UFC Fight Island: Umar, on debut, does one better on Khabib

Abu Dhabi - Umar got the result in the second round, whereas Khabib needed a third to register his win.

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 20 Jan 2021, 8:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Jan 2021, 8:39 PM

Umar Nurmagomedov, making his UFC debut in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island 8, bettered the achievement of his legendary cousin Khabib.

In a rare coincidence, both the Nurmagomedovs, ended up making their debuts on the same day: January 20, and defeated their opponents deploying a similar submission move but Umar got the result in the second round, whereas Khabib needed a third to register his win.

Following on Khabib’s footsteps to perfection, Umar walked out wearing the papakha, the famous Dagestani headgear. The ‘Eagle’ Khabib and coach Javier Mendez were by his corner monitoring and mentoring the next generation Nurmagomedov.

And Umar, the 25-year-old, dominated the opening round against Sergey Morozov. In the second round, the well-rounded fighter put Morozov to sleep with a rear-naked choke in 3 minutes 39 seconds at the Etihad Arena.

Khabib had also made his UFC debut on January 20, 2012, had won with a similar submission style but in 2 minutes and 8 seconds of the third round.

After the match, Khabib stepped into the octagon to congratulate Umar. Khabib, the lightweight champion, recollected.

“Nine years ago, this day, 20 January, 2012, I beat my opponent like this, with this choke. And today, he did this, but I did in the third round, and he did in the second round,” Khabib told MMA great Daniel Cormier inside the steel cage.

Umar’s bantamweight debut fight against Morozov was scheduled to take place at UFC 254, but he pulled out due to health issues. It was rescheduled for UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 but then advanced to be held during Wednesday’s UFC: Chiesa vs. Magny. This was primarily done to avoid any scope of confrontation between Team Khabib and Team Conor McGregor.

With this result, Umar has extended his MMA run to 13-0. And he is delighted.

“I’m very happy. All my hard work has paid off. I have a lot of work ahead. I have to keep working. At the beginning of the fight, I didn’t know where I was. It was a bit hard to find my way. In the second round I was more relaxed and I found my way,” he said, explaining his failed attempts at takedowns in the first round.

Umar unleashed a flurry of kicks and strikes before sealing the result with this choke. But he noted that there are a lot more tools in his box and more will be on display in next fights.

“This is not my best performance. In the future I’m going to show everything I have. I have much more than what I showed tonight. I’m going to go home and enjoy time with my family and my daughter.”

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