Brian Kelleher didn’t get to walk out to the octagon with a flag representing world peace at UFC 272 on Saturday, for reasons only the promotion itself could likely explain.
Kelleher had initially announced last month that he would walk out with the Ukrainian colors, to show solidarity with the nation currently trying to stave off a Russian invasion. However, given that opponent Umar Nurmagomedov hails from the Dagestan region of Russia, Kelleher instead opted to fly the flag of world peace — or at least attempt to.
The flag flap was a reminder that the world had changed drastically in the past ten days, but fighting, at least for the time being, had not— and Kelleher rode a two-fight win streak with him into the match-up with Nurmagomedov, who was undefeated through 13 fights.
Through 14, by the event of the bout.
Both fighters took the center of the octagon after a touch of gloves, and both exchanged kicks. A high kick from Nurmagomedov followed, and he then threw his infamous question mark kick. Nurmagomedov landed a 1-2 shortly after, followed by a front kick.
For his part, Kelleher threw a combo but missed and ended up clinching with Nurmagomedov next. Nurmagomedov reserved Kelleher on the fence. Near the midway mark, Kelleher defended Nurmagomedov’s first two takedowns. Nurmagomedov later went for another takedown, landed it, and quickly took Kelleher’s back. Nurmagomedov locked up a rear-naked choke, and the fight was over.
Nurmagomedov stays undefeated!
— UFC (@ufc) March 6, 2022
With his latest submission win, Nurmagomedov keeps his undefeated record and snapped Kelleher’s winning streak. And despite the match-up coming at featherweight, he confirmed he’ll return to bantamweight in future.
Official Result: Umar Nurmagomedov def. Brian Kelleher by submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1, 3:15