UFC 242 ‘Khabib vs. Poirier’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
Sep 7, 2019
The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 242 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Sherdog's live UFC 242 “Khabib vs. Poirier” coverage begins Saturday at 10:15 a.m. ET.

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Fares Ziam vs. Don Madge

Round 1

Kicking off this morning of fights in Abu Dhabi is a lightweight affair between Ziam (10-2, 0-0 UFC) and Madge (8-3-1, 1-0 UFC), with each man trying to smash the other's five-fight win streak. The referee for this opening bout is Peter Hickmott. The two touch gloves, and Madge starts out with several hard leg kicks before pressing into the clinch to pursue the body lock takedown. Madge puts on heavy pressure; while eating a few short knees, Ziam tries to trip his opponent to no avail. The two jockey for position against the fence, and Ziam briefly gains the advantage, using that position to throw a few knees of his own along with a sharp elbow when trying to break away. Madge stays high and tight, keeping hold of his foe until Hickmott separates the two. Madge immediately comes forward to swing leather and a solid body kick, all while trying to initiate the clinch and go after a takedown that he cannot secure. Ziam tries for a takedown of his own but is rebuffed, and of the two fighters, Ziam appears to be landing slightly more effective strikes when he controls the clinch. With 10 seconds left, Madge tries for one last trip but cannot hit it, and the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ziam
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ziam
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Madge

Round 2

Like the first round, Madge charges forward when the round opens and uses his wide striking to get back into the clinch. Ziam then takes charge to spin around, breaking away and chasing down the South African with swarming punches. Madge does not let this fight stay at distance for long, and again leans into the clinch, where he is the closest he has been to scoring a takedown -- but Ziam stays upright. The two men go back and forth turning each other and gaining the advantage for a moment. Although they separate briefly, Madge will not allow this to go on for long, once again racing forward to initiate the clinch. Hickmott tells the fighters to work and then quickly separates them. After throwing a head kick that gets blocked, Ziam looks to take the fight down to the canvas but nothing doing. With 20 seconds left in the second stanza, Madge lifts the French fighter up and slams him down to the canvas, where he holds top position and scores a couple powerful punches until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Madge
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Madge
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Madge

Round 3

Unsurprisingly, in less than five seconds Madge has already closed the distance to gain the clinch position. Madge wraps his arms around his adversary's body and almost spins him down, but Ziam is wise to it and stands them back up. Madge goes in deep on a single leg takedown, and Ziam uses a kimura attempt to stave off the attack. Ziam shouts as he explodes out of the position, but Madge stays strong and drags Ziam down with a double leg takedown. "Smile Killer" stays strong and returns to his feet, but Madge is relentless as he goes after a single leg takedown. Ziam again uses the kimura to try to shuck off his opponent, and Madge rolls through it and we go back against the fence. Madge manages to score another takedown as he doggedly tries to get this fight down, and postures up to land a few hard elbows. Sitting comfortably in guard, "Magic Man" evades any upkicks and counteroffensives from the downed fighter, as he lands a little more ground-and-pound to grind out the rest of the round, which then ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Madge (29-28 Madge)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Madge (29-28 Madge)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Madge (30-27 Madge)

The Official Result

Don Madge def. Fares Ziam via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Zak Cummings vs. Omari Akhmedov

Round 1

Up next is a scrap in middleweight between Cummings (23-6, 8-3 UFC) and Akhmedov (18-4-1, 6-3-1 UFC), with the latter the first of many representatives tonight from the fighting region of Dagestan. Overseeing this fight is referee Marc Goddard. The fight begins at range, thankfully, as Akhmedov stays away with a few low kicks while Cummings paws out his right hand to find his range. The American throws out a low leg kick which clanks off Akhmedov's cup, and the action is briefly paused. We resume with Akhmedov firing a hard leg kick at Cummings' lead leg. Another inside leg kick causes Cummings to grimace and switch stances, and we can already see some marking on Cummings' lead leg. Akhmedov ducks down to throw a big right hand, and Cummings counters with a head kick that is barely blocked. The two clash together and Cummings scores with a left hand that drops Akhmedov, who bounces right back to his feet with a cut under his right eye. Akhmedov times a double leg takedown attempt well, and uses it to scoop up the American and violently slam him down to the canvas. Straight into half guard, he drops a few shots before Cummings attempts a sweep that is successful until Akhmedov gets the fight right back down. Akhmedov dives down with a huge forearm that would make Dan Henderson blush and loudly misses, and the two stand back up as the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov

