Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Shot at Conor McGregor’s title awaits Khabib Nurmagomedov after crushing Edson Barboza

Confusion reigns over lightweight crown while Irishman’s fight status remains unknown, only interim champ Ferguson stands in the Russian’s way

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 December, 2017, 1:54pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 December, 2017, 1:54pm

Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov remained undefeated and staked a claim for a lightweight title shot with a dominant unanimous decision over Brazil’s Edson Barboza on Saturday night at UFC 219 in Las Vegas.

The second-ranked Nurmagomedov received winning scores of 30-25, 30-25 and 30-24 from the judges. Nurmagomedov improved to 25-0 overall and 9-0 in the UFC. Barboza fell to 19-5.

Current lightweight champion Conor McGregor’s fight status is unknown and interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson is the only other man standing in the 29-year-old’s way of a title shot.

Nurmagomedov applied pressure from the opening seconds of the fight and secured a takedown early. From there he was able to advance position while landing heavy shots, keeping the fourth-ranked Barboza on the mat for the remainder of the round.

Khabib forced the action to start the second round, continuing to pummel 31-year-old Barboza as he stalked him across the octagon. Nurmagomedov secured another takedown late in the round and again neutralised Barboza while inflicting a great deal of damage until the end of the round.

Khabib had Barboza pressed against the fence for the first half of the final round and secured yet another takedown, completely limiting Barboza’s ability to attack while cruising through the end of the round.

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Also, former strawweight champion Carla Esparza earned a hard-fought decision victory, handing sixth-ranked Cynthia Calvillo her first professional loss, and 12th-ranked Neil Magny topped former interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit by unanimous decision.