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Khabib bests Dustin to maintain UFC supremacy in Abu Dhabi

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Defending champ Khabib made it 28-0 as he made interim belt-holder Dustin tap out.

Khabib Nurmagomedov clinched the lightweight title and kept his unbeaten run intact with dominant victory over Dustin Poirier in the UFC 242 held in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Defending champ Khabib made it 28-0 as he made interim belt-holder Dustin tap out to become the undisputed champion at the end of the Fight Night.

In a high-octane match inside the Octagon, the first of five rounds saw the Russian 'Eagle' trap Dustin in a corner and try a submission move with his trademark neck crank but the American escaped. The next round was an all-out open attack from Dustin and punches-for-punches flew. But soon Khabib, the grappler, got to work and pinned Dustin down. Third round saw Dustin choke Khabib. But in a swift role reversal, the Russian deployed a strong neck lock and Dustin tapped out.

"I thank everyone. I thank my father, brothers, who are with me throughout. We show what real MMA is," he said after his astounding victory. "Last two years was too much pressure on me. Now I want to rest for few days."

The second encounter of the Fight Night, touted as a revenge match, lived up to its billing as 'Irish Dragon' Paul Felder drew level with Edson 'Junior' Barboza. In a no-holds barred bout, with blow for blow, kick for kick, flashy back fists Barboza drew first blood. However, Felder returned with more purpose. Explosive strikers, with bloodied faces, went the distance and Felder prevailed in split decision.

"Edson is the biggest stud. This fight could have one either way. I am here to fight the best or I will become a commentator or an actor. I was able to work through him. This is the way how I will move to the top," Felder said challenging the top names.

In another anticipated lightweight clash, Islam Makhachev thumped Davi Ramos. However, both contenders made cautious starts, each waiting to capitalise on the other's slip. After two dowdy rounds, Islam in a swift move bundled Ramos to a corner and rained punches on him. The Brazilian failed to find a way out of the Dagestani's stranglehold and handed him his eighteenth career win and sixth consecutive one. "He was a very tough opponent. I am very happy to win this fight in Abu Dhabi. I am ready for Edson Barboza. I tried to control the first round and did it in the final one," said Makhachev after his unanimous decision victory.

The only heavyweight action of the day was sheer display of ruthlessness. Curtis Blaydes showed no mercy to his 10-years older opponent Shamil Abdurakhimov. After the initial exchange of blows, 28-year-old Curtis 'Razor' Blaydes dominated Abdurakhimov from Dagestan. Blades busted open Abdurakhimov with a flurry of punches to floor him in technical knockout.

"It feels really good to get the win and I'm really excited to go for the next one. The fight was exactly how we predicted it might happen; how to hold him, get him on the ground, takedowns, everything. We now got to wait and see what happens next, but I am ready for anything, anyone," Blaydes said.

The first of the main card was a lightweight fight between 34-year-old Brazilian Diego Ferreira and three years younger but experienced Mairbek Taisumov from Russia. Ferreira threw a good mix of boxing and jiu-jitsu on Taisumov. There was a powerful right punch that unsettled the Russian and gave the upper hand to Ferreira, who was unanimously picked as the winner.

"This win is thanks to my team. Abu Dhabi, this is best of all my skills. I feel great to put up a good show. I will keep training hard," he said.

It was a spectacular 13 bouts fought inside the Arena in Abu Dhabi with sportsman spirit and respect. And the good thing is there is more to come.

 /  Source: KhaleejTimes