Round 2

The round begins with the two men again trying to find their range, and Akhmedov finally commits to a big right hand that is just short of the mark. A one-two catches Cummings a little off guard, who wobbles briefly, but it could have been because he lost his balance. Akhmedov digs in another leg kick, and Cummings wears it well. Akhmedov sits down on a huge right hand that whiffs, but this time he follows it up with a left that does land. Cummings throws a lazy leg kick and Akhmedov fires back with another effective one-two. The two engage in a staring contest for about 30 seconds, and Akhmedov suddenly throws a spinning back fist that nearly finds its target. He uses this aggression to press Cummings against the fence, and donates a few solid knees to the cause for good measure. Cummings, with his back against the fence, pulls for a guillotine choke and tries to pull guard, but Akhmedov uses this to get the fight down with ten seconds left. The Russian sits up and lands a few power punches as the round expires.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov

Round 3

The final round begins with Cummings faking and feinting, missing with an overhand left and a head kick while Akhmedov tries to counter. "The Wolverine" leaps in with a knee to the body, and backs away before Cummings makes him pay for it. The Russian slaps Cummings' lead leg with an audible kick, and follows that with two sharp jabs. Cummings throws so hard he nearly falls over, and then they stand and trade on one another's faces. Standing at kickboxing range, the two trade leg kicks until Akhmedov tries for a takedown that is stuffed. Akhmedov circles away from the power left hand of Cummings, and quickly dives in for a double leg takedown that he scores. Sitting up in half guard, Akhmedov drops down a few elbows and some hard right hands to the delight of the crowd. Sitting on top, the horn sounds twice and the fight is now over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov (30-27 Akhmedov)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov (30-27 Akhmedov)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Akhmedov (30-27 Akhmedov)

The Official Result

Omari Akhmedov def. Zak Cummings via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Nordine Taleb vs. Muslim Salikhov

Round 1

We move to the welterweight division, where France's Taleb (15-6, 7-4 UFC) takes on flashy Dagestani striker Salikhov (14-2, 1-1 UFC). The referee is Herb Dean. Taleb runs forward to initiate action and leads with a couple body kicks as he circles around. Salikhov throws a leg kick that puts Taleb off balance, and Taleb comes right back with another body kick. Salikhov stings Taleb with a few leg kicks to the lead leg of Taleb, and the two feint and fake to figure out their range. Taleb pops Salikhov with a left jab, and Salikhov unleashes the first spinning strike of the fight, in the form of a spinning back kick that tags the Frenchman in the body and makes him smile. Taleb responds with a kick to the groin, and we take a break. Dean gives Taleb a stern warning, and we start things up again. Salikhov slams into Taleb's lead leg with another kick, and Taleb briefly switches stances to remedy this. Taleb fires a leg kick back and Salikhov is paying attention, scoring one of his own in a sharp reply. A spinning back kick from the "King of Kung Fu" misses, and Taleb tries to counter but is off target. Salikhov slowly advances to back Taleb against the fence, and launches a thunderous right hand that sends Taleb crashing to the cage floor. A follow-up punch is unnecessary, as Taleb is staring at the lights with this monster knockout. Salikhov has now finished his opponent in 14 of his 15 victories, and perhaps none bigger than this.

