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411’s UFC 242 Report: Khabib Retains Lightweight Title

September 7, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Khabib Nurmagomedov

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 2 p.m. ET)
Champ Khabib Nurmagomedov (155 lbs.) vs. interim champ Dustin Poirier (155 lbs.) – for lightweight title
#7 Edson Barboza (155.5 lbs.) vs. #10 Paul Felder (155 lbs.)
#15 Islam Makhachev (155 lbs.) vs. Davi Ramos (156 lbs.)
#9 Shamil Abdurakhimov (257 lbs.) vs. #5 Curtis Blaydes (251 lbs.)
Diego Ferreira (156 lbs.) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (156 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, noon ET)
#5 Joanne Calderwood (126 lbs.) vs. #6 Andrea Lee (126 lbs.)
Lerone Murphy (146 lbs.) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (146 lbs.)
Liana Jojua (134.5 lbs.) vs. Sarah Moras (138 lbs.)*
Ottman Azaitar (156 lbs.) vs. Teemu Packalen (156 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 10:15 a.m. ET)
Belal Muhammad (170 lbs.) vs. Takashi Sato (171 lbs.)
Muslim Salikhov (171 lbs.) vs. Nordine Taleb (170 lbs.)
Omari Akhmedov (186 lbs.) vs. Zak Cummings (185.5 lbs.)
Don Madge (155 lbs.) vs. Fares Ziam (155 lbs.)


Hello everyone and welcome to 411’s LIVE coverage of UFC 242. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for this event, relaying all of the action to you good people just as I see it. This morning the UFC is back the United Arab Emirates for the first time since 2014, and they brought a doozy of a card. The main event sees UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov try for his second title defense as he battles interim champion and surging contender Dustin Poirier. The entire main card is mostly lightweights, with one heavyweight fight because the MMA gods hate me. There’s a rematch between fan friendly strikers Edson Barboza and Paul Felder, rising contender Islam Makhachev battles grappling specialist Davi Ramos, and the perennially under appreciated Mairbek Taisumov takes on Diego Ferreira. Elsewhere on the card Andrea Lee and Joanna Calderwood battle for position around the women’s flyweight title, Muslim Salikhov battles Nordine Taleb, and that’s about it in terms of general excitement. Still, really solid main card.

UFC 242 comes to the world from The Arena, Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. On commentary we have Jon Anik and Dominick Cruz. Just the two man booth I guess. We’re under the new rules for this event as the UFC is self regulating, I imagine that means the middle definition of a grounded opponent so you’ll need both palms or fists flat on the mat. The most recent definition requires only one hand down but you need the palm or fist flat on the mat. The language around scoring is also more encouraging of 10-8’s. There will also be the use of instant replay for fight ending sequences if desired but once replay is used the fight cannot be restarted.

Also hey, I did a thing. There’s live audio alternate/watch along commentary from myself and Mark Radulich right HERE for the main card if you’re interested.

Don Madge is on a five fight winning streak that includes a successful UFC debut, now he’s looking to extend that streak and continue his winning ways inside the UFC. Fares Ziam brings a five fight winning streak into his UFC debut, he’s trying to make a memorable first impression to the UFC audience. The odds are with Madge at -180 to a +150 comeback in Ziam.

Lightweight Bout: Don Madge (8-3-1, 155 lbs.) vs. Fares Ziam (10-2, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ziam is an inch taller and has two and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Madge opens southpaw. Ziam with inside leg kicks but Madge pressures him into a clinch and they hit the fence. Madge has a body lock and is looking for trips but can’t secure one. They jockey for position along the fence while landing some knees to the thigh. Madge lands a knee to the body, and another while they keep spinning against the fence. Ziam lands a few knees to the thigh then an elbow. Madge lands a right and is after a high crotch but can’t finish it. The ref breaks them and we’re at distance. Ziam lands a front kick to the body. Madge lands a body kick and then punches into a clinch. Ziam nearly goes for a ride but an under hook prevents the full lift and grip so they’re back in the clinch. Knees go back and forth while they move along the fence. A few elbows land on both sides. They’ll remain in the clinch for the final seconds of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Madge but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Madge is back to marching forward, and punches into another clinch. They resume fighting in the clinch, knees and elbows go back and forth. They break and Ziam misses some punches. Madge lands a right hook and they clinch again. Bit of an elbow from Ziam as they clinch. Madge tries a double leg but he’s clearly not comfortable with that position too much and it’s allowing Ziam to defend without too much difficulty. Ziam lands some knees to the thigh and body. Madge with some punches to the body and head, he can get to a body lock rather consistently but can’t do much with it. Bit of an elbow from Madge and they break. Ziam with a counter right as they clinch up again. The ref breaks them after they stall out. They trade body kicks and clinch up again. Ziam pushes Madge into the fence, Madge spins him. Madge drops for a double leg, finally gets the elevation and takedown into the guard of Ziam. Madge postures up and lands a few punches then passes to half guard as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Madge, 20-18 Madge overall

ROUND THREE: Madge pressures forward again, and back into the clinch. Madge’s coaches have been telling him to use a single leg and transition from there but he’s not doing that. They trade knees to the body, Madge grabs a single leg but can’t get the go behind as the fence is blocking him so they resume in the clinch. Double leg for Madge, he gets Ziam down to his knees but Ziam wall walks. Madge can’t get the double leg and winds up again with a body lock. Madge reaches down and picks an ankle then finally gets the go behind, Ziam uses a kimura roll to force a scramble and they’re back up in the clinch again. They break of their own volition, Ziam tries punches but they’re blocked and Madge gets a double leg off of the aggression. Full guard for Ziam, Madge postures up and lands some punches and elbows. Ziam is trying to get his legs in play but it seems unrefined. Madge punches and passes to half guard, then full mount. Ziam hip escapes to half guard, Madge swings punches to the body and head as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Madge, 30-27 Madge overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Don Madge via unanimous decision (29-28., 30-27 x2)

No interview for Madge.

