Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

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Hello, and welcome to Express Sport’s recap of UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje, which took place all the way on Fight Island (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi.

  • In the main event of the evening, former undisputed lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov locked horns with interim 155lb titleholder Justin Gaethje.
  • Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker looked to earn a rematch with Israel Adesanya in the co-main event of the evening against the in-from Jared Cannonier.
  • And the long-awaited rematch between hard-hitting light-heavyweights Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev kicked off the pay-per-view portion of the card.
  • Scroll down for all the action, reaction and results from the UFC‘s blockbuster ninth pay-per-view card of the year, which was an absolute cracker.

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Khabib Nurmagomedov celebrates his UFC 254 victory over Justin Gaethhje (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 00:45am – That’s all folks

What a night that was. UFC 254 well and truly lived up to expectations, although nobody could’ve envisaged Nurmagomedov’s retirement bombshell closing out the show.

Thanks for tuning in to Express Sport’s live coverage of the ninth pay-per-view event of the year. Take care and stay safe.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 00:39am – Khabib Nurmagomedov pays tribute to his later father on Instagram

Alongside a picture of himself and the later Abdulmanap, Nurmagomedov wrote: “When ALLAH with you, nobody can broke you, nobody.

‘Thanks, Father for everything, you teach all my life, may ALLAH grant you the highest Paradise.”

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Khabib Nurmagomedov pays tribute to his later father Abdulmanap (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 23:52pm – I don’t know what fight these two judges were watching

The scorecards for Khabib vs Gaethje have been revealed. And somehow, two judges saw the opening stanza in favour of the challenge. I’m not sure about those calls whatsoever.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 23:20pm – Daniel Cormier pays tribute to his team-mate and friend

Congratulations to the greatest champion in @ufc history,” he tweeted. “What a career, we are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with you my brother. 29-0 undefeated and undisputed. #weareaka #eaglesmma #fathersplan #heissoproud ⁦@TeamKhabib”

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: To judges gave Justin Gaethje the first round against Khabib Nurmagomedov (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 22:50pm – Dana White hails the recently retired Khabib

“What this guy has been through, we are all lucky we have seen him fight tonight. 

“Apparently he was in the hospital and broke his foot three weeks ago. He has two broken toes and a bone in his foot broken.

“That is what his corner told me. He never told anyone and is walking around. He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and the number one pound-for-pound fighter.

“You have to start putting him in the GOAT status. When guys want to fight they will fight, when guys don’t want to fight they won’t. 

“Let him take some time off, let him heal, not physically but emotionally heal, with what he is going through losing his father.”

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: An emotional Khabib Nurmagomedov retires in his post-match interview (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 22:35pm – More from Khabib

“Undisputed UFC lightweight champion, 13-0. 13 in the UFC and 29 in all my pro UFC career. I think I deserve this.

“One more thing: I want to say thank you to Lorenzo Fertitta, thank Dana [White], Hunter [Campbell]. All you guys. Thank you so much. And of course I don’t forget about Joe Silva who signed me here in the UFC.

“Joe Silva, thank you. All this UFC team, everybody around the world – this whole pandemic stuff – they’re doing great shows. Thank you so much, Justin. Justin, 2016, I remember when I cut weight you helped me a lot. Thank you, brother.

“This is fighter without cage, I know you’re great. I know how you take care of your close people. I know a lot of things about you. Be close with your parents. Because one day, it’s gonna happen something. Because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you never know.

“Thank you guys. Thank you, coach. I love you so much. My team-mates, Ali Abdelaziz, Rizan Magmedov. Alhamdulillah. Today is my last fight here in the UFC. It was my father’s dream, what else? Dustin and Conor are gonna fight in January, I choked out both of them. I’m not interested in this.”

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 22:18pm – A classy message from Conor McGregor

The rivalry between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor looks to be over following the latter’s congratulatory tweet, which read:”Good performance @TeamKhabib.

“I will carry one. Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and your family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors.”

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Justin Gaethje with a triangle choke (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 22:09pm – An emotional Khabib talks

“First of all, I want to say Alhamdulillah. God gives me everything. Thank you these guys, these guys with me and with my father for more than 20 years.

“All my team, AKA, with Coach Jav. I love you so much. All my team. Thank you.

“Today, I want to say this was my last fight. Ain’t no way I’m going to come here without my father. After what happened with my father, when the UFC called me I talked with my mother for three days.

