The undefeated cousin of former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was in his corner on Saturday, wasted no time mauling opponent Patrik Pietila on the ground, which led to the finish. After Nurmagomedov nearly wrapped up a nasty neck crank, he made an adjustment and locked on the rear naked choke instead with Pietila tapping out at 4:06 in the first round.
The win moved Nurmagomedov to 14-0 in his career and now he’s hoping Bellator will give him a step up in competition.
“I wish I could have had [an opponent] from the top 10 to put on a real performance,” Nurmagomedov said. “I’m asking Bellator to give me someone from the top 10 cause the amount of haters are increasing.”
An overwhelming favorite according to odds makers, Nurmagomedov immediately had Pietila hurt with the first calf-kick he threw as the fighter from Finland was already favoring his leg. From there, Nurmagomedov brought Pietila crashing down to the canvas with a big takedown as the Russian looked to showcase his grappling.
Nurmagomedov was methodical on the ground as he shredded Pietila’s defense in order to advance his position as he looked for the mount and then took the back.
Once he had his legs locked, Nurmagomedov first grabbed onto a neck crack and the grimace on Pietila’s face looked like he might not survive much longer. Rather than continuing to place pressure on the face and neck, Nurmagomedov re-adjusted to slip his arm under the chin, which then led to the rear-naked choke being applied.
Pietala had no choice but to tap out as Nurmagomedov celebrated the victroy in front of a raucous Russian crowd in Moscow.
Following the win, Nurmagomedov also paid tribute to the famous family member in his corner while also wearing a t-shirt featuring an image of his late uncle Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
“It means everything to me,” Nurmagomedov said about having Khabib in his corner. “I don’t know how my career would go if I didn’t have my brother Khabib with me. It’s a fantastic feeling to fight in my home country of Russia.”