Omari Akhmedov hasn’t lost in his last four fights, a draw being the only blemish during that stretch, and he hasn’t lost since returning to middleweight. Akhmedov is trying to extend his winning ways and start making a move through the surprisingly deep waters at middleweight. Zak Cummings is on a two fight winning streak and also hasn’t lost since moving back to middleweight, he’s similarly trying to earn a step up in class for his next fight. The odds closed as a -115 pick ’em.

Middleweight Bout: Omari Akhmedov (18-4-1, 186 lbs.) vs. Zak Cummings (23-6, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Cummings has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Cummings fighting southpaw. Cummings showing off some stance switching now. A few inside leg kicks go back and forth. Akhmedov lands a body kick. Cummings lands a body kick. Bit of a counter right from Akhmedov, he’s struggling with the punching range so far though. Cummings lands a left hook that drops Akhmedov, he fights back up and lands a punch that gets Cummings to back off and reset. Bit of a cut under the right eye of Akhmedov, who just misses a right. Double leg from Akhmedov and a slam to get the finish to it. Half guard for Akhmedov quickly and he’s looking to land short elbows. Elbows land for Akhmedov, there’s a cut on the bridge of Cummings’ nose. Cummings tries a half guard sweep, Akhmedov gets a second shot from his knees and has him back down but this time with full guard. Cummings is able to hip escape and get back to his feet. They just circle away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-10 DRAW

ROUND TWO: Akhmedov is edging forward this round, and blocks a body kick. Bit of a right from Akhmedov lands. A right from Akhmedov off balances Cummings for a moment. Cummings lands a leg kick. Akhmedov lands a body kick, that one sounded like it hurt. Both men land inside leg kicks. Cummings avoids a right, lands a left then eats a left. Cummings eats another body kick while trying out his stance switches but isn’t finding much yet. Akhmedov avoids a left. Akhmedov lands a left hook to counter an inside leg kick. Cummings avoids a spinning back fist and they trade in close. Akhmedov grabs a clinch off of a body kick and starts landing knees as he’s got Cummings on the fence. More knees from Akhmedov. Cummings grabs a front head lock and tries to sit for a guillotine but loses the grip and Akhmedov is on top in half guard. A quick flurry of punches from Akhmedov brings the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Akhmedov, 20-19 Akhmedov overall

ROUND THREE: Both men kind of pawing with the lead hand. Cummings misses a high kick. They clash but neither man lands clean, then Cummings misses a jumping punch. Akhmedov lands an inside leg kick. Cummings eats a right but lands an uppercut. Another clash of punches, Akhmedov landed better that time. There’s bruising/swelling under the right eye of Cummings, not bad but it’s there. Cummings blocks a double leg and they clinch up in space and start trading punches to the body before they break. Akhmedov lands a jab. Bit of a left from Cummings but Akhmedov gets a double leg and has him down in half guard. A few short elbows land for Akhmedov and body shots as well. A series of punches land for Akhmedov, and time will run out in this position.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Akhmedov, 30-28 Akhmedov overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Omari Akhmedov via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Not sure Akhmedov did enough to actually win the first, but no issues with him winning. No interview for Akhmedov.

Nordine Taleb just broke a two fight losing streak earlier this year, now he’s trying for his first UFC winning streak since 2017. Muslim Salikhov has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win and is looking to prove he’s found his footing in the UFC and is ready to make a run up the division. Taleb is a slight -130 favorite to -100 for Salikhov.

Welterweight Bout: Muslim Salikhov (14-2, 171 lbs.) vs. Nordine Taleb (15-6, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Taleb is two inches taller and has four and a half inches of reach advantage. Taleb showing some stance switching early while he tries to move around for an angle of attack. Salikhov lands a leg kick. Another hard leg kick from Salikhov. Both men still just trying to get a read on each other. Salikhov lands a spinning back kick to the body. Inside leg kick from Taleb hits Salikhov in the groin so we’ve got time. Replay confirms the low blow, the ref warns Taleb but given how much motion was going on in the exchange no point deduction. Salikhov can continue and we’re back to fighting. Hard leg kick from Salikhov to counter a jab. Taleb lands a right. They trade inside leg kicks. Counter right lands for Salikhov. Taleb avoids a spinning back kick and lands a right. Salikhov blocks a high kick. Right to the body from Salikhov lands, Taleb responds with a body kick. Salikhov lands an overhand right that floors Taleb and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Muslim Salikhov via TKO, punch, at 4:26 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Salikhov for his work this morning. For our first finish of the evening we do get an interview. Salikhov answers in English, he’s pretty good at it, and says Taleb is tough and experienced but he trained hard and wants the first round finish all the time. He talks us through the finish, mentions pressure being key as Taleb doesn’t respond well to it and says the body shots set up the punch to the head. Asked about when he’d like to get back in the cage he says as soon as possible and he wants to fight a lot.

