Jared Gooden had a rough day at the scales on Friday — although he did make weight for his welterweight fight at UFC 260. Still, after using his extra hour to complete the cut down to 171lb, and weighing in with a barrier, how would Gooden look in his fight with Abubakar Nurmagomedov?
One thing was clear from the outset: Gooden did his homework. Not that there was a big secret to Abubakar’s game plan. The Nurmagomedov name being synonymous with wrestling, Gooden had his hands low, ready to defend. That created an opening for Nurmagomedov’s jab, but Gooden found success with his hands as well.
A Nurmagomedov eye poke then paused the action, giving Gooden a moment to recover. On the restart, Gooden began employing some feints, but it was Nurmagomedov clipping and then rocking Gooden with a jab/cross combination. Gooden appeared hurt, but managed to recover. Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, was showing some tight, accurate striking, mixing in the odd kick.
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Round two saw a similar standup battle unfold. Gooden might have found some confidence by keeping the fight on the feet. But he wasn’t finding a home for his attacks, with Nurmagomedov rarely there to be hit. On the flip side, Abubakar was connecting with his jab, and with a kick to the midsection. As much as Gooden keeping the fight upright was a small victory for the American, Dagestan’s Nurmagomedov had a win of his own by dominating the stand-up battle.
A head kick, and a body kick, opened up round three for Nurmagomedov. Gooden survived, but moments later, was briefly taken down for the first time in the fight. Gooden got right back up, but ate an uppercut. Nurmagomedov then landed a takedown, with Gooden defending via guillotine. When that failed, Gooden fired elbows from his back. One after another after another. While the halted Nurmagomedov’s progress, Gooden was unable to escape. Eventually, Abubakar moved to half-guard. Gooden trapped a leg, keeping him from the mount, but precious seconds were ticking down. Nurmagomedov had not been flustered when the fight played out on the feet — he most certainly wasn’t about to let it slip through his grasp while in his comfort zone. Nurmagomedov stayed heavy on his opponent, finishing the fight on top, proving to be the more versatile fighter.
Official result: Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Jared Gooden by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)