UFC 229: What happened when Conor McGregor returned to Octagon to face Khabib Nurmagomedov?
Much has already been written about the main event of UFC 229 and it's shocking aftermath. A much-hyped card delivered inside and outside the Octagon.
The buzz around UFC 229 was undoubtedly all about "Notorious" Conor McGregor. The Irishman was fighting in his first MMA bout since 2016 and was taking on the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov, a man with whom had considerable beef.
The hatred was mutual. Khabib had been (understandably) enraged by McGregor's reckless actions on April 5, 2018, when he threw a metal dolly into the official UFC bus at a promotional event. The smashed window and flying glass injured fellow UFC stars, Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa.
McGregor's assault on the bus was revenge for an incident days prior when Khabib's entourage threatened McGregor's buddy Artem Lobov. Trash talk between the two sides intensified prior to their clash and comments McGregor had made about Khabib's Muslim faith had wounded Khabib more than he could ever have anticipated.
The actual fight itself with the Lightweight Championship at stake saw Khabib completely dominate McGregor with takedowns and controlled grappling. When the fight finally stood up in the third round, McGregor did enough to take it on the judge's scorecards.
However, normal service was resumed in the fourth and McGregor had to submit when Khabib caught him in a neck crank that the exhausted Irishman could not escape.
Instead of celebrating, Khabib with McGregor's wounding words no doubt still lingering in his consciousness leapt out of the Octagon and attempted to attack another of McGregor's cornermen, Dillon Danis.
A wild brawl ensued and one of Khabib's buddies leapt into the Octagon and smacked McGregor in the head, yielding another pull apart fight.
It was a deeply regrettable incident that at time of writing had still not been resolved with regard to fighter's purses and possible suspensions.
For McGregor, it was back to the drawing board and Khabib is now waiting to see what opportunities his newfound mainstream infamy will bring him.
Tony Ferguson contested the fight of the night with Anthony Pettis in a bout which has likely determined who will face Khabib next for the title, providing he isn't stripped. Ferguson made it 11 wins in a row, but it seemed that record may have been under threat when Pettis landed impressive combinations on Ferguson in the first round. However, Ferguson soon turned it round powering back with stinging strikes which cut Pettis's face up so badly that his corner threw in the towel.
In a Light-Heavyweight contest, Dominick Reyes kept his perfect MMA record intact with a by the numbers victory over Ovince Saint Preux. The story of the fight was Saint Preux struggling with his cardiovascular conditioning and the deliberate Reyes taking advantage and strategically taking him apart for the decision win.
Elsewhere on the card, Derrick Lewis stunned Alexander Volkov with just 11 seconds left on the clock with a thumping knockout. It was necessary for the big man. He was behind on all judge's scorecards before his last gasp KO. The win earned Lewis a Heavyweight title fight with the champion, Daniel Cormier at UFC 230.
In the main card opener, "Karate Hottie" Michelle Waterson bested Felice Herrig via Unanimous Decision in a big victory which she hopes will push her into Strawweight title contention. The submission specialist kept Herrig at bay and her improved striking led her to victory.
An entertaining card of action delivered unforgettable action as well as extra-curricular activity that no-one will forget in a hurry.
The tagline was correct. The world was watching. The event pulled a stupendous and record 2.4 million buys, smashing the previous record from UFC 202 by 800,000 orders.
Published 23 Nov 2018, 01:03 IST