Here’s a look at the finish, Salikhov gets Taleb circling at a bad angle and finds a square target. Salikhov has also thrown a right to the body from that same upper body motion a few times and here Taleb thinks it’s coming low, note his right hand reach down to try and parry and leaves an opening for the punch to find his chin.

Belal Muhammad has gone an impressive 6-3 in the UFC since his debut in 2016, he’s coming off of a win and is trying to make his move up the division with another win here. Takashi Sato had a solid UFC debut earlier this year and is now trying to take out a durable opponent while proving his worth as a UFC level competitor. Muhammd is your heavy -370 favorite to a +290 comeback on Sato.

Welterweight Bout: Belal Muhammad (15-3, 170 lbs.) vs. Takashi Sato (15-2, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Muhammad is an inch taller while Sato has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Sato fighting southpaw. Muhammad is stalking forward, Sato showing the jab. Muhammad falls short on punches and eats a counter jab. Bit of a left hook from Muhammad. Sato misses a left uppercut but that’s a pretty good punch to get going against Muhammad. Muhammad is working a right to the body then a left hook and Sato doesn’t have a proper response yet. Sato lands a jab. Left hook from Muhammad staggers Sato, Sato fires back and that gets Muhammad to force a clinch. Muhammad gets the back standing, hits a mat return but Sato is back up and separated. Sato lands a few jabs. Sato avoids a left hook. Muhammad lands a left hook then eats a couple of jabs. Clinch from Muhammad, he gets the rear waist lock again. Sato is fighting the hands and breaks the grip then separates. Double leg from Muhammad, he gets it and then moves to the back as Sato tries to regain his feet. Body triangle for Muhammad and he’s trying to punch and open up choke options. There’s short time, so Muhammad lands a few elbows to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Muhammad

ROUND TWO: Muhammad is back to pressuring forward, Sato lands a straight left. Sato avoids a takedown attempt and lands a couple of jabs. More jabs from Sato, Muhammad responds with a right to the body then a left hook. Muhammad lands the left hook again, tries a single leg and gets he back standing then winds up in the clinch. Sato with a throw and they scramble back to distance. Muhammad is breathing a little heavy now. Sato is the one coming forward now, he avoids some punches and lands a jab. Muhammad shoots a double leg again, winds up holding a rear waist lock, Sato turns into him and eats an elbow on the break. They trade power hand punches then Sato lands a jab. Sato lands a straight left, then one to the body but Muhammad lands a right. Muhammad’s left eye is swelling a bit from all the jabs he’s eaten. Sato gets a body lock takedown into side control. Elbows from Sato, and a few knees to the body. That position is where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Muhammad but a much closer one, 20-18 Muhammad overall

ROUND THREE: Muhammad coming forward but walking into lefts to the body from Sato. Muhammad misses a few punches, they clashed heads I think and Sato is cut because of it. Sato is back to jabbing and avoiding the power hooks. The cut on Sato is on the cheek so not much of an issue. Muhammad tries a high kick that’s blocked, then shoots a double leg that winds up stalled on the fence then they break. Muhammad lands a right. Single leg from Muhammad, he gets the back in transition and has a body lock. Muhammad is after the choke, Sato hand fighting but Muhammad swaps the choking arm and gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Belal Muhammad via Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:55 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Muhammad for his work this morning. Mic time for Muhammad, he loves Abu Dhabi, feels like he had to put on a show for the fans and then puts over God. He talks us through the finish and jokes that he wants to go eat. He thanks the fans for all their love and support. Asked for who he’d like next, he wants Li Jingliang which makes sense for both fighters.

Here’s a look at the finish. Sato fights the hands well to start with, but he doesn’t guard his neck as Muhammad switches the choking arm, goes palm to palm and forces the submission. Nice finish for Muhammad.

That’s it for Fight Pass prelims, the next portion are both on FX and ESPN+ I think.

Ottoman Azaitar is undefeated coming into his UFC debut, he’s looking to remain that way after this fight and get that all important first UFC win. Teemu Packalen has been out of action since 2017 dealing with a knee injury he suffered in that loss to Marc Diakiese, but now he’s well enough to resume fighting and is hoping to get back on the winning side of things. Azaitar is the favorite at -200 to a +170 comeback on Packalen.

Welterweight Bout: Ottman Azaitar (11-0, 156 lbs.) vs. Teemu Packalen (8-2, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Packalen is five inches taller and has four and a half inches of reach on Azaitar. They touch gloves to get us going. Azaitar starts out circling. They trade some jabs then Packalen avoids a looping right. Right lands for Azaitar then a leg kick. Azaitar lands a right but Packalen just eats it, they clinch and trade punches but Azaitar is out working and seems to have more power in his punches. More rights from Azaitar, Packalen is just on the fence now trying to get space. They clinch, Packalen lands a knee as they break. Azaitar with body to head punches, Packalen slips to his back for a second but is back up. Azaitar whiffs on a left hook. Packalen tries a single leg, Azaitar limp legs free. One final right from Azaitar gets Packalen to basically Flair Flop and that’s it for the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ottman Azaitar via KO, punch, at 3:33 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Azaitar for his work this morning. Mic time for Azaitar, he starts with Arabic then translates for himself saying his brother was more nervous than he was. He says he wanted to go for 15 minutes but he got the knockout early. He talks us through the finish and seems surprised by his own work, mentions his left hand was hurt in the fight and had to throw his right with everything. He thanks the UFC, his home country, family, and coaches for their work. To close he asks for a post fight bonus.

