The main event of UFC 254 was arguably the most anticipated fight of 2020. The undisputed and undefeated lightweight king, Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0), was set to defend his title against the interim champion, Justin Gaethje (22-2).
Nobody has been able to solve the puzzle that is Khabib Nurmagomedov. His dominance in the UFC is something that’s virtually unheard of. However, Justin Gaethje was looked at as the most dangerous challenger given his style.
As the UFC 254 main event got underway, Gaethje opened up with a leg kick. Both men looked very tentative in the first minute of the fight. A leg kick got the action going in the second minute. Both fighters exchanged good right hands but neither did serious damage.
Khabib appeared to be trying to time the takedown early on. Khabib really started to pressure halfway through the first round. However, Gaethje was going a good job of landing good shots. A big knee from Khabib caught Gaethje’s attention.
Khabib’s pressure appeared to be tiring Gaethje a little in the first. However, Gaethje landed a couple of really clean shots. Khabib shoots in for his first big takedown attempt and lands it just before the first round ends. Good opening round for the UFC champion.
As the second round opened, Khabib went right back to the pressure. Gaethje landed a good left hook to start the striking. However, Khabib walked right through it. Nurmagomedov shoots in for a takedown and he’s able to land it.
Khabib immediately starts to look to set up a triangle choke on Gaethje. He locks it in and it’s tight. Gaethje taps, but the referee doesn’t see it. Khabib puts Gaethje to sleep and the UFC lightweight king remains unbeaten.
What’s next after UFC 254
The most dangerous challenger in the UFC for Khabib Nurmagomedov was supposed to be Justin Gaethje. However, Khabib completely walked through Gaethje just like he’s walked through all 28 of his previous opponents.
For Khabib, there’s not much left to prove in the lightweight division. I think that the UFC should really try to book the GSP fight because there’s not a ton left for Khabib to prove in the lightweight division.
However, Nurmagomedov announced in the post-fight interview that he was walking away from the sport. With nothing left to prove, he was ready to walk away from the sport at a perfect 29-0.
For Justin Gaethje, this is a pretty disappointing performance, but there’s no shame in him losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov. This will not be the last time that Justin Gaethje fights for the UFC lightweight championship.