The Official Result

Muslim Salikhov def. Nordine Taleb R1 4:26 via KO (Punch)

Belal Muhammad vs. Takashi Sato

Round 1

Headlining the early prelims by staying at welterweight, Muhammad (15-3, 6-3 UFC) looks to spoil Sato's (15-2, 1-0 UFC) sophomore Octagon appearance. Drawing the assignment for this one is referee Viacheslav Kiselev. As the fight begins, the two try to find their distance and jab at one another. Muhammad fires a right to the body and a left to the head, and then tries for a looping right hand that is barely blocked. He does this two-punch combination two more times, working the body and head indiscriminately and effectively. A big left hand cracks Sato, who backs away against the fence, and Muhammad charges in to try for a takedown and takes the back of his Japanese opponent. Muhammad lifts up Sato and drops him down, but Sato bounces back up and keeps the jab flowing. "Remember the Name" goes after a right high kick that does not quite find its mark, but a right hand following up does. Sato scores over the top with a right, and Muhammad uses this brief lull in the action to again wrap his hands around his adversary's waist. Sato circles away, and Muhammad shoots for a double leg takedown and emphatically puts Sato down. In the ensuing scramble, Muhammad takes Sato's back and secures the body lock. Cracking Sato with elbows, the horn sounds and this exciting round is over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad

Round 2

As the second round begins, Sato scores with a left hand up top and then one more to the body. He ducks away from the combinations of the American, and avoids a high kick as well. Muhammad briefly considers a takedown and Sato defends it well. Muhammad goes back to the combination that served him well in the opening stanza, with a right to the body and left to the head. Muhammad then leans on a few more left hands, scoring on each of them until he shoots at a distance for a takedown and somehow lands it -- albeit briefly. Sato escapes by trying to throw Muhammad, who returns to that right-left combo that scores almost every time he tries it. Sato sticks out a strong left jab, as Muhammad shoots in for another takedown attempt, but Sato is prepared for it. The two separate again, and Muhammad jumps in the air with a knee that is nowhere near his opponent. Sato tags Muhammad with a straight left hand, and Muhammad returns fire with a powerful right hook that backs off Sato. The two clinch, and Sato scores a trip and lands in side control with about 30 seconds left. Sato may not land a great deal while in control, but he does end the round on top.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad

Round 3

As the third and final round commences, the two men stand in the center of the cage and trade. They appear to clash heads, causing a cut to appear on the side of Sato's right eye, but this could have also come from one of Muhammad's left hands. Sato fires off a head kick and Muhammad blocks it, with the American closing the distance to try to drag the fight down. Muhammad fails on one attempt, but does not relent and eventually gets his man to the canvas. "Remember the Name" takes Sato's back, and quickly tries for a rear-naked choke. Unable to secure it with one arm, he switches to the other and locks it up, forcing Sato to tap. With the victory, Muhammad picks up the first submission win of his career.

The Official Result

Belal Muhammad def. Takashi Sato R3 1:55 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Teemu Packalen vs. Ottman Azaitar

Round 1

Opening up the televised preliminary portion on FX for the first time since UFC 228 almost exactly one year ago is a lightweight clash between Packalen (8-2, 1-2 UFC), who is returning from a nearly 30-month layoff, and the unbeaten debutant Azaitar (11-0, 0-0 UFC). The third man inside the Octagon is referee Peter Hickmott. Azaitar leads off with a jab, and as he throws another Packalen tries to counter with a right. As Packalen comes in, it is Azaitar who counters effectively this time, scoring with his own right hand. Azaitar throws a leg kick and then a big right hand, and Packalen tries to clinch up, but Azaitar makes him pay for that with powerful shots on the inside. "Bulldozer" has his man hurt, and is charging after him with heavy hands that wobble the legs of the Finnish fighter. Packalen manages to survive a barrage, and Azaitar backs away to regroup. They come together and Packalen tries to throw a high knee on the inside, and Azaitar is waiting for it with a right hand that sets down Packalen. Not wanting to keep the fight on the canvas, we get back to our feet and Azaitar calls on the crowd to cheer. Packalen shoots for a single leg takedown and Azaitar simply steps away from it. Azaitar swings a hellacious right hand with all his might that faceplants Packalen, who is out before he hits the ground. This quickly becomes an uncomfortable scene, as an exciting knockout turns scary when Packalen is unconscious and twitching on the ground as the medics rush in. Thankfully, the Finnish fighter is OK and is assisted back to his feet, but this was a massive finish that puts the previous one-punch knockout tonight to shame.