Not much technique to talk about here, Packalen makes a bad read in terms of using the lead hand uppercut and Azaitar makes him pay for it. Scary KO.

The UFC announces the main event for UFC 244, Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz. One of the few non-title fight main events the UFC puts on but deserving of that spot.

Sara Moras has gone 2-4 in the UFC and is on a three fight losing streak, she also missed weight for this fight and if you add a fourth consecutive loss to the weight gaff it’s almost certain to spell the end of her UFC tenure. Liana Jojua is making her UFC debut on the back of a five fight winning streak, she’s trying to make an immediate impression on the audience and prove herself one of the brighter prospects the division has right now. The odds are with Jojua at -170 to +140 for Moras.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Liana Jojua (7-2, 134.5 lbs.) vs. Sarah Moras (5-5, 138 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moras is three inches taller and has five inches of reach advantage. Moras looking to jab and close distance, Jojua lands a leg kick. Jojua keeps jabbing and circling, she looks a full weight class smaller than Moras. Moras lands a left then a right. Leg kick from Moras but she eats a counter right. Bit of a right from Jojua but Moras pushes into a clinch on the fence. Some knees from Moras to the thigh. Moras with more knees and dirty boxing, Jojua is kind of stuck here unable to make distance. The ref winds up breaking them, Moras comes forward and they brawl a bit before Moras gets another clinch. Jojua looks stuck in first gear while Moras is doing what she normally does. That clinch is where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Moras, near 10-8

ROUND TWO: Moras is still stalking forward, Jojua has some swelling around her left eye. Jojua lands a right. Left hook lands for Jojua and they clinch up again. Moras lands a knee and gets Jojua to the fence. More knees from Moras, Jojua doesn’t seem to know what to do to disengage here. Moras moves to the back standing, tries to jump for it but winds up slipping and Jojua lands on top in full guard. Elbows from Moras as she’s working her guard up high, she tries for an armbar but doesn’t have the angle to finish it. Jojua lands an elbow and a couple of punches. Moras kicks Jojua over and gets on top in full guard. Elbow lands for Moras. Both women land a few strikes but things are stalling out as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Moras, 20-18 Moras overall

ROUND THREE: Moras stalks forward again, Jojua gets a takedown into her guard. High guard for Moras, Jojua postures through it. Not much happens, Moras is able to force a stand up. Jojua shoots again, badly this time and Moras smothers it then gets on top in full mount. Elbows from Moras as she rides from mount to back mount laying in offense at every opportunity. The ref has seen enough of this and stops the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sara Moras via TKO, elbows, at 2:26 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Moras for her work this morning. Jojua just didn’t look like a UFC caliber fighter, at all. Mic time for Moras, she says she feels like she won a fight. She feels like she got back to being in her groove for this fight.

Zubaira Tukhugov just had a nine fight winning streak, including three in the UFC, snapped when he dropped a split decision to Renato Moicano, he’s been out of action since 2016 though due to some USADA issues and his involvement in the UFC 229 post fight melee. Now Tukhugov is trying to put that behind him and get back on the winning track. Lerone Murphy is undefeated coming into his UFC debut, and he could make a quick impact by taking out a recognized prospect. Tukhugov is the -400 favorite to a +310 comeback on Murphy

Featherweight Bout: Lerone Murphy (8-0, 146 lbs.) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Murphy is an inch taller and has five and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Tukhugov is stalking forward, Murphy circling looking to stay long. Murphy lands a calf kick. Some stance switching from Murphy now, he’s getting his flow working. Tukhugov misses a right. Bit of a right from Tukhugov. Tukhugov lands a left hook that clips Murphy, Murphy fights back up but eats more punches along the way as they’re clinched. Double leg from Tukhugov and he’s looking to tee off as Murphy tries to set up a wall walk. Tukhugov keeps mounting the ankles or knees for Murphy to help keep him seated on the fence. Murphy is able to wall walk but gets taken back down, this time away from the cage. Tukhugov moves to half guard, he’s doing a good job of stripping posting limbs from Murphy and keeping him down in open space. Full guard for Murphy, Tukhugov lands a right. Murphy scoots all the way to the fence and looks to set up another wall walk. Murphy grabs a kimura to force a scramble but Tukhugov stays on top as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tukhugov, might be a 10-8 argument in there

