UFC 254 Results: Khabib Submits Justin Gaethje To Retain Lightweight Title, Announces Retirement

The highly anticipated fight between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje had an early finish at UFC 254. And according to what he said in the post-fight interview, this was Nurmagomedov’s final fight.

Co-Main Event

Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier

This middleweight fight started with a few careful strikes from each opponent, with Cannonier knocking Whittaker down and then slipping and falling himself. Whittaker began to push Cannonier back to the cage with a few well-placed punches and kicks, controlling the center of the cage while remaining careful. While both fighters managed to land a few hits before the round ended, there were no other greatly significant moments of action before round two began.

Whittaker started the second round by landing a double-jab on Cannonier, staggering him for a moment. Cannonier stayed focused and managed to land a few kicks to the leg. With about a minute left in the round, Whittaker locked up with Cannonier and ran him back to the cage, getting him down to his knees before Cannonier managed to escape. The fight then moved into the third and final round.

Another jab from Whittaker started the action with a jab that again staggered Cannonier. A solid 1-2-kick combo from Whittaker forced Cannonier to run back to the cage, and Whittaker capitalized by chasing him to the ground and raining down punches while Cannonier desperately tried to protect himself with his guard. Whittaker kept Cannonier against the cage, forcing him to transition to half-guard before moving to mount. Whittaker transitioned to the back, and Cannonier managed to escape and get to his feet, forcing his opponent into the cage and finding opportunities for knees. With just over a minute left, Whittaker again changed levels and pushed Cannonier back against the cage, keeping him there until time ran out.

Whittaker was awarded the victory via unanimous decision.

Main Event

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

This highly anticipated bout for the lightweight title began with both fighters searching for a good opportunity for about the first minute. Nurmagomedov then began to put the pressure on, pushing Gaethje to the cage and chasing him with a flurry of punches, kicks, and knees. Still, Gaethje kept his defense up and managed to land a few big hits on Nurmagomedov’s head. In the last minute of the round, Nurmagomedov successfully shot for a takedown and brought Gaethje to the ground, transitioning to mount and positioning himself for an armbar. However, Nurmagomedov wasn’t able to finish the fight within the last ten seconds, and the fight moved to round two.

Both fighters seemed more confident in the second round, with Gaethje landing a few hard hits and a big leg kick that seemed to hurt Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov wasted little time in taking Gaethje to the ground, transitioning to mount and then easily putting Gaethje into a tight triangle choke. It was mere seconds until Gaethje tapped, but the referee didn’t see it at first. Gaethje went to sleep, and Nurmagomedov was declared the winner by submission a minute and 34 seconds into the second round.

In the post-fight interview, an emotional Nurmagomedov revealed that he’d promised his mother that this would be his final fight and that he intended to follow through on that promise. He left his gloves on the mat after announcing his retirement, finishing his professional fight career at 29-0.


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