In what now appears to be the final fight in his professional career, lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov earned a Performance of the Night award at UFC 254.
“The Eagle” put on another strong showing in the main event of the Abu Dhabi card. Ate some seriously nasty leg kicks from challenger (and interim champ) Justin Gaethje. But the UFC’s undisputed lightweight champion would not be deterred. Regrouping in the second round, he took Gaethje down, like he has done to so many others, so many times before. This time, it was a triangle choke that sealed the deal.
While Gaethje did tap, the ref never saw it, and the challenger wound up out cold.
With the win, Khabib picked up a $50,000 bonus, improved to 29-0, and retired. So long, GSP super-fight. Forget it, McGregor, Poirier, and Ferguson.
The other Performance of the Night bonus at UFC 254 went to Magomed Ankalaev, who knocked out Ion Cutelaba. It was a rematch of their February fight from back at UFC Norfolk, which Anklaev also won, after a controversial call by the ref to wave of the fight while Cutelaba was still swinging.
There was no such controversy this time, however.
Fight of the Night at the final event of October’s Fight Island stint went to Casey Kenney and Nathanial Wood.
The UFC now returns to Las Vegas, with UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Hall scheduled for Halloween.