ROUND TWO: Both men still moving well, Murphy lands a jab. Bit of a right from Murphy. Murphy lands a leg kick. Tukhugov misses a couple of punches then Murphy lands two body kicks. Murphy lands a straight right. Double leg from Tukhugov to counter a body kick, Murphy scoots to the fence quickly. There’s a guillotine attempt from Murphy, he gets it and sweeps to mount with it but Tukhugov gets his head free and picks a single leg to stay on top. Wall walk from Murphy, Tukhugov keeps the clinch. Murphy wall walks but can’t get free yet. They separate, Tukhugov looks more fatigued at this point. Forward pressure from Murphy, lands a straight right. Uppercut from Murphy lands and they clinch up again. They break without incident. Body kicks from Murphy the one to the head that’s blocked. Tukhugov dives for a double leg that stalls out on the fence, he hits a duck under and winds up on top in the guard of Murphy. Murphy firing elbows from his back while Tukhugov is just kind of holding on. They hit the fence, and that’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Murphy, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Both men showing the jab this round. Murphy lands a left. Body kick from Murphy, Tukhugov thinks it was low but the ref doesn’t halt the action. Tukhugov with a bad takedown attempt and Murphy defends. Body kick from Murphy. Murphy lands a left, Tukhugov dives into a clinch and drives him to the fence. Tukhugov is after a double leg, switches towards a high crotch but Murphy is defending this time around. Tukhugov can’t finish the single leg and Murphy spins free. Tukhugov catches a kick and takes Murphy down, this time landing in side control in open space. Murphy rolls to his knees and Tukhugov gets the ride position, Murphy granby rolls back to full guard. Tukhugov passes towards half guard, gets the ride position again as Murphy gets to his knees. Murphy fights to his feet, Tukhugov drives him to the fence again and is after another takedown. Tukhugov can’t finish the double leg, switches his side and gets it against the cage. Murphy wall walks easier this time and tries to get free, he lands a knee and my feed stutters as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tukhugov but that’s probably wrong, 29-28 Tukhugov overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: DRAW, split (28-29, 29-28, 28-28)

I can see that, Tukhugov might have gotten a 10-8 first and dropped the second two rounds. No issues with the decision. No interview for either party.

Joanne Calderwood (13-4) looked to have found her footing after returning to flyweight but dropped a decision in her last fight, now she’s trying to avoid another losing streak and prove she could be the next contender at flyweight. Andrea Lee (11-2) hasn’t lost since 2016, she’s on a seven fight winning streak that includes three wins in the UFC. Lee is likewise trying to stake her claim to a possible title shot in the immediate with another win here. Lee is the -250 favorite while a Calderwood win would pay out at +200.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #5 Joanne Calderwood (13-4, 126 lbs.) vs. #6 Andrea Lee (11-2, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Lee has four inches of reach advantage. Both women come out jabbing, Lee mixes in a few leg kicks. Calderwood showing a few stance switches, she eats a one two off of a leg kick. Both women landing leg kicks, Calderwood is the busier party thus far. Jabs from Lee then a body kick. Lee with a bit of a left hook. A couple of body shots land for Lee. Calderwood lands a leg kick and continues pushing forward. Calderwood is bleeding from the nose already. Lee digs the body a few more times. A couple more body punches from Lee, Calderwood lands a knee. Calderwood lands a body kick. Lee with an inside leg kick that’s caught and Calderwood gets a takedown. Lee wall walks immediately and they trade elbows but Calderwood landed better and Lee is cut around the left eyebrow. Lee catches a kick and gets Calderwood down in open space. Calderwood has butterfly guard but Lee moves around and passes to side control. Lee goes to knee on belly, Calderwood gets half guard but is eating elbows to the head. Lee keeps dominant position and lands blows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lee

ROUND TWO: Calderwood misses a kick to start the round. There’s no cut on Lee’s eyebrow, just really swollen and discolored. Lee avoids a rush and gets a clinch then drives Calderwood into the fence. Knees from Lee to the body and thigh then they break. Calderwood pushes forward, lands a knee then they trade kicks. Lee grabs a single leg and gets Calderwood down. Lee looks to mount the legs, Calderwood is trying to scoot herself to the fence. They reach the fence, Lee turns Calderwood off of it and lands some lefts. Calderwood is on her knees but has no real posture or frame, Lee moves to the ride position and knees the body. Lefts from Lee, Calderwood is back up but Lee still has a rear waist lock. They wind up chest to chest, Calderwood is able to get a frame and force the separation. Both women trade then Calderwood forces a clinch. They hit the fence and trade knees and elbows from a Thai clinch before Lee pulls free. Calderwood gets a takedown along the fence, Lee looks to wall walk immediately. The round will end as they regain their feet and Lee lands a body kick.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lee but a closer one, 20-18 Lee overall

ROUND THREE: Calderwood comes out looking to establish her jab, and they trade some lead leg kicks. Lee avoids a right and clinches, lands a punch and they break. Lee has abandoned her body work, kind of a shame as those were her best bits of offense in the first round. Calderwood lands a leg kick and eats a jab. Lee lands a right. Bit of a right from Calderwood to counter a body shot. Lee lands a couple more body shots. Lee lands a couple of body shots again and lands a side kick to the body. Calderwood comes forward now, lands a front kick to the body. Lee lands a one two. They clinch again and Lee drives Calderwood to the fence. Knees to the body from Lee, Calderwood lands an elbow but eats a body kick as they break. Single leg attempt from lee and she’s got Calderwood down near the fence, Calderwood to her knees and Lee jumps on her back without hooks. Calderwood is after the single leg now, switching towards a double leg but Lee is defending. Lee breaks the grip and lands a knee as they fight in the clinch. Calderwood winds up back on the fence, then they break without issue. Calderwood avoids a takedown attempt. Lee reaches for a takedown but Calderwood avoids it, they clinch and Calderwood gets a trip, Lee scrambles back up and they trade in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lee but a close fight overall, 30-27 Lee overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Joanne Calderwood via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

I do not at all agree with 30-27 for Calderwood, but the second and third rounds were close enough that I’m not complaining about the winner. Mic time for Calderwood, she notes how hot it is in the cage. She is annoyed that she couldn’t get a finish but felt good about the performance and appreciated the fight with Lee. Asked who’s next for her she’s just grateful to be this active and feels if she’s not fighting for the belt next then at least a clear cut number one contenders fight.