The Official Result

Ottman Azaitar def. Teemu Packalen R1 3:33 via KO (Punch)

Sarah Moras vs. Liana Jojua

Round 1

Previously scheduled at bantamweight, Moras (5-5, 2-4 UFC) missed weight to turn this into a 138-pound catchweight contest, thereby surrendering 20 percent of her purse to her debuting opponent Jojua (7-2, 0-0 UFC). Keeping watch over the first women's bout the promotion has held in the United Arab Emirates will be referee Marc Goddard. Moras starts out with a left jab as she chases Jojua, who replies with a leg kick. The two come together and swing, and neither connect with anything substantial but they both land a left hand when they break apart. UFC commentator Dominick Cruz attempts to cut a promo for his commercial fame of Toyo Tires, awkwardly saying they are "the best" when there is a lull in the action. Moras fires a strong leg kick that surprises Jojua, who has yet to really commit to anything. As Moras kicks her opponent's body, Jojua tries to come over the top with a right hand that does not quite connect. The Canadian pushes forward and initiates a clinch, throwing a few short knees in the clinch and even a couple foot stomps. Moras scores several more knees in the clinch, working enough to keep Goddard from breaking them up. As the pace continues, Goddard does just that, and as they separate Moras swings wildly as she charges forward back into the clinch. The two may have clashed heads, but no one seems the worse for wear. The round ends with Moras leaning on Jojua.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Moras
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Moras
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Moras

Round 2

The second period begins with a blitz from Moras, who leads the dance as she throws looping hooks while Jojua tries to respond in kind. In an exchange, Moras appears to show a little damage under her right eye, with a bit of swelling forming, but she does not pay it any mind as she pushes in to the clinch. Jojua is more active defending in the clinch, but Moras is the stronger fighter, maintaining a constant frustrating offense with knees. Jojua tries to scramble away and "Cheesecake" aims for a standing arm-triangle setup, but in the process falls to her back. Jojua jumps down into her guard, but Moras is aggressive with submission attempts off her back, setting up multiple triangles that are staved off and even once pursuing a triangle armbar that is shucked off. The Canadian kicks Jojua away and reverses the position, ending up in "Mgeli's" guard. Although Jojua tries to swing a few elbows from her back, Moras is keeping on heavy pressure and responding with her own thudding elbows. Moras postures up and drops down a few heavy elbows that are mostly blocked, but she does score one that follows. The second round comes to a close with Moras on top.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Moras
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Moras
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Moras

Round 3

The final round begins with Jojua leading the dance for the first time, as she shoots in for a takedown that she lands. Moras is active off her back again, throwing sharp elbows with a high guard perhaps to set up a triangle. Jojua stands up to avoid a submission attempt and drops down to land strikes, but misses. Unable to land any significant ground-and-pound, Jojua stands up and they return to their feet. This does not last long, as Moras promptly takes Jojua down and hammers her with serious elbows as she takes full mount. Jojua tries to roll out and gives up her back, and Moras searches for a submission until Jojua spins out. The Canadian does not stop with the offense, hammering Jojua with elbows and punches as she hops into side guard. Continuing to rain down powerful ground-and-pound, eventually Goddard has seen enough, calling an end to the fight to spare Jojua from any more damage. This is a big win for "Cheesecake," who might have been at risk of losing her roster spot with another defeat.

