UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has preserved his immaculate mixed martial arts record after yet another display of peerless poise at the recently-concluded UFC 242.
Gunning for the undisputed lightweight title, Nurmagomedov came back from a long layoff like he never left and dispatched the interim champion Dustin Poirier via rear-naked choke in their much-hyped unification bout last weekend.
To the delight of the sold-out crowd at the Arena in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov escaped a guillotine choke attempt from his American foe before getting the submission in the third round to stay unbeaten and remain unscathed in 28 professional bouts.
Nothing is set in stone yet but for his next title-retention bid, the Russian grappling specialist has plenty of options in front of him including a titanic clash with no. 1 ranked contender, Tony Ferguson, a rerun of the chaotic UFC 229 fight with ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor, and a mega-fight with now-retired former two-weight champ Georges St-Pierre.
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) September 10, 2019
‘I Can Catch Him’
Amid the anticipation of the reveal of Khabib’s next opponent, Bellator’s very own lightweight and featherweight champion Patricio Freire is claiming that he is the one capable of shattering the Russian’s cloak of invincibility.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, the Bellator two-weight champ known as ‘Pitbull’ said he would knock out Khabib if and when they share the cage, citing his standup game as his edge over the UFC star.
“Khabib is very tough, has phenomenal wrestling and sambo, but he has a huge deficiency on the feet so I can catch him,”
“Nothing is impossible. I think he’s very tough, 28-0, but another fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, (Gleison) Tibau, put on a very tough fight with him, and I think there’s a path to beat him.”
“I believe we can do it. If my hand lands — and it would land —, it’s over.”
— MMA mania (@mmamania) September 12, 2019
Closing The Distance
Continuing, Freire said there have been no changes in Khabib’s style of fighting ever since and added that closing the distance and landing a knee would cause a massive problem to ‘The Eagle.’
“He has the same fight pattern since his first fight.”
“He backs his opponent against the fence, moves and shoots to the leg.”
“No one has ever tried… Maybe someone did try to land a knee, but I don’t remember anyone getting close to landing.”
“Iaquinta was doing well against him, moving well on the feet, but he was closing the distance the wrong way. I think I can close the distance better.”
Though he is confident of his chances against Khabib, ‘Pitbull’ admitted that a potential crossover fight co-promoted by Bellator and UFC is impossible at this point.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) September 11, 2019
Do you agree with Patricio Freire’s statement?
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Patricio Freire and Khabib Nurmagomedov)