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UFC 223 live blog: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta

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Khabib Nurmagomedov and Al Iaquinta
Khabib Nurmagomedov fights Al Iaquinta in a lightweight championship bout in the main event of UFC 223 on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This is the UFC 223 live blog for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta, a lightweight championship bout at Saturday night’s UFC event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Nurmagomedov looks to remain unbeaten in 25 pro bouts when he takes on last-minute replacement Iaquinta, who has won eight of his last nine fights, in the main event.

Check out the UFC 223 live blog below.

Round 1: Dan Miragliotta is the referee for this lightweight championship main event. Iaquinta backing the taller Nurmagomedov up immediately. Quick takedown attempt from long range by Nurmagomedov and Iaquinta steps back to avoid it. Single leg by Nurmagomedov, he gets the ankle, straightens up, and puts Iaquinta on his back. He’s in half-guard, then quickly transitions to side control. Iaquinta gives up his back, avoids Nurmagomedov’s attempts to establish hooks, and he’s able to scramble up. Nurmagomedov with another takedown and he again advances into half-guard. Iaquinta holds onto a kimura and tries to stand up, Nurmagomedov staying heavy. He’s leaning on Iaquinta’s side and landing short punches. Iaquinta not taking major damage, but he cannot get away. More unanswered punches from Nurmagomedov. He throws Iaquinta down again and postures up to throw more punches. Iaquinta back to the feet, but Nurmagomedov is just locked onto him. Iaquinta keeping a wide base and he avoids getting taken down before the bell.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8, Nurmagomedov.

Round 2: Iaquinta staying as low as he can to avoid being taken down again. Nurmagomedov shoots an uppercut to try and get him to change levels. He dives in to get Iaquinta’s ankle, this time Iaquinta slips free. However, Nurmagomedov is back in there, getting his hands on Iaquinta and utilizing a trip to bring him down and fall into his guard. He advances to back control as Iaquinta tries to stand. Similar to round one, Nurmagomedov is leaning on Iaquinta against the fence and throwing punches from his side. Hands are locked around Iaquinta’s waist. Iaquinta gives up the back. He has Matt Serra right next to him at cageside giving him advice. Nurmagomedov looking for a rear-naked choke. Iaquinta is able to turn into it, but now he’s in full mount. He turns and gives up his back again. Nurmagomedov flattens him out. He’s punching Iaquinta to open him up for a choke. They’re rolling and Nurmagomedov stays glued on. He lands strikes to end the round with authority.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8, Nurmagomedov. Overall 20-16, Nurmagomedov.

Round 3: Iaquinta can hardly get off a punch, he’s so concerned with takedown defense. He lands a 1-2, then gets popped by a jab from Nurmagomedov. Jabs are landing frequently for Nurmagomedov now. Head fake by Nurmagomedov, he goes for Iaquinta’s ankle again, but can’t get it. Jab from Nurmagomedov, but he eats a glancing right hand. Iaquinta’s nose is bloodied. He’s talking to Nurmagomedov, who’s started to mix in some leg kicks. The jab has been landing all round for Nurmagomedov.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Nurmagomedov. Overall 30-25, Nurmagomedov.

Round 4: Iaquinta looking still coming forward but the jab is stifling him. Jab lands clean for Iaquinta. Nurmagomedov’s jab still landing consistenly. Takedown attempt by Nurmagomedov is blocked. 1-2 for Nurmagomedov. Iaquinta goes for a single leg and follows up with punches that only partially connect. Jab, jab, jab by Nurmagomedov. Right hand over the top lands for Iaquinta. Nurmagomedov not landing anything big, but getting the better of the exchanges in the final minute. Right hand by Iaquinta.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Nurmagomedov. Overall 40-34, Nurmagomedov.

Round 5: Iaquinta lands an uppercut, then a straight left. Another left hand gets through. Iaquinta throwing more, Nurmagomedov’s jab doing just enough to hold Iaquinta off. Nurmagomedov wades through Iaquinta’s offense and bullies Iaquinta up against the fence, but Iaquinta slips out. Flying knee from Nurmagomedov and this time he’s able to transition from that into a takedown. Back control for Nurmagomedov. Iaquinta standing up with Nurmagomedov locked onto him. Hooks in for Nurmagomedov. He gets his hand free and throws strikes before pursuing a rear-naked choke, but he can’t get his arms past Iaquinta’s jaw. Nurmagomedov gives up on the choke and goes back to ground and pound. 30 seconds remaining in a round that Nurmagomedov has controlled. The fight ends with Nurmagomedov in back mount.

MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Nurmagomedov. Overall 50-43, Nurmagomedov.

Official result: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-43, 50-43)