The Official Result

Sarah Moras def. Liana Jojua R3 2:26 via TKO (Elbows and Punches)

Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Lerone Murphy

Round 1

As the only featherweight matchup on the card, Tiger Muay Thai standout Tukhugov (18-4, 3-1 UFC) will look to hand Octagon newcomer Murphy (8-0, 0-0 UFC) his first career defeat. Refereeing this 145-pound tilt will be Herb Dean. Murphy leads things off with a few jabs to the body, and fires a leg kick that spins Tukhugov around. Murphy switches stances briefly, and scores with another leg kick while Tukhugov tries to close the distance as he whiffs with a big right hand. Tukhugov loads up with that right hand and partially lands it, and then follows with a left that drops Murphy. The Russian swarms Murphy, hammering him with short punches against the fence and eventually taking his unbeaten opponent down. Scooping out the legs of the Brit, Tukhugov does not unload much ground-and-pound, instead intent on securing a position. Murphy tries to stand back up, but Tukhugov trips him down to the canvas and takes half guard. Tukhugov hops back and forth trying to advance position, and settles for half guard once more. Murphy returns to guard, and Tukhugov continues to put on heavy pressure as Murphy tries to roll out. In the process, Murphy gets his back to the fence, and tries to return to his feet. When the 10-second clapper sounds, the English fighter tries to secure a kimura sweep, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Tukhugov

Round 2

Murphy starts the round off with a few jabs and a solid body kick, while Tukhugov backs away. Murphy whiffs with a one-two, but follows it with two body kicks. A right hand for Murphy scores behind the jab, and Tukhugov bites down on his mouthpiece to wing a right of his own. The Russian times a takedown perfectly, planting Murphy on his backside. As Tukhugov is complacent, Murphy rolls for a guillotine choke and almost hits it, but Tukhugov spins through it and the two stand back up. Tukhugov wants to drag this right down, aiming for a single leg, while Murphy pursues that guillotine once more. Tukhugov survives it again and they return to their feet. Murphy cracks Tukhugov with a stiff right hand that backs off the Russian, and Tukhugov replies with a left hook. Murphy unloads with a body kick and then a head kick, and as he overcommits to an overhand left, Tukhugov times the takedown and gets the Brit down. The second round comes to a close with Tukhugov on top.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Murphy
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Murphy
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Murphy

Round 3

The doctor comes in to check on Tukhugov and clears him, and Murphy is charged up. The Brit scores with a few right hands, and is stalking down Tukhugov, who tries to time a takedown. Murphy is wise to it and stuffs it this time. Murphy misses with a left hand and Tukhugov tries to counter, following a looping shot with a double leg takedown attempt. With his back against the fence, Murphy drops down a few elbows to the side of his opponent's head, as Dean calls for action. As Tukhugov drops down, Murphy spins away and pours it on. With Murphy getting a little reckless, Tukhugov sees an opportunity and takes Murphy down. Murphy is doing everything he can to scoot out and does so, but Tukhugov grabs and holds on to Murphy's back. Dean shouts that the fighters need to work, chastising Tukhugov for trying to hold position without doing anything with it. Ignoring the referee's cries, the exhausted Russian continues to press for a takedown, and although he lands one, Murphy pops right back up as the final bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov (29-28 Tukhugov)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov (29-27 Tukhugov)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov (29-28 Tukhugov)

The Official Result

Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Lerone Murphy is ruled a Split Draw (28-29, 29-28, 28-28)

