Khabib wins UFC Lightweight Title
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) deserves an immense amount of credit for this week. Amongst all the craziness and multiple opponent changes, Khabib fought, where others would and have pulled out.
Al Iaquinta also deserves respect, in an era where others want to protect their ranking or simply don’t fight, Iaquinta saw a life-changing opportunity and stepped up.
11 years to the day after his mentor Matt Serra shocked the world when he beat Georges St-Pierre, Iaquinta didn’t repeat that seismic shock, but gave everything, and did show others that despite his opponents reputation, he is human after all.
It took around a minute for Khabib to get a single and drag his opponent to the floor, and when the same thing happened in the 2nd, it was damage limitation and just trying to stay in the fight.
But from the 3rd round onwards, Khabib slowed, didn’t get another takedown until the 5th, and his future opponents saw a little glimmer of hope.
Let’s be honest Iaquinta never came remotely close to beating Khabib, and the scores of 50-44, 50-43 and 50-43 accurately reflect the one-sided nature of the fight, so it’s hard to be too critical of Khabib, but flaws were nonetheless shown.
It might be Khabib time, but with the likes of Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, Tony Ferguson, Georges St-Pierre and even Conor McGregor if he decides to throw left hooks again instead of dollys, as potential future opponents, I wonder for how long.
Namajunas repeats her win over Jedrzejczyk
In the co-main event at UFC 223, Joanna Jedrzejczyk believes she beat Rose Namajunas, she didn’t, but she certainly played her part in a compelling absorbing championship contest.
Jedrzejczyk certainly made the weight better this time, and looked in magnificent shape, but despite that she again ended up losing to superbly composed Namajunas, who retained her UFC women’s strawweight title.
In the first 2 rounds, Jedrzejczyk again struggled to get her work off, her punches falling short and being repeatedly countered.
But Jedrzejczyk improved in the 3rd and the 4th, rounds which I thought she won. The 5th was close, but a late takedown from Namajunas removed any doubt.
All three judges had it 49-46, which didn’t really reflect how close the fight was, I had it 48-47.
Jedrzejczyk has difficult decisions to make, does she stay at strawweight or move up to flyweight. A 3rd fight between the pair wouldn’t be out of the question, but as Namajunas says herself, she’s just better.
Namajunas has a shark tank of challengers waiting for her, so how long she remains champion is questionable. But with all the seemingly endless trash talk which surrounds others, Namajunas makes a refreshing change.