“She doesn’t me to go and fight without my father. But I promise her it’s going to be my last fight. And if I keep my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here. I know only one thing I want from UFC on Tuesday: you guys have to put me as number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this.”

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:57pm – Khabib Nurmagomedov calls time on his career

An emotional Khabib Nurmagomedov has just called time on his legendary career. If that is the last time we see the Dagestani, it’s been an amazing career.

Thank you for the memories, sir.

 Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:50pm – Still undisputed!

Khabib Nurmagomedov has retained his lightweight title with a second-round submission victory over Justin Gaethje.

Nurmagomedov looked for the takedown immediately after the restart and was eventually successful in grounding the fight. ‘The Eagle’ moved through Gaethje’s defence like a hot knife through butter and slickly locked in a triangle choke to bring an end to Gaethje’s formidable challenge.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:47pm – Round one to the champion

Khabib Nurmagomedov takes the first round, albeit having had to absorb plenty of punishment on his chin and his lead leg.

Things could get real interesting if Gaethje keeps attacking Khabib’s lead leg. Let’s see if he goes back to that well at the start of the second.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:41pm – And so it begins

Round one of Khabib vs Gaethje is underway. Let’s see what this eagerly-anticipated lightweight title unification fight will bring us.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:31pm – Here we go, people. Time for the main event

In a matter of moments, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje will be upon is. I’ve been chopping and changing my picks all week and I’m still torn right now.

The only thing I’m predicting now is that this fight will provide fireworks. I can’t wait.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:23pm – Adesanya vs Whittaker 2, anyone?

Robert Whittaker gets the nod via unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the bout 29-28. Whittaker has looked rejuvenated in his clashes with Darren Till and Cannonier. I firmly believe that this version of ‘The Reaper’ would give Israel Adesanya a much sterner challenge than he did in their October 2019 showdown.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:20pm – What fight?

The co-main event lives up to the hype. Robert Whittaker badly hurt Jared Cannonier with a big right head kick that put ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’ on spaghetti legs and led to him being mounted.

Cannonier came roaring back late in the third, but I don’t think it’s enough for him to get the nod.

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje: Robert Whittaker rocks Jared Cannonier with a big head kick (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:13pm – Whittaker comes roaring back

A much better second round for the former champion, who had much more success with his strikes and negated the leg kicks better than he did in the first stanza.

I have it one round apiece, so it’s all to fight for in the third and final round.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 21:07pm- Leg kick city

Jared Cannonier has battered Robert Whittaker’s lead leg with vicious outside kicks. The former champion has checked a few of them, but he needs to block more of them otherwise his movement will be drastically compromised.

10-9 round in favour of ‘Tha Killa Gorilla’.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:58pm – Co-main event alert

In just a matter of moments, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will lock horns with the in-form Jared Cannonier. Whoever wins this fight will most likely earn the next crack at champion Israel Adesanya.

For me, this fight is a pick ’em. I’m absolutely buzzing for this one.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:45pm – Nasty, nasty teep

Alexander Volkov has just stopped Walt Harris with a beautiful teep that the world’s elite Muay Thai fighters would be proud of. Harris was unable to hide his agony, which prompted ‘Drago’ to swarm in for the kill.

A huge victory for the Russian, almost as huge as the new tattoo he’s sporting on his back.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:40pm – A close call for Harris

Walt Harris came dangerously close to being stopped after eating a big right hand and absorbing a barrage of follow-up strikes. ‘The Big Ticket’ did well to recover, but he’s most definitely one round down.

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Alexander Volkov swarms on a badly hurt Walt Harris (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:30pm – Heavy hitters on deck

Up next is the eagerly-anticipated heavyweight showdown between Walt Harris and former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov.

This should be a barnburner. I’m most looking forward to seeing if Harris will be able to negate the sizeable reach advantage Volkov possesses over everyone in the division.

Harris will be hellbent on making a statement against the Russian as he goes into this on the back of a TKO loss to Alistair Overeem.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:20pm – Sick promo alert

The UFC have just dropped an epic trailer for UFC 255: Figueiredo vs Perez. Deiveson Figueiredo, of course, earned the men’s flyweight title with a stunning stoppage victory over Joseph Benavidez earlier this year.

