LAS VEGAS – This is the UFC 229 live blog for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor, a lightweight championship bout at Saturday’s UFC event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Nurmagomedov, the defending champion who is 26-0 in his career, faces McGregor, a former two-division titleholder who is competing in the UFC for the first time since November 2016 and is 9-1 in the promotion, in the main event.
Check out the UFC 229 live blog below.
The crowd here in Vegas is electrified and standing on its feet, as the hype video plays on the screen. The lights are down. Conor is about to make the walk, and it’s been a long while since he made the walk first. He returns as the challenger. The green lit backlights are on, and the fog covers the cage. Conor’s music is playing. The colors of the Irish flag are going around the fascia ring. And now beams of light from his tunnel — yellow, and a searchlight plays over the fans. This is incredible. And “Notorious” kicks in for Biggie’s “Hypnotize.” Here he comes, draped in the Irish flag. What anticipation. He walks into the cage still belching fog, doing his billionaire strut.
And now the lights drop again, this time to a cascade of boos. The music is “Dagestan” by Sabine Kors. Red shoot down from the lighting system, and give the effect of bars around the cage. The Dagestan flag flashes up on the big screens. Now Khabib emerges wearing his famous papakha. This is intense. He looks focused. And as the darkness settles over McGregor, he shadow boxes. The lights come up and Nurmagomedov is in the cage. It’s about to go down. The feel of this fight is that of the biggest of its kind. Security is preventing McGregor from going anywhere near Khabib’s side during introductions. McGregor nonetheless goes to the center and blows a kiss. Boos rain down on Khabib during his. The factions are asked to leave the octagon, and we’re about ready. They dance and do not touch gloves after instructions. The scene is mad.
Round 1: Herb Dean is the third man in the cage. McGregor with his hands down and immediate lands a left. Khabib rolling and now a headkick lands, and Khabib shoots. Conor sprawls and is thus far holding him off, leaning over Khabib’s frame as he looks to complete the takedown. Deafening in here, as Khabib stands with Conor’s leg. Now he finally dumps McGregor on his butt near the fence. This is where we see. The crowd boos as Khabib buries his head into McGregor’s armpit, leveraging in. McGregor hoping for a stalland stand-up from Dean, who is looking on closely. Now Khabib pops up and is dogged with the ground. Nothing in terms of pound yet. McGregor still strong and springy, and even landing hammershots from his butt. It’s definitely a stalemate, as Dean comes in. Khabib working just enough to keep him at bay. Crowd imploring Dean to stand them up. Khabib turns his body, yet is still stuck like adhesive to McGregor’s frame. Nurmagomedov now is trying to tire McGregor out, and now has the Irishman on his back. Now the punches are starting from Khabib. Not quite side control, but he’s nudging for it.. McGregor is flailing, but clinging. It’s survival to keep the damage down. That’s the round. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Nurmagomedov, 10-9
Round 2: A little jump kick from McGregor to start, and he does a push kick next with his hands low. Khabib lands a huge right hand that drops McGregor! And now they open fire on one another, and McGregor lands a shot of his own. High tension in the room! But Khabib gets wise and picks up McGregor and dumps him on the fence. Now he’s in full mount, and this is bad for Conor. McGregor recovers guard, and now Khabib raining punches down. Hammerfists. McGregor doing a good job of minimizing here, but so far that’s all he can do. Some big shots from Khabib. McGregor squirming, but this is the worst case scenario. Khabib just laying big shots down on McGregor, who is taking the abuse. Numerous shots from a standing Nurmagomedov land, and it’s close to being stopped. Nurmagomedov trying for a Kimura, and he’s tight...but McGregor gets out of it. It is straight survival for McGregor, who now has his head in a lock, and stands! The crowd roars. He is getting up, but he has the Dagestan fighter dragging at his waist. One ounce of promise is all this crowd craves. The roar of song is breaking out. The Irish are trying to will their man! But McGregor remains posted on fence at the horn. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Nurmagomedov, 10-8 (20-17 overall)
Round 3: Conor stalks forward and lands a nice shot, now a left that wobbled Khabib back. Crowd loved that. McGregor is winded, but he is coming forward. The song breaks out again. A left hand but not clean from Conor. Khabib rolls around, and throws a leg kick — and now initiates an exchange. He tries for a take down, but is prevented. They are on fence, and Khabib lands a punch. He lowers down and he is trying to take McGregor down again theree. So far McGregor fending, and now he’s landing. And uppercut, and another left — a head kick. Not clean. McGregor has taken some short shots, too. But he has to gamble. The lid would come off the building if he were to drop Khabib. a nice right from McGregor, but he’s dog tired. The fight goes to the fence, as Nurmagomedov does what he does — he is dragging the Irishman down again, laying his bulk on him. McGregor standing though. Won’t budge. Song breaks out. Nurmagomedov has a conversation with Dean at the end. That might have been McGregor’s round. MMA Fighting scores R3 for McGregor, 10-9 (29-27)
Round 4: Conor stalks forward, waving his right hand. And now he lands a left that thrills the crowd. Khabib lands a right hand of his own, and that gave Conor pause. Khabib not afraid to wing that right hand, and he has been when standing. Crowd chants “CONOR,” as Khabib lowers his head and shoots for the takedown. That took the air out of the room, at least momentarily. McGregor back to a knee on fence, but he’s expending a lot of energy in preventive measures here, a frustration that we knew might be the case. Now Khabib in full mount, as McGregor is on his side. McGregor’s corner can only watch as their man is being wrangled with an eternity of time remaining on the clock — half the round to go. A series of left hands from Nurmagomedov, and now he gets the rear-naked choke...and there comes the tap. It’s over. Wow. Pandemonium breaks out...
Official result: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Conor McGregor via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:03 of R4