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Conor McGregor didn’t quite look himself in his UFC 229 main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov. He suffered his first-ever knockdown in UFC competition, getting tagged hard in the second round. Even when he managed, after a round of control and a round of punishment from the Dagestani champion, to keep the fight standing in the third, he couldn’t seem to put together shots that would hurt Nurmagomedov. Several observers noted that his left hand was a noticeably absent factor. He won the third round, the first UFC round Khabib has unanimously lost, but wasn’t able to come close to hurting his indefatigable opponent.
This was McGregor’s first fight since his rise to regional stardom in Ireland where he didn’t manage to find the range with his left hand for even one flush shot. Whether that was due to Khabib’s deceptively acute attention to striking defense, the threat of his wrestling or McGregor’s fatigue from getting wrestled and beaten up by Nurmagomedov in the first two rounds, wasn’t immediately clear.
John Kavanagh, his head coach, made an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience today. He said McGregor is angling for an immediate rematch and when Joe Rogan asked if the lopsided nature of the fight would make it hard to sell, Kavanagh suggested that their preparation may have been partly to blame. See around 1:11 for the exchange:
I do think Round 3 showed promise. I would like to have changed things up a little bit. Specifically, a more offensive mindset. I thought defensively we did quite well, but offensively, we weren’t really where we usually are. Right when the fight was over, I was thinking, you know what, I was kinda going into this not to lose, but not to win. His shots weren’t as crisp as they normally are. He had opportunities to hit him, especially in the third round, and he just … seemed to be the range … something was off.
Kavanaugh admitted that cage rust might have been a factor, despite bringing in unfamiliar sparring partners and imitating the fight night experience to try to get Conor re-acquainted with the feeling.
Now that the dust has had a chance to settle after the fracas, does McGregor deserve an immediate rematch, or, as Rogan and Kavanaugh agreed, should he take a tune-up fight first?
Derrick Lewis, who now has a million followers and will no doubt get more after he goes on the Joe Rogan Experience, is making the most of his UFC 229 victory.
Chris Pratt was roughly as excited as I was when Derrick Lewis got that KO. The neighbors were pounding on the walls wanting me to be quiet.
That was actually after Derrick won. I don’t advocate unsanctioned violence. https://t.co/VY4AAiJ2b0
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) October 7, 2018
Kung Fu bullfighting?? Every time you think you’ve seen it all, you realize you have not.
This teacher of Chinese bullfighting has three tips on how to master the centuries-old sport. pic.twitter.com/jMYGVLbiqO
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) October 8, 2018
What a perfect Nurmagomedov meme.
“Hi Mrs. Nurmagomedov, can Khabib come out and play?” pic.twitter.com/Auqsa0Ki4j
— Full Time Khabib Fan Account (@basicakh) October 7, 2018
Two lightweight champions clashed in the cage on Saturday night in an instant classic, and Joe Rogan is right to celebrate Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.
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Insanely impressive performance by @tonyfergusonxt last night. Coming off a catastrophic knee injury, having his interim title stripped (many, including me, feel unjustly) and then 6 months later looking like a demonically possessed berserker against one of the best strikers in the division. Tony has absolutely insane cardio, and he never stops coming forward. I really enjoyed that fight and I can’t wait to see him back in there again, hopefully for a shot at the title.
Many have caught blame for the after-melee at UFC 229, but it truly is remarkable that so much slipped straight past everyone standing in the Octagon and around it.
Daniel Cormier celebrates his teammate, Khabib.
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After the dust settles I hope we can get to the great show we saw last night. The performances of these two fantastic martial artist. Congrats @khabib_nurmagomedov you are truly the most do@in any fighter the @Ufc has ever seen. You called your shot man. Congrats champ! What an incredible performance. And @thenotoriousmma fought well, bad matchup but he showed championship heart and skill after two years out of the game. Great job fellas! #weareaka #dagestan #champ #theeagle
Boxing hasn’t gotten any better than this.
On this Day 1984, Marvelous Marvin Hagler stops Mustafa Hamsho in the 11th Round to retain World Middlesweight title – his 28th victory in a row pic.twitter.com/RwSUX7sDH7
— KO Kings (@KOKINGS4) October 3, 2018
Khabib’s father had the best response to his… lack of discipline.
Khabib’s father to russian media:
“You can do whatever you want in the octagon; outside of it, there’s children, women, random people. My team has always been known for its discipline, hence my sanctions to Khabib will be much stronger than the ones from UFC” pic.twitter.com/WsMcSX1WHT
— Leon (@LeonVegaSuarez) October 8, 2018
Dana White didn’t take criticism for how he handled the promotion of UFC 229 well … at all.
Dana White on First Take this morning, responding to any suggestion the UFC is partially responsible for what happened at UFC 229 because of the way they promoted the fight. pic.twitter.com/zusJ3UHmbx
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 8, 2018
freeze frame, tape scratch
Israel Adesanya took another route with the meme:
Is McGregor referring to the brawl afterward as “the battle”?
Khabib is a happy man. From his Instagram:
Fraternal, even now you are slowing down, otherwise I’m uncomfortable for you myself I told you, on October 6, I’ll tell you everything, or did you really want to beat me there?))) I apologize to everyone I hurt with our common victory✊️ And my sincere Fans – you are just a space thank you for your incredible support, I love you, yours truly – Habib Nurmagomedov. #ThereCity #VoResAhl
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По братски, хоть сейчас тормозите, а то уже мне самому за вас неудобно Я же говорил вам, 6 октября я все скажу, или вы реально хотели, чтоб меня там побили?))) Извиняюсь перед всеми, кого я обидел нашей общей победой✊️ А мои искренние Болельщики – вы просто космос спасибо вам за вашу невероятную поддержку, я люблю вас, искренне ваш – Хабиб Нурмагомедов. #ТудаСюда #вореСахлъи
McGregor takes losing pretty well compared to most mixed martial artists.
The guy who attacked McGregor in the cage can kiss his fight with Artem Lobov and his UFC career goodbye.
UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov is bragging on social media about attacking Conor McGregor at #UFC229: “I slapped him as promised. I promised to make him answer for his words and I did.” pic.twitter.com/Iy2QYlUmEt
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) October 7, 2018
This boxer Naoya Inoue looks lethal!
— Andrew McCart iFLTV (@Andy_IFLTV) October 7, 2018
Another look at that fan knockout after the fight.
— Scott Bond (@_ScottBond_) October 7, 2018
KSW also went down over the weekend, in Poland, to violent end:
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) October 6, 2018
Nate Diaz rolling out with his crew …
This is very satisfying:
Planer shaving metal. I love this. So smooth. pic.twitter.com/VLQxhBP17l
— Jon Jones (@jonjones) October 7, 2018
This is very funny
Banksy secretly created a shredding device in a frame to destroy this piece in the event that it was ever sold at auction. It sold for a LOT and the piece immediately went thru the shredder. Then he posted this video on his Instagram for a short time before deleting it. pic.twitter.com/0JFYDiMSQr
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) October 6, 2018