That will do it for prelims, on to PPV for the main card.

Mairbek Taisumov is on a six fight winning streak with five finishes, he’s trying to prove himself a rising contender in a very stacked division and if he can get to seven in a row at lightweight he’ll be nearly undeniable in terms of a higher profile opponent for his next fight. Carlos Diego Ferreira is on a four fight winning streak, he’s also trying to prove himself deserving of a step up in competition next. Taisumov enjoys favored status at -280 to a +230 payout on Ferreira.

Lightweight Bout: Diego Ferreira (15-2, 156 lbs.) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (27-5, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Ferreira has an inch of reach on Taisumov. They touch gloves to get us going, Ferreira showing stance switching early. Bit of a leg kick from Taisumov. Hard leg kick from Taisumov. Front kick to the body from Taisumov. Taisumov lands an uppercut and he avoids the offense from Ferreira. Ferreira drops for a second from a leg kick but he regains his feet before anything happens. Taisumov wobbles Ferreira with a right and looks to follow up but Ferreira recovers quickly. Another right lands for Taisumov. Ferreira misses a side kick to the face. Taisumov lands another straight right. Ferreira misses a few punches and eats a leg kick. Bit of a step through one two from Ferreira. They both can’t quite find the target as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Taisumov

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Ferreira lands a front kick to the hip then they both swing in the pocket. Glancing head kick from Ferreira then a right that lands. Ferreira lands a right, and pushes into a clinch. Taisumov lands a judo throw, Ferreira bounces back up but lands a bit of a headbutt and the ref breaks them up. One two from Ferreira, he’s getting to the target more this round. Taisumov lands an uppercut and a couple of follow ups but Ferreira is still walking him down. Ferreira lands another couple of punches, he’s coming forward without hesitation at this point. They trade rights, then both men fail on takedown attempts. Ferreira with front kicks to the body, Taisumov looks to be fading a bit. There’s a cut on the left eye of Ferreira as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ferreira, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Forward pressure from Ferreira, he eats a body kick but is looking to tee off early. Ferreira lands a left to the body, he’s really getting to Taisumov. Double leg from Ferreira is stuffed but he lands a couple of elbows. More punches from Ferreira, Taisumov’s defense has gone away at this point. Taisumov is basically in zombie mode, Ferreira is walking him down and clobbering him. Right from Ferreira, Taisumov is bleeding from the bridge of the nose. Both men punch but Ferreira is still just working him over. Body shots from Ferreira along the fence, he’s looking for the finish but Taisumov is hanging tough. Head kick from Ferreira. Taisumov is trying to make a fight of it for the last ten seconds but Ferreira still gets the best of it as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ferreira, borderline 10-8, 29-28 Ferreira overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Carlos Diego Ferreira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27 x2)

No issues with Ferreira getting a 10-8 third. Mic time for Ferreira, he thanks hid team and Abu Dhabi he’s glad with the fight and hopes the fans liked it. He says this was the fight he expected and that he felt good during the fight, reiterates that he’s glad he could put on a show. Asked who he’d like next he has no answer but defers to the match makers.

Curtis Blaydes has only ever lost to Francis Ngannou, and while one of those losses was rather recent he’s trying to build another body of work to get himself back into the title picture. Shamil Abdurakhimov is on a three fight winning streak, he’s trying to earn a step up in class with a fourth win and take another shot at the top of the division. Blaydes is the biggest favorite on the card at -550 while the +375 payout on Abdurakhimov must tempt a few long shot style bettors.

Heavyweight Bout: #9 Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4, 257 lbs.) vs. #5 Curtis Blaydes (11-2 1 NC, 251 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Balydes is an inch taller and has four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Blaydes almost immediately shoots a double leg against the fence. Abdurakhimov to his knees looking to wall walk, Blaydes moves to the ride position as Abdurakhimov regains his feet then hits a mat return into side control. Abdurakhimov to his knees along the fence and forces a separation. They’re at distance, they bounce the Blaydes gets a takedown along the fence. Blaydes back to the ride position landing some lefts towards the head. Abdurakhimov is looking to wall walk, Blaydes with knees to the thigh. They’re upright, Blaydes with a mat return and has the ride position again. Blaydes to full mount and tees off as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Blaydes

ROUND TWO: Blaydes with a quick double leg against the fence and Abdurakhimov is down again. Side control for Blaydes, Abdurakhimov gets half guard again. Blaydes winds up in the ride position, landing punches until Abdurakhimov pulls half guard. Elbows from Blaydes, one of those breaks the nose of Abdurakhimov and that will lead to the stoppage as he wants out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Curtis Blaydes via TKO, elbows, at 2:22 of Round 2

Mic time for Blaydes, he says he had the better wrestling and conditioning and showed off all the hard work here. Asked about the heat he just says he could do that for five rounds. He talks us through the finish, then says he wants to fight again before the end of the year.

A few highlights, including the elbow to the nose that ended the fight.

Islam Makhachev is on a five fight winning streak, he’s looking to extend that here and start making his way further up the ranks at lightweight. Davi Ramos is on a four fight winning streak and is looking for the biggest win of his career to date, and possibly cracking the rankings in his own right. The odds are with Makhachev at -360 while Ramos’ comeback sits at +280.