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Phil Hawes made a statement in his UFC debut against Jacob Malkoun (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:10pm – A short night at the office for Hawes

Phil Hawes has just made a statement by searching Jacob Malkoun in his UFC debut. The Dana White Contenders Series alumni could very well be leaving Fight Island with a $ 50,000 bonus in his pocket.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:01pm – We move to the middleweight division 

Up next is a middleweight clash between Jacob Malkoun and Phil Hawes. I’m unsure about who will win this one, so I’m not gonna make any predictions.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 20:00pm – Conor McGregor makes his prediction for the main event

“He’s going to be on the back foot from the bell,” McGregor said. “Khabib is going to be trembling in there like he always does. He’s the most easily backed up fighter in the game.

“Gaethje will know this and he’ll get low in his stance,” the Irishman continued. “And Gaethje’s style is a style to get in and beat that jab nice and low.

“And while Khabib’s head is in high, come in with a big shot. And he could very well knock him out. Very, very well knock him clean out.

“He’s got good wrestling,” McGregor said of ‘The Highlight’. “Does he have grappling with his wrestling? I do not believe so.

“I believe if Khabib gets him down, I believe it could be over early in the first. I probably favour Khabib. But Gaethje could very well ]knock him out.]”

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Lauren Murphy lands a huge left hand on Liliya Shakirova (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 19:52pm – Lauren Murphy’s assault on the flyweight title continues

Lauren Murphy submits with a second-round rear-naked choke. That’s four wins in a row for Murphy. A title shot should, in theory, be her next fight.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 19:35pm – We return to the to the flyweight division

Up next is a 125lb clash between Lauren Murphy and Uzbekistan’s Liliya Shakirova. Murphy is currently riding a three-fight win streak, so a win here could earn her a crack at the winner of Valentina Shevchenko’s title defence against Jennifer Maia.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 19:27pm – The rivalry is over

Magomed Ankalaev has just ended his rivalry with Ion Cutelaba in devastating fashion. A big right hand and a left hook from the Russian floored Cutelaba and the Dagestani didn’t waste the golden opportunity to close the show, unleashing a flurry of ground-and-pound that prompted the referee to call a halt to proceedings.

Ankalaev was, understandably, over the moon to have settled the score, saying: “I wanted to make this statement for a long time. And I finally did it.”

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 19:20pm – Ankalaev vs Cutelaba 2 is finally about to go down

After three failed attempts, Magomed Ankalaev’s rematch with Ion Cutelaba is about to take place. Their first meeting, of course, ended in controversy.

Let’s hope we get a more definitive ending second time around.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 19:10 – A reminder of the main card odds

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje – Khabib: 2/7 — Gaethje: 11/4

Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier – Whittaker: 10/11 — Gaethje: 10/11

Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris – Volkov: 4/7 — Harris: 6/4

Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes – Hawes: 2/5 — Malkoun: 2/1

Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cuțelaba – 3/10 — Cutelaba: 5/2

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 19:00 – Main card time

Okay, folks. That concludes the prelim portion of UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje. The main card will shortly be upon us.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 18:45pm – Bam Bam is back

Tai Tuivasa certainly made the most of his second chance in the UFC, stopping Stefan Struve in the first round. He’s over the moon to be back in the win column.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 18:37pm – Heavyweights on deck

A heavyweight showdown between Stefan Struve and Tai Tuivasa is up next. Tuivasa will be looking to make a statement against the ‘Skyscraper’ after being released and re-signed by the promotion.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 18:30pm – That was ‘Fight of the Night’ for sure

As promised, Nathaniel Wood vs Casey Kenney delivered in spades. I had it one round a piece going into the final round, which I feel Casey took with his change in approach.

The judges agreed, awarding the Indian native a unanimous decision victory with 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 scorecards.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 18:20pm – This is a fire fight, folks. 

This is an absolute barnburner, folks. Both men came out swinging early doors and had success with their power shots, with Wood’s lead left hook landing often in the first round.

Kenney has taken the second round, in my opinion, so it could be all to fight for in the third and final stanza.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 18:10pm – Nathaniel’s pre-fight prediction

“I see myself winning by TKO or knockout in the second round,” the Cage Warriors alumni said. “I think in the first round, he’s going to come out very aggressive and think he can stand with me.

“And in the second, I’m going to start to pick him apart and finish the fight.”

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Shavkat Rakhmonov submits Alex Oliveira (Image: GETTY)

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 18:00pm – Prospect time

London’s Nathaniel Wood is about to throw down with former Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champion Casey Kenney.

This fight will be a catchweight bout as former Cage Warrior’s bantamweight king Wood accepted the fight on three weeks’ notice.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 17:50pm – Cowboy gets lassoed

Shavkat Rakhmonov has just made a statement by submitting Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira with a first-round guillotine. 

