Abubakar Nurmagomedov, cousin of legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, took on Gadzhi Omargadzhiev on the prelims of UFC 280 on Saturday. The Russian combat sambo specialists faced off in the welterweight division in an interesting matchup of styles that could easily go either way. Abubakar has been a career welterweight but this would be Omargadzhiev’s first UFC fight at 170 as he chose to move down in weight after a decision loss to Caio Borralho earlier this year at middleweight.
The open stance matchup led to an early body kick from Gadzi and a straight right from Abubakar. Nurmagomedov shot a double leg to his knees but Gadzhi defended it, threatened a guillotine, and landed knees to the head from the front headlock position. Back in striking both men looked to land big overhands and just barely missed on a few occasions. Gadzhi then shot a takedown and got Abubakar down ear the fence. He jumped the guillotine though and that lost him the position. Although Omargadzhiev maintained the guillotine he had no real chance to finish it from half guard. He then regained full guard but Abubakar got out of the loose choke attempt and into a strong top position. Omargadzhiev looked to get to a hip and escape but Nurmagomedov held him down, although unable to do much damage. Gadhzi eventually got his back against the fence and wall walked to his feet with ten seconds left. The round ended there, in the clinch.
A combination into a spinning back elbow almost landed early for Gadhzi while Abubakar looked to wrestle and succeeded. From the back body lock he kneed Omargadzhiev in the head, but Gadzhi had a hand clearly down so it was an illegal blow and the fight was paused temporarily. The referee walked over to Abubakar and warned him but did not take a point. The fight resumed on the feet, where Omargadzhiev landed a few good punches but then overextended shooting for a takedown and ended up on his back. He gave up his back trying to get up and Nurmagomedov got both hooks in. Omargadzhiev suddenly was able to spin into the guard of Abubakar but a scramble ended up with Nurmagomedov on top once again. Once again Omargadzhiev tried to give up his back to stand up. Suddenly, Gadhzi rolled for a leg lock, his specialty, but the fence did not give him much room to complete it. Abubakar escaped, perhaps aided by a fence grab, and ended the round on top, where he had spent much of the fight.
After an embrace to start the final round, Omargadzhiev landed a right hand. He got sent down to a knee by a leg kick but then landed another big punch right after. The jab of Abubakar began to pop Gadzhi consistently and Gadzhi looked tired, even as he threw overhands at full power. The wild punches were overextending him once again. Abubakar shot a takedown and Omargadzhiev sprawled him out, but Abubakar persisted on the single leg. Once Abubakar stood up Omargadzhiev landed a big knee and right hand. Nurmagomedov came back with a combo of his own that sent Gadzhi flying backwards to a knee, somewhat out of exhaustion perhaps. Omargadzhiev shot a takedown of his own and this time Nurmagomedov sprawled to stuff it, ending up in a front headlock for a long period of time. Omargadzhiev persisted on the takedown and finally the pair separated with only thirty seconds left. Abubakar clipped him with a punch and dropped Gadzhi to a knee in the last ten seconds and after Nurmagomedov jumped on the front headlock the fight ended.
It seemed that the top control of Abubakar Nurmagomedov had done enough to earn him his second win in a row and when Bruce Buffer read the scorecards that was indeed the case. Two judges had the score 29-28 while one had all three rounds for Nurmagomedov, 30-27.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)