Lightweight Bout: #15 Islam Makhachev (17-1, 155 lbs.) vs. Davi Ramos (10-2, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Makhachev is four inches taller but has just one inch of reach on Ramos. Southpaw for Makhachev, both men circling early. A few jabs from both men, still just circling and waiting. Ramos eats a punch and avoids a single leg attempt. Lots of staring. Bit of an inside leg kick from Makhachev, then an uppercut and a left. Long left to the body from Makhachev lands. Makhachev lands a body kick. Ramos misses a right. And more staring will close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Makhachev

ROUND TWO: Ramos seems to have finally woken up and actually starts throwing punches at Makhachev after eating a left. They tie up on the fence after that flurry, Makhachev blocks a takedown and they resume clinching. Both men land knees to the body then they break with a couple of punches from Makhachev. Makhachev lands a body kick. Bit of a one two from Makhachev, once things settle down he’s keeping a decent pace and is troubling Ramos. Makhachev lands a straight left. Ramos lands a stiff jab that stumbles Makhachev for a second. Makhachev back to landing straight lefts. More one twos from Makhachev, Ramos is firing only one at a time and missing more often than not. Makhachev keeps landing the straight left and Ramos isn’t really adjusting to it. They stare away the final bit of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Makhachev, 20-18 Makhachev overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Makhachev with a right uppercut then a left. Ramos bulls close but eats a knee I think and is down, Makhachev swarms him on the mat against the fence but Ramos is able to close up his guard. Elbows from Makhachev, Ramos is trying to tie up his left arm but Makhachev gets it free and punches him. Ramos keeps trying to get his hips in play but Makhachev is following them and punching him at every opportunity. Makhachev moves towards half guard, Ramos stops that but eats more punches. Ramos uses the fence to try and get an angle on an armbar but can’t get around to lock it up. Makhachev stifles his motion and continues landing offense. Brief flurry from Makhachev, he lat’s Ramos up who misses a cartwheel kick on the way and time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Makhachev, 30-26 Makhachev overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Islam Makhachev via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 x2)

Not sure but I guess you could give Ramos the first? Or second? I don’t know, that seems wrong. Mic time for Makhachev, he puts over Ramos and plays a bit with the crowd. He thanks everyone for coming out, he says this was the fight he expected and again puts over Ramos. He indicates he’d like the winner of Felder vs. Barboza, I’m OK with that fight. He switches to Russian to close that goes untranslated, I know he said that at the end of the night Khabib will still be champion.

Edson Barboza has been a fan favorite for a while, but he’s just 1-3 in his last four fights. The level of opposition somewhat mitigates that streak as the losses are to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kevin Lee, and Justin Gaethje, but it’s still not a good stretch to be on. Barboza is trying to avoid another losing streak and give fans another memorable performance. Paul Felder has gone 4-1 in his last five fights, he’s trying for one of the bigger wins of his career if he can take out Barboza and position himself higher in the division. This is a rematch from 2015 when Barboza bested Felder via decision. Barboza is your -150 favorite to a +120 payout for Felder.

Lightweight Bout: #7 Edson Barboza (20-7, 155.5 lbs.) vs. #10 Paul Felder (16-4, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Barboza has four and a half inches of reach on Felder. They touch gloves to get us going. Bit of a leg kick from Barboza, Felder tries to counter with a spinning back fist. They trade some punches, Felder backs Barboza towards the fence then clinch up. Knees from Felder before Barboza spins free. Felder lands a left to the body but eats a counter left hook. Leg kicks from Barboza are starting to add up, they clinch up then break. Barboza lands a couple of body kicks, Felder is bleeding around the hairline I think. I think they clashed heads and the doctor is in to check Felder’s vision, he’s good to continue and we’re back to fighting. Both men are firing punches but Barboza’s hands are faster and that’s making a big difference thus far. Barboza is doing a good job of firing punches and avoiding getting backed into the fence. Felder with a bit of a two one, but eats a left hook. Barboza avoids an elbow as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barboza

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Leg kicks from Barboza then a left body kick. Jabs from Barboza and he avoids an elbow. Barboza lands a spinning back kick to the body. Left to the body then a leg kick from Barboza. Double leg from Barboza, that might be a first. Elbows from Felder off of his back. Felder with more elbows, he tries an armbar but Barboza is able to stand and slip free. They reset on the feet, Felder with a bit of a right. Leg kicks go back and forth but Barboza is getting the better of them. Felder pushes to a clinch, looks for a single leg but Barboza limp legs free and lands a left body kick. Bit of an elbow from Felder but he’s struggling to find sustained success. Felder shoots a single leg, that stalls out on the fence and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barboza, 20-18 Barboza overall

ROUND THREE: They hug as the round starts. Leg kicks from Barboza, then a left hook. Felder is coming forward again, lands a couple of punches. Barboza is fading at this point, but lands a left body kick. Felder lands a right, he’s getting closer in the pocket this round and is fiding more punches because of it. They trade punches, then trade leg kicks. Barboza lands a knee to the body. They trade jabs. Felder lands a couple of lefts, he’s landing more this round but Barboza is still moving well enough. Another clinch from Felder and he’s got Barboza on the fence. Knee from Barboza and he slips free of the clinch. Left then a right from Felder, and he stops a Barboza takedown and they clinch. Both men jockey for position, Barboza gets the back and hits a mat return, Felder boucnes back up and time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Felder, 29-28 Barboza overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Paul Felder via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 30-27)

Engaging fight from those two, as expected. That said I don’t agree with the decision, not sure how Felder got either of the first two much less all three. I don’t think Barboza won the third either. Clucky is confirmed to be in Abu Dhabi, that is some bogus scoring. Mic time for Felder, he notes the heat in the arena and puts over Barboza, he wishes his mother Happy Birthday and says this was the hardest weight cut of his career and tells the top five they can’t run from him anymore. Felder puts over his coaches again and notes Barboza hurt him to the body a few times but he gutted through and kept coming.