The Kazakh, who is now 13-0, has well and truly put the welterweight division on notice with that victory.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 17:40pm – We move to the welterweight division

Up next is a welterweight bout between the always entertaining Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira and UFC newcomer Shavkat Rakhmonov. Oliveira fights never disappoint, so expect fireworks, folks.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 17:35pm – What a fight that was

Somehow, Sam Alvey managed to survive hell-storm from Da Un Jung to make it to the judge’s scorecards. And like myself, all three judges scored the contest as split draw.

I, for one, would happily watch these two dance again. 

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 17:25pm – Jung starting to take over

Da Un Jung began to take control in the second round, in which he continued to stalk a retreating Sam Alvey. That dance continued in the third, in which Jung began to unload with his strikes and dropped Alvey with a nasty elbow.

Alvey is in big trouble in this round and needs to put his foot to the pedal to prevent being finished.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 17:14pm – A close first round

Both men had their moments in the first round, although Jung lead the dance and landed the heavier shots

He did, however, eat a big right hand with two minutes of the round remaining. That shot, for me, has swung the round in Alvey’s favour.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 17:00pm – Fight Pass Prelims are over

The UFC Fight Pass portion of the prelims are over. Up next is a light-heavyweight bout between Da Un Jung and Sam Alvey.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 16:44pm – What a debut from Maverick

Amanda Maverick has arrived in the UFC. The former Invicta standout has just made a statement in her UFC debut, stopping Liana Jojua via first round TKO.

Maverick was getting the better of the exchanges throughout the contest and opened up a nasty cut on Jojua with a beautifully-placed lead elbow that left Georgian a bloody mess.

Jojua made it to the end of the second round, but the referee wisely called a halt to the contest after seeing the horrific nature of the cut she suffered.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 16:38pm – Okay, now we’re actually underway

After a longer than expected intermission, Jojua and Maverick is finally underway. As expected, these ladies are trading heavy leather early, with Maverick getting the better of the exchanges so far.

Khabib vs Gaethje Live – 16:25pm – We move to the flyweight division

Up next is a women’s flyweight bout between Liana Jojua and Miranda Maverick, the latter of whom will be making her promotional debut.

Maverick was victorious in her last outing, defeating former UFC star Pearl Gonzalez via unanimous decision at Invicta 39.

Khabib vs Gaethje LIVE – 16:15pm – Short night at the office for Alvarez

Joel Alvarez has just made light work of Alexander Yakovlev, submitting the Russian with a nasty first-round armbar.

The Spaniard will no doubt be delighted with his latest submission triumph. I look forward to seeing what’s next for him.

Khabib vs Gaethje LIVE – 16:10pm – The show is underway!!

Here we go, folks. After months of waiting, UFC 254 is finally underway. I, for one, could well and truly get used to these early shows and not having my sleep pattern destroyed by the late cards.

Kicking things off in Abu Dhabi is a lightweight bout between Joel Alvarez and Alexander Yakovlev. This one should be a cracker.

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: Joel Alvarez submits Alexander Yakovlev with a slick armbar (Image: GETTY)

UFC 254 odds (courtesy of Bet365)

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje – Khabib: 2/7 — Gaethje: 11/4

Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier – Whittaker: 10/11 — Gaethje: 10/11

Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris – Volkov: 4/7 — Harris: 6/4

Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes – Hawes: 2/5 — Malkoun: 2/1

Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cuțelaba – 3/10 — Cutelaba: 5/2

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: UFC takes place at the Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (Image: GETTY)

UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje card fight card

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje – (lightweight title unification bout)

Robert Whittaker vs Jared Cannonier – (middleweight bout)

Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris – (heavyweight bout)

Jacob Malkoun vs Phil Hawes – (middleweight bout)

Lauren Murphy vs Liliya Shakirova – (women’s flyweight bout)

Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cuțelaba – (light-heavyweight bout)

Khabib vs Gaethje RECAP: UFC 254 results as Khabib RETIRES after submission win in UAE

Khabib vs Gaethje Live: The official UFC 254 poster (Image: UFC)

Prelims

Stefan Struve vs Tai Tuivasa – (heavyweight bout)

Alex Oliveira vs Shavkat Rakhmonov – (welterweight bout)

Da Un Jung vs Sam Alvey – (light-heavyweight bout)

Nathaniel Wood vs Casey Kenney – (catchweight bout – 140lb)

Liana Jojua vs Miranda Maverick – (women’s flyweight bout)

Joel Alvarez vs Alexander Yakovlev – (lightweight bout)


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