LAS VEGAS — The biggest fight in UFC history ended in utter chaos after Khabib Nurmagomedov secured a fourth-round submission against Conor McGregor to retain his lightweight title at UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena.
Unfortunately, that submission won’t be what people remember.
Instead, what will be remembered is Nurmagomedov leaping into the crowd after winning the biggest fight of his career and attacking McGregor team member Dillion Danis. The shocking assault sparked a full-fledged brawl that engulfed everyone from both teams. Even McGregor — who stood and watched in the Octagon as the chaos ensured — found himself attacked by Nurmagomedov’s team.
Per Dana White, members of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team have already been arrested. He says commission has froze main event paychecks for now. Says they took special security measures and this still happened.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 7, 2018
It was a despicable ending to an epic encounter that saw Nurmagomedov retain his title against a game McGregor, who returned to the Octagon after nearly two years away from the sport.
Perhaps this ending was one that could have been predicted considering the storyline heading into the fight that was built around an infamous incident between McGregor and Nurmagomedov that saw the Irishman assault a team bus carrying the Dagestan fighter back in April. The incident became the crutch of the promotion for their encounter at UFC 229 and further fanned the flames between the two sides.
By the time McGregor and the undefeated Nurmagomedov were locked inside of the Octagon, you could cut the tension with a knife.
As for the fight itself, it was a competitive affair that saw Nurmagomedov deploy his vaunted grappling to neutralize McGregor’s standup. What was surprising, however, was Nurmagomedov’s willingness to stand and trade with the former two-weight champion.
After a first round that saw “The Eagle” work furiously to secure a takedown and keep McGregor pinned between the fence and the canvas, Nurmagomedov opened the second frame with an overhand right that dropped his opponent to the canvas. It would be the start of a dominant round that saw the champion throttle McGregor with vicious ground and pound. To McGregor’s credit, he showed great resolve by surviving the brutal pounding that saw all three judges score the round 10-8.
McGregor got his wind back in the third and began picking apart his rival behind a jab and body shots. The Irishman stuffed several takedowns and consistently beat Nurmagomedov to the punch, but Nurmagomedov wasn’t through and trash-talked McGregor between rounds.
It wouldn’t take long for Nurmagomedov to drag a tiring McGregor down in the fourth round and swiftly move to mount. With McGregor desperately trying to scramble, he left his back open for the taking. With a talking Khabib on his back and nowhere to go, McGregor did his best to tuck his chin as the champion wrapped his arm around his chin. Khabib cranked the pressure down on McGregor’s jaw and forced the tap at the 3:03 mark.
After the brawl, both McGregor and Nurmagomedov were escorted out of the arena before the result was announced. It’s unclear how Nurmagomedov will be disciplined for this incident. If the April incident is any indication, the UFC may use this to fuel a rematch to build off an event that is expected to have the biggest PPV buyrate in UFC history.
No matter how you slice it, this is truly a black eye for the sport and a disastrous ending for an exciting night of fights.
UFC 229 results
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Conor McGregor to retain the UFC lightweight championship
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Conor McGregor via fourth-round submission (rear naked choke). Time of stoppage was 3:03.
Round 4: Left hand lands for McGregor. Front kick. Khabib takes McGregor down. Conor is very tired and Khabib is talking to him. Khabib nearly has McGregor mounted. Cue the ground and pound. Khabib has McGregor’s back. Sinks in the choke. It’s OVER! In the aftermath, Khabib leaps out of the cage and goes after McGregor’s team member Dillion Danis. A huge brawl breaks out with fighters and fans. A member from Khabib’s team fights Conor in the Octagon. Celebrities are being escorted out. Complete chaos!
Round 3: Conor with a jab and a right hand that connects. Left hand from McGregor. Left uppercut from McGregor. McGregor stuffs a takedown. Hard right hand from Khabib. Khabib clinches and looks for the takedown. McGregor breaks and rocks Khabib with a right hand. McGregor with a combination. Body shot from McGregor, right hand. Khabib clinches again. Khabib trying to get McGregor down, but can’t. McGregor takes the round. 29-28 Khabib
Round 2: McGregor lands a kick. Khabib drops Conor with a right hand! Khabib takes McGregor down. Khabib takes Conor down and has him mounted. Big trouble. Conor gets Khabib back into his guard, but Khabib is working him over with strikes. Khabib is completely mauling McGregor. This is getting ugly. Conor has to get to his feet. Khabib is in complete control. Khabib wants to finish this and is looking to mount him again. McGregor sprawls and nearly gets to his feet. He’s up! Small victory for McGregor, but it’s all Khabib in the second. 20-18 Khabib.
Round 1: This place is electric. The entrances were major and the crowd is as noisy as it has ever been. McGregor lands a right hand early. He’s stalking him. Khabib goes for a takedown. Has the leg. McGregor holding on. Hammerfist. Khabib pushes him up against the fence. McGregor is trying to work his way to his feet. Khabib is looking to yank him off the cage. Khabib is working hard, but McGregor is fending him off. Khabib lands a right hand. Khabib is smothering. Palm strikes from McGregor. Khabib finally gets Conor on his back. Khabib in control. Khabib is going to win this round off of control, but he didn’t do a whole lot. 10-9 Khabib.
Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis
Tony Ferguson def. Anthony Pettis via second-round TKO (corner stoppage). Time of stoppage was 5:00.
Round 3: Pettis doesn’t make it out of the corner. Looks like he’s injured and the fight is called off.
Round 2: Pettis comes out like a bat out of hell and smokes Ferguson with a combination and drops him. Pettis is all over Ferguson. Pettis is leaking blood, but fires from inside of Ferguson’s guard. Ferguson gets to his feet. Pettis is also split open and the referee stops the fight for a minute to let the doctor take a look at the cut. It’s deep. Action resumes and Pettis launches a vicious spinning roundhouse that just misses. Ferguson with a body shot. Pettis is tiring, while Ferguson is coming on strong. Pettis is gassed, now. Ferguson is all over Pettis and clobbering him with punches and elbows. Pettis with an overhand round. Oh, this is stupid! The crowd is on their feet. Right hand from Pettis crushes Ferguson. Ferguson keeps on coming, following up with a combination. He’s all over Pettis, smothering him with punches, kicks and hammerfists as the round comes to a close. 20-18 Ferguson.
Round 1: Ferguson fires a right hand that catches Pettis. Pettis with a leg kick that spins Ferguson. Ferguson is the aggressor and trying to walk Pettis down. Pettis with a right hand. Pettis is kicking at the surgically- repaired knee of Ferguson. Spinning back fist by Pettis lands. Pettis is moving well and finding holes to punch and kick through. Ferguson is picking up the aggression and lands a right hand. Ferguson pushes Pettis back and lands a front kick and a right hand. Pettis with a high kick that lands. Ferguson keeps following. Pettis with a right hand. Ferguson charges forward and lands a combination to close the round. Very close, but 10-9 Ferguson
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes
Dominick Reyes def. Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27.
Round 3: OSP lands a head kick, but Reyes takes it well. Stiff jab from OSP. Reyes is not getting much going here. He continues to feint, but can’t get OSP to commit. Counter uppercut by Reyes lands. OSP catches a kick and fires a right hand that lands on Reyes. The two clinch along the cage. They separate and OSP lands a right hand. Leg kick by Reyes and a jab. The pace has slowed down drastically. OSP throwing more punches, but misses everything. He walks into a short counter by Reyes. A right hand with two seconds left ends OSP, but the round ended. A lot of confusion. Apparently, the round ended. Wow. 30-27 Reyes.
Round 2: OSP rushes in and goes for a takedown, but Reyes snuffs it out. They clinch along the cage, but not much happens. Reyes lands a kick to the body. OSP with a high kick that grazes Reyes. Not enough output from OSP. Leg kicks by Reyes. Not a lot happening in the second round, but OSP is doing much less than Reyes. 20-18 Reyes.
Round 1: They exchange kicks early. Reyes with a right hand. Reyes is extremely fast for a light heavyweight. OSP goes for a takedown, but is stuffed. OSP goes for another takedown but Reyes pops back up. OSP has made it clear that he’s not interested in standing up with Reyes. OSP takes down Reyes, but Reyes pops up again. Reyes crushes OSP with a combination. Kick to the face by Reyes. Left high kick by Reyes lands. Another head kick by Reyes. Totally dominant first round. 10-9 Reyes.
Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov
Derrick Lewis def. Alexander Volkov via 3rd round KO (Punches). Time of stoppage was 4:49.
Round 3: Volkov clobbers Lewis again with a bevy of punches. Lewis has nothing and is completely gassed. Volkov is just looking for an opening to fire away. Lewis fires a five-punch combination out of desperation, but lands nothing of significance. Lewis finally lands a hard overhand right, but it’s too little, too late. Or not! Derrick Lewis detonates a right hand on Volkov with 10 seconds left and swarms him with punches until his body goes limp. Derrick Lewis with a last second KO!
Round 2: Volkov blasts Lewis again and staggers him. Somehow, Lewis is still upright. Lewis with a hard right-hand counter. Volkov pot-shotting and landing body kicks. Lewis is not doing much. Both are tired, but Volkov did enough early to take the round. 20-18 Volkov
Round 1: Lewis throws a switch kick. Volkov blasts him with a right hand and a knee. He’s all over Lewis, but Lewis swings hard to back Volkov off. Another salvo from Volkov has Lewis in trouble. An eye poke stops the action. Volkov is crisp with the jab. A failed takedown attempt by Lewis finds Volkov on top. Lewis gets to his feet and smashes Volkov with a right hand. Volkov with a takedown to snuff out Lewis’s momentum. Volkov takes Lewis’s back and is fishing for a choke, but Lewis sweeps and gets on top. Lewis ground and pound to close the round. 10-9 Volkov.
Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig
Michelle Waterson def. Felice Herrig via unanimous decision. Scores were 30-26, 29-28 and 30-27.