Dustin Poirier has only lost once since returning to lightweight, he’s not lost since 2016 and his current winning streak includes Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, and featherweight king Max Holloway. Poirier is looking to become the undisputed lightweight champion here and start his own reign atop the toughest division in the sport. Khabib Nurmagomedov is undefeated as a professional that includes winning and defending the lightweight title, he’s trying for his second title defense here as well as climbing towards status as one of the best to ever fight in the UFC. The odds are heavily with Nurmagomedov at -500 to a +350 comeback on Poirier.

Lightweight Title Bout: (c) Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0, 155 lbs.) vs. (ic) Dustin Poirier (25-5 1 NC, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nurmagomedov is an inch taller while Poirier has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Poirier, who opens with a low leg kick. Nurmagomedov is backing Poirier towards the fence. Nurmagomedov punches into a single leg and gets Poirier on the fence. Trip from Nurmagomedov, he gets the ride position and starts landing knees to the thigh. Poirier tries to spin but winds up giving his back. Nurmagomedov on a hip and moving between back mount and full mount. There’s a bit of a choke attempt from Nurmagomedov but he’s not under the chin and instead decides to land punches. More punches and choke attempts from Nurmagomedov but Poirier is defending the choke attempts so far. Poirier is back up in the clinch, Nurmagomedov drives him back down and lands a couple of lefts. Nurmagomedov back up, Poirier looks for a switch but Nurmagomedov moves to mount the legs against the fence. Punches from Nurmagomedov and elbows as the round ends. Poirier likely saved by the bell there.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Nurmagomedov

ROUND TWO: Poirier lands a leg kick and avoids a jumping knee. Poirier lands a stepping left that wobbles Nurmagomedov for a second but Nurmagomedov circles and regains himself. Nurmagomedov blocks a body kick and Poirier is hurt on his left leg from that check. Nurmagomedov gets a takedown into side control. A few blows land for Nurmagomedov, Poirier is trying to shrimp under for a single leg, Nurmagomedov pushes him back over. Poirier moves to a sitting position against the fence, Nurmagomedov lands body shots and uppercuts while mounting the leg. Poirier now looks to wall walk, he’s bleeding around the left eye. Nurmagomedov keeps close to him and gets him down to his hands and feet again. Poirier is getting mauled a bit. Front headlock from Poirier, Nurmagomedov breaks free then re-enters the clinch. More knees to the thigh from Nurmagomedov, that left leg from Poirier is still a little jacked up. A few more punches from Nurmagomedov, then a knee to the face. That will end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nurmagomedov, 20-17 Nurmagomedov overall

ROUND THREE: Poirier opens up with a kick that’s checked. Poirier isn’t steady on that left leg. Nurmagomedov shoots and Poirier sells out for a guillotine attempt but the arm is in. There’s not much on that guillotine and Nurmagomedov gets his head out and moves to the back again. Nurmagomedov is after the choke or damage, he’ll do either depending on what Poirier gives him. Nurmagomedov gets the arm under the chin, locks up the choke and Poirier has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Lightweight Champion – Khabib Nurmagomedov via Submission, rear naked choke, 2:06 of Round 3

Poirier and Nurmagomedov are wearing each others shirts. Nice touch of sportsmanship. Mic time for Nurmagomedov, he gives glory to God first and foremost as he usually does then says he doesn’t know why he’s so blessed. He calls over his father and thanks him, thanks his coaches, other family members and takes great pride in his family and friends. He thanks everyone again, and puts over Poirier for all of his charitable work and promises to donate to his organizations. Next he says he wants to forget the drama and is proud to show the respect side of MMA this time and that this what the sport is truly about and puts over Poirier again. He switches to Russian that doesn’t get translated. He lets his coach Javier Mendez talk, who says he followed the game plan of his father Abdulmanap. Asked about what’s next, he says he wants a brief break but Tony Ferguson is the deserving contender.

Poirier on the mic now, he says he knew he’d be on the fence a lot but feels like he just let himself down. He worked his whole career for this moment and never cut a single corner, he’s emotional, and feels he could have done more. He notes he’ll have to see himself in the mirror and live with this, he feels his adversity has taught him to be grateful for success and graceful when things don’t go his way and apologizes to anyone he let down.

Here’s the finish. Poirier just gets worn down, Nurmagomedov keeps his pressure up and Poirier loses concentration for just a second and exposes his neck. Nice technique from Nurmagomedov.

That will wrap UFC 242. Exceptional performance from Nurmagomedov, and Ferguson should be next by all rights so I look forward to something happening to derail that again. Next Saturday will be UFC on ESPN+ 16 and the violence fest that will be Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje is your main event. I can’t wait for that. We’ll be breaking down all of the action from this card and previewing that event Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast. I’ll be back next Saturday for that event, I hope you’ll be here as well. Until then thanks again for reading, I don’t know what I did to get the support but hope to earn it one day, stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC 242, Robert Winfree