Khabib Nurmagomedov will put his UFC lightweight title and undefeated record on the line in the main event of UFC 242 on Saturday. Nurmagomedov, the undisputed champion, and interim champion Dustin Poirier will unify the UFC’s lightweight titles. The locale is Abu Dhabi, the promotion’s first trip to the United Arab Emirates city since 2014.
In the co-main event, Edson Barboza and Paul Felder meet in a key lightweight bout. Barboza is ranked No. 9 in ESPN’s lightweight top 10.
The undercard also features Nurmagomedov teammate Islam Makhachev taking on Brazilian jiu-jitsu champ Davi Ramos; the return of heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes against Shamil Abdurakhimov; and a significant women’s flyweight fight pitting Joanne Calderwood against Andrea Lee.
Belal Muhammad vs. Takashi Sato – Welterweight
Fight in progress.
Muslim Salikhov def. Nordine Taleb by TKO
Salikhov woke up a sweaty crowd by essentially putting Taleb to sleep.
After a pair of slow-paced fights to begin UFC 242 in hot Abu Dhabi, Salikhov put a charge into the card with a TKO of Taleb at 4:26 of the first round. Salikhov landed a massive overhand right and Taleb was out on the way down. The round was relatively uneventful until Salikhov lit the spark.
Salikhov (15-2) has won two in a row, both by impressive knockout. He has finished 13 of his 15 wins in the first round and has only been to decision once.
The Dagestan native was coming off a 17-month layoff due to an issue with UFC anti-doping partner USADA, which flagged him for a positive steroid test. Salikhov, 35, was later cleared, because USADA determined he had only trace amounts of a long-term metabolite in his system, much like a situation involving UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and it would be impossible to tell when he ingested the substance.
Taleb (15-7), a 38-year-old Montreal native, has lost three of four.
Omari Akhmedov defeated Zak Cummings (unanimous decision)
Akhmedov defeated Cummings by unanimous decision and now has put together a bit of a run at middleweight.
The Dagestan native pulled out a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) win over Cummings with key takedowns and timely striking. It wasn’t an action-packed bout, but Akhmedov landed a nice slam in the first round and opened up a cut on Cummings’ nose with a right hand in the second. Cummings dropped Akhmedov with a left hand in the first, but that was his most significant offense.
Akhmedov (19-4-1) is unbeaten in five straight fights, including his last three at middleweight after moving up from welterweight. The 31-year-old is 7-3-1 in the UFC going back to 2013. Cummings (23-7), a 35-year-old Texan, had won two in a row coming in after moving up from welterweight to middleweight.
Madge def. Ziam (unanimous decision)
Don Madge defeated Fares Ziam by unanimous decision. It wasn’t nearly as spectacular as his UFC debut, but Madge got the job done.
Using clinches against the cage and takedowns, Madge grinded out a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) victory in the UFC 242 opener. Ziam had moments in the clinch in the first round with his length and had a solid kimura attempt in the third. But Madge retained control most of the way.
Madge (9-3-1) has won six straight fights. The 28-year-old South Africa native was coming off a second-round TKO over Te Edwards in his UFC debut in October 2018. Ziam (10-3) had a five-fight winning streak snapped in his UFC debut here.
Still to come
Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder – Lightweight
Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos – Lightweight
Curtis Blaydes vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov – Heavyweight
Mairbek Taisumov vs. Diego Ferreira – Lightweight
Joanne Calderwood vs. Andrea Lee – Women’s flyweight
Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Lerone Murphy – Featherweight
Liana Jojua vs. Sarah Moras – Women’s bantamweight
Ottman Azaitar vs. Teemu Packalen – Lightweight
Source: Read Full Article