Round 3: Herrig opens the final round strong and lands a combination. Waterson goes for a takedown attempt, but Herrig stuffs and lands in Waterson’s guard. Waterson landing elbows from the bottom. Herrig continues to eat shots. Even though Herrig is on top, Waterson’s work from the guard is impressive. Waterson is landing elbows and punches at will. The ref stands them up. Herrig pushes Waterson to the cage again but is doing nothing to score. Failed takedown attempt by Herrig. In the closing minute they clinch, but Waterson continues to land elbows to take the round. 30-27 Waterson
Round 2: They immediately pick up where they left off as Herrig pushes Waterson against the cage and they begin jockeying for position. Waterson lands a right hand on the break and a head kick. Waterson takes Herrig down with a beautiful hip toss. Waterson landing short elbows in half guard. Holds that position for the rest of the round. Herrig tried an armbar attempt, but the bell sounded. 20-18 Waterson.
Round 1: Herrig comes out as the aggressor, but Waterson lands a head kick. Waterson is very busy with the kicks and keeping Herrig from getting close. Herrig is unable to land anything of significance. Herrig finally lands a right cross. The clinch along the cage. Both working hard for position. Waterson is trying to break away, but Herrig stays on her. Close rounds, but scoring for Waterson. 10-9 Waterson.
9:50 p.m.: We had our first clunker of the night. Jussier Formiga defeated Sergio Pettis by unanimous decision in a fight that wasn’t pleasing for the fans at T-Mobile Arena. After seeing five out of six fights end by knockout, the still-growing crowd had little patience for Formiga being Pettis’s backpack for about three minutes in the final round. Welp, can’t win them all.
9:05 p.m.: Goodness gracious! Vicente Luque delivered one of the most savage first-round finishes you’ll ever see against Jalin Turner. It was competitive in the standup early until Turner went for a spinning elbow. He hit Luque with it, but the Brazilian brushed it off and landed a counter that sent Turner sprawling to the canvas. Luque followed him to the canvas and brutalized him with ground and pound until Turner’s body went limp. It’s Luque’s third straight win and he’s starting to make a dent in the welterweight division.
8:42 p.m.: Aspen Ladd had a brutal weight cut Friday and had a scary moment after weigh-ins. But she shook it off to dominate Tonya Evinger and secure a first-round TKO. The 23-year-old used her size and aggression to bring the seasoned veteran to the canvas, flattened her out after taking her back and unleashed some vicious ground and pound to earn the stoppage. The sky is the limit for Ladd.
8:24 p.m.: Scott Holtzman scored a scintillating second-round knockout against Alan Patrick to kick off the FS1 prelims. The place is slowly filling up and Holtzman gave them something to cheer about. A counter right hand sent Patrick down hard and worked his way into a mount. Some brutal short elbows from mount cut the lights off in the most savage way possible. He dedicated the victory to his recently born son, which drew cheers from the crowd.
7:53 p.m.: After being blitzed by Cris Cyborg, Yuna Kunitskaya got back on the right track with a sound three-round unanimous decision victory over Lina Lansberg to close out the UFC Fight Pass prelims. It’ll be interesting to see where Kunitskaya fits in with the rest of the women’s bantamweight division.
7:17 p.m.: Nik Lentz pummeled Gray Maynard from just about every aspect of the fight. He made it look easy and sent Maynard down face first with a right head kick to pick up a huge TKO victory. He also shouted out Brett Kavanaugh in his post-fight speech. Probably not the best idea.
6:55 p.m.: Tony Martin gets the night started off right with a dominant performance against Ryan LaFlare. A brutal right head kick sent LaFlare down and out at the one-minute mark. Afterward, Martin called out the rest of the welterweight division via an expletive-filled rant.
UFC 229 fight card (winners in bold)
- Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Conor McGregor for Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title; submission via rear naked choke. Round 4, 3:03.
- Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis; lightweights; TKO via corner stoppage. Round 2, 5:00.
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes; light heavyweights; unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27.
- Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov; heavyweights; KO via punches. Round 3, 4:49.
- Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig; women’s strawweights; unanimous decision; 30-26, 29-28 and 30-27.
- Sergio Pettis vs. Jussier Formiga; flyweights; unanimous decision; 30-26, 29-28 and 29-28.
- Vicente Luque vs. Jalin Turner; welterweights; KO via ground and pound. Round 1, 3:52.
- Aspen Ladd vs. Tonya Evinger; women’s bantamweights; TKO via ground and pound. Round 1, 3:26.
- Lina Lansberg vs. Yana Kunitskaya; women’s bantamweights; unanimous decision.
- Scott Holtzman vs. Alan Patrick; lightweights; KO via elbows. Round 3, 3:42.
- Gray Maynard vs. Nik Lentz; lightweights; TKO via head kick and punches. Round 2, 1:19.
- Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin; welterweights; TKO via head kick and punches. Round 3, 1:00.
UFC 229 latest news
— Georges St-Pierre tells SN why he thinks it’s “60-40” Khabib Nurmagomedov beats Conor McGregor.
— SN discusses whether a victory at UFC 229 makes Conor McGregor an all-time great.
— McGregor says the feud with Khabib Nurmagoemedov will never end.
— Is time running out for former interim lightweight titleholder Tony Ferguson ?
— In the mood to win some money? We break down the best UFC 229 odds.