rounds picking him apart with his slick boxing, as Nurmagomedov looked like he had never been in a fight that included punches before. He got rocked early, but he was able to takedown Johnson halfway through the round, and he quickly secured the mounted crucifix, where he dropped some short elbows to the face of Johnson. He opened up with some heavy punches & elbows, as Johnson just floundered around on the ground. Nurmagomedov landed a LOT of big brutal punches & elbows, while absolutely dominating Johnson on the ground. Nurmagomedov landed countless brutal punches to Johnson's head there at the end of the round, leading to what could potentially be a 10-8 round for Nurmagomedov, which is really hard to score, since Johnson dominated him for the first 2 minutes. Either way, Nurmagomedov AT LEAST won that round 10-9, if not 10-8. Nurmagomedov is a fucking MONSTER on the ground!
     Johnson was able to work his boxing for a minute into the second round, Nurmagomedov shot for a takedown, and Johnson slipped out of it pretty easily. Nurmagomedov shot for another takedown, and Johnson slapped on a tight guillotine choke, but Nurmagomedov popped his head out, leaving Nurmagomedov back on top in the mounted crucifix again just 90 seconds into the second round. Nurmagomedov once again dropped countless big punches to the head of Johnson, while pressing his knee into Johnson's throat. In both rounds, he was able to tie up Johnson's arms, leaving him pretty much defenseless, as Nurmagomedov threw constant BRUTAL punches to Johnson's head. I honestly thought Nurmagomedov was going to cause Johnson's head to explode like a watermelon at a Gallagher show. Nurmagomedov AT LEAST won that round 10-8, so he's clearly going to win this fight by decision if something crazy doesn't happen in the final round.
     Nurmagomedov came out swinging with big punches in the final round, he landed some hard shots, and then he took Johnson down again with ease. Johnson turtled up against the fence, and Nurmagomedov continued to do the watermelon smash, as he slammed his sledgehammer fists into Johnson's head from a variety of angles. He tried to setup an arm-triangle choke 90 seconds into the final round, but Johnson was ALMOST able to roll out of it, but Nurmagomedov just landed back in side control again, where he continued to look for submissions. He cranked the shit out of a Kimura, and finished the fight by submission halfway through the final round. That was one of the most brilliant performances I've ever seen, and it should wash away any doubts that people have about whether or not Nurmagomedov deserves a title shot at this point. I think I still have Ferguson ranked above him, but if it's not one of those two, then NOBODY else in the division deserves a shot more than either of them. FANTASTIC win for Nurmagomedov.
TKO (Punches)
      Horcher is making his insane UFC debut here, against one of the top fighters in the world, on a week's notice. Horcher landed a few decent punches in the first half of the round, but Nurmagomedov was able to lift him above his head, and slam him to the ground. Once they were on the ground, Horcher did a decent job clinching with Nurmagomedov on the ground, but he was still getting hit by some pretty decent elbows. Nurmagomedov postured up with a minute left in the round, and started dropping some brutally sharp elbows, but Horcher was still able to survive somehow. Nurmagomedov tried to take his back, mounted him, and continued to destroy him on the ground. Nurmagomedov then started riding Horcher's back, continued to pound on him with massive punches. Horcher was literally saved by the horn.
     Horcher did a fantastic job again, in the second round, defending against the takedowns, but Nurmagomedov was able to throw him to the ground, landing in side control this time, in under a minute of the second round. He dropped some more elbows, some heavy punches, and continued to grapple the shit out of Horcher. Nurmagomedov secured a TIGHT mounted crucifix, and nearly finished Horcher with a lot of unanswered punches, but Horcher was SOMEHOW able to survive still. This dude is tough as nails. Nurmagomedov grabbed his back, locked on the body triangle, and continued to beat the shit out of him with heavy punches. He continued to increase the power of those punches, until the referee finally had to stop the fight. That was a really strong performance for Nurmagomedov after 2 full years out of the cage due to injuries, but what I'm REALLY surprised by, was how awesome Horcher looked. I mean, he got slaughtered, but... He survived WAY longer than most people would. That was a great fight, and I look forward to seeing Horcher in the UFC with a full training camp.
      That was pretty awesome. Going into this fight, I had Khabib ranked as the #1 Lightweight in the world (yes, above the Champion Pettis), and I had dos Anjos ranked as #3 (also above Pettis). With that being said, this fight was 100% one-sided, with Khabib absolutely dominating dos Anjos for the entire 15 minute fight, he just ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED HIM, with takedowns, throws, and overall control. Khabib seems unstoppable, and I already thought he deserved a title shot before this fight, SURELY this will secure him one, right?
      This important thing to keep in mind after this fight is, Khabib Nurmagomedov, T.J. Grant & Rafael dos Anjos are all on 5 fight winning streaks in the UFC, but Khabib is the only one that is now 21-0 in his overall fight career. That is an insane run, and in my opinion, seats him comfortably at #1 in the world at 155. Considering the fact that I rank the UFC Lightweight Champion, Anthony Pettis, somewhere around #4 in the division, I feel like he has a hell of a hill to climb, trying to knock all 3 of those guys off their rankings above him. But yeah, Khabib, he's the shit, and even though this wasn't the best fight ever, he pretty much dominated the veteran, Pat Healy, for all 3 rounds, so that's a really solid win. Good fight overall, and you can't keep up with Khabib's grappling skills... He just outworks people. That's all there is to say really.
      Khabib Nurmagomedov is a badass. Plain & simple, he's one of those Sambo experts, that comes in, and throws wrestlers around like ragdolls. I've seen Trujillo SEVERELY fuck people up before, and Nurmagomedov absolutely dominated him for the entire 15 minutes of this fight, and I even scored a couple of the rounds 10-8 in favor of Nurmagomedov. His overall MMA record right now is 20-0. How is this guy not in line for a title shot? This guy is fucking insane. The crowd didn't seem to like this fight, but I can't help but be impressed by how much of a beast Nurmagomedov is.
TKO (Punches & Elbows)
      This was a pretty brutal finish to a quick fight. Khabib punched Tavares in the face, Tavares fell down, Khabib threw a few solid punches to his face, and then started dropping brutal elbows, and then the referee got distracted by playing Angry Birds on his phone, and eventually after Tavares was already unconscious, the referee casually decided to go ahead and stop the fight. I gotta tell you, Dan Miragliotta is having a shitty night of being a ref tonight.
      You know what? I'm glad Nurmagomedov won this fight, because he has an insane undefeated record so far in his MMA career, so it's always cool watching guys take on that Goldberg challenge, racking up win after win after win, etc... The problem is, you COULD argue that Tibau won this fight, 29-28, but in the end, I agreed with all 3 judges, and gave the fight to Nurmagomedov. It was kind of a boring fight, spent mostly cuddling with each other, while standing against the cage. But yeah, looking forward to seeing what comes in the future for Nurmagomedov.
Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
      This was a solid debut by Khabib Nurmagomedov. He's kind of like peanut butter, and his opponents are like slices of bread. He slaps them down on the mat, and then just smears them all over the ground, until eventually the fight ends. Shalorus really didn't have anything that was capable of stopping Nurmagomedov, so once the third round hit, they were both pretty tired, but Nurmagomedov had enough left in the tank to get on Shalorus's back, and locked on a rear-naked choke, forcing him to submit. Khabib is solid, Shalorus didn't impress me though.