Who Won & Lost The Most At UFC 242
By Claudia Peterson
UFC 242 went down in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates The Arena, Yas Island, on Saturday September 7th at. There were many exciting fights and this was a great opportunity to showcase Russian and Middle Eastern talent.
Khabib “The eagle” Nurmagomedov (lightweight) was the single fighter who had the most to gain from Saturday’s fight. In his 28th professional fight, The Eagle remains undefeated, and got a dominant submission win over Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (lightweight).
This win earned Khabib a performance of the night bonus. Khabib fought essentially in home territory, with a large fan base that very confidently predicted a win for the Dagestani fighter. His father was also in his corner for the first time in his career, and many team mates and close friends were with him and brought a lot of positive energy to Saturday’s event.
With this win, it is clear that Khabib will be an unstoppable force for years to come. Not only that, but his tremendous show of respect for his opponent certainly helped erase some of the bad reputation he may have received after the UFC 229 brawl, and him wearing the Poirier t-shirt during the post fight interview and promising to sell his fight gear and donate all the proceeds to Poirier’s team will only make him more of a hero for all those who love MMA and beyond.
Khabib can go anywhere and do anything he wishes going forward, and the UFC is sure to back him up. During the post-fight press conference, Khabib proposed building an arena somewhere in Africa and fighting GSP in what would be a charitable fight, and promises to donate all proceeds to his cause of providing clean water to those in various areas of Africa.
Something like this has never been done in the UFC, and Khabib will be the first to lead the torch. This will put MMA and fighters on a different plane with fans and people who do not follow MMA as closely, and I think this could bring a lot of respect that the fight game is well deserving of.
If Khabib continues to behave in this utmost fashion, he alone will change the face of MMA for years to come.
Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder (lightweight) avenged his first professional loss to Edson Barboza on Saturday night, although the split decision win was marred with controversy and doubt that the judges scored the fight correctly. However, a win is a win, and now Paul Felder is set up to take another top contender fight, and with one more win he may just be able to have a shot at the title.
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (heavyweight) was another fighter who had the most to gain from his win on Saturday night. Blaydes utilized his wrestling and ground and pound to viciously beat Shamil Abdurakhimov early in the second round.
Now on a two fight win streak, Blaydes’ two lone losses in the sport came at the heavy hands of Francis Ngannou. This win puts Blaydes back in contention, and he and “The Predator” are sure to meet up one more time as they both continue their respective runs for the title. With such a dominant and emphatic win, it would not be a surprise if Blaydes fights for the title anytime soon.
Scottish female fighter Joanna “JoJo” Calderwood (flyweight) made a statement tonight with her decision win over Andrea (KGB) Lee in the featured prelim bout of the night. Jojo, who came in the underdog for this fight, upset Lee in excellent fashion ,and has placed herself as a potential number 1 contender. Don’t be surprised if she is chosen next to face Valentina Shevchenko
There are several talented Russian and Middle Eastern fighters who went home as heroes tonight. Omari Akhmedov (middleweight), in his 24th professional fight, defeated Zak Cummings by unanimous decision early in the night, and has not lost since 2016.
Welterweights Muslim Salikhov and Belal Muhammad brought excitement to the early prelims with their KO and submission wins, respectively. Both fighters earned Performance of the Night bonuses. Ottman Azaitar (lightweight) impressed in the preliminary card and earned a Performance of the Night bonus as well. Meanwhile, Islam Makhachev had an impressive performance in the main card.
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (lightweight) was perhaps the fighter who had the most to lose from UFC 242. After working so hard for many years and switching weight classes to better his fighting, Poirier was on top of the world when he beat Max Holloway (for the second time in their professional careers) in dominant fashion to capture the lightweight interim championship.
Poirier suddenly became an overnight sensation, making many in his hometown proud and even getting the keys to the city of Lafayette Louisiana. However, The Eagle proved to be too much for the striker, and he was submitted in painful fashion early in the third round.
At 30 years old and with over 30 fights on his resume, it remains unclear what The Diamond will do moving forward, although he did promise to come back better than ever after this loss. He has many other things he is also committed to, especially his foundation and his family. With this loss and with Khabib not going anywhere anytime soon, it seems impossible Poirier will be able to make another run at the title.
Whatever he chooses to do, he will be remembered as a true mixed martial artist who had a ton of respect for others, and who along with Khabib, brought a very different vibe to Saturday’s fight card.
Edson Barboza was another fighter who had the most to lose on Saturday night. It is safe to say that Edson Barboza has been on a decline in the past two years, and it has become difficult to predict whether he can win his fights or not.
Barboza came in as the favoured fighter to win Saturday’s fight against “The Irish Dragon,” but went home with a split decision loss that left him very devastated.
Whether the judges got it wrong or not, it was a very close fight and he truly showed a lot of heart. At 33 years old and with almost 30 fights under his belt, Barboza is another lightweight who last lost to Khabib, and it is unclear where Barboza can go from here. However, if he continues to display a great fighting heart as he did tonight, there might just be a few more exciting fights for him to take.
Last but not least, I think Barboza vs, Felder should have won Fight of the Night, and both fighters really deserved bonus money for putting on such an exciting fight.
It is also strange that no Fight of the Night bonus was awarded, but it was probably due to having had a few Performance of the Night awards.
Also, the temperature in the arena surely left everyone, from journalists down to the fighters very disappointed at how uncomfortable it felt to be inside that tent. One would think this would have been something that the promoters and the event coordinators would have been thinking about well ahead of time.