Joanne Calderwood vs. Andrea Lee

Round 1

The main attraction on the FX prelims is a potential women's flyweight title eliminator, as Calderwood (13-4, 5-4 UFC) tries to stave off the streaking Lee (11-2, 3-0 UFC). The referee in charge of the preliminary headliner is Viacheslav Kiselev. The fight begins as the two trade kicks, matching one another. As Lee comes forward, Calderwood replies with a right hand, and the Scot peppers her opponent with teep kicks. Lee sits down on a leg kick as she gets hit up top, but she responds with a few sharp jabs and leg kicks. Calderwood counters Lee's aggression with a solid left hand, and Lee's face is already reddening up. Lee scores with a knee as Calderwood closes in, and Lee pops Calderwood with a right hand that bloodies the nose of "Jojo." The American unleashes a series of body shots, and the two are standing and banging, until suddenly Calderwood catches Lee's leg and takes her down. Lee pops back up and eats a knee for her troubles, and Calderwood cracks Lee with a vicious elbow that drops the American briefly, although she recovers. Calderwood fires a head kick that Lee grabs, and now it is Lee that takes the fight down. In three-quarter guard, Lee rains down elbows in order to pass to side control. This thrilling round ends with Lee on top of her opponent.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Lee
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Lee
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Lee

Round 2

As the second round in, Calderwood starts out with a few long push kicks, and Lee comes forward to clinch up, but they separate shortly thereafter. Calderwood pulls for a Thai clinch and each score a knee before breaking up. Lee shoots for a single leg takedown and scores it, and while Calderwood pops to her feet Lee does not let go and gets the Scottish fighter down. Holding half guard, Calderwood spins out and gives up her back, but not before eating a few elbows and knees to the body. "Jojo" explodes out of the position, but Lee is glued to her opponent. Calderwood breaks away, scoring another stern right elbow. Trading punches over the top, they take turns hitting each other in the face before Lee goes to the body. Lee tries for a turning back kick that is not successful, and now Calderwood goes for a body lock takedown. Unable to land it, Calderwood keeps the American against the fence to land a few knees to the body. Maintaining heavy pressure, now Calderwood scores a double leg takedown with about 20 seconds left, as she cracks Lee with another elbow as "KGB" gets to her feet. The horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood

Round 3

The final round commences with the two trading kicks, as "Jojo" looks to score a few body kicks with her lead leg. Lee cracks Calderwood with a solid right hand, and the Scot retaliates with a combination punctuated by a kick. They go kick for kick to each other's legs, and Lee tries for a spinning back kick that does land. A front kick to the body from Calderwood causes Lee to grimace, and Calderwood takes the opportunity to kick the American in the face as well. Lee comes forward to try to clinch up, and emulates "Jojo" by aiming for an elbow on the break. Lee lands a takedown that Calderwood escapes from, and Lee hops on to the Scottish fighter's back for a moment. Bailing on that attempt, they exchange knees and elbows until they separate. As Lee attempts another takedown, Calderwood catches it and spins off Lee, using the moment to fire off a few knees to the head. Although Lee has her back against the fence, she is active with her offense until "Jojo" drags the fight down. This fun fight concludes with the two women going strike for strike in the clinch, and this is a close one. The judges might have their hands full here.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood (29-28 Calderwood)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood (29-28 Calderwood)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood (29-28 Calderwood)

The Official Result

Joanne Calderwood def. Andrea Lee via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Mairbek Taisumov vs. Diego Ferreira

Round 1

To begin the UFC 242 pay-per-view main card, we shift gears to the lightweight division, where we will stay for four of the next five. First up is Russian powerhouse Taisumov (27-5, 7-1 UFC), who faces off against Sherdog.com's 2018 "Walkout Song of the Year" winner Ferreira (15-2, 6-2 UFC). Keeping the good tunes going, Ferreira walks out to "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurythmics. Our referee is Herb Dean. Ferreira initiates the action in this contest, pressing forward with a few lead jabs. Taisumov swings with a hard leg kick and the Brazilian eats it. Taisumov fires off a few hard one-two combinations, and punctuates them with a solid leg kick. When Ferreira ducks down, Taisumov catches him with a hard uppercut, but Ferreira responds effectively. Taisumov sits down on another uppercut when he senses Ferreira coming in, but it is blocked. A fierce leg kick sits down Ferreira, although he gets back to his feet without any follow-up. Maintaining the pressure, Ferreira partially lands a head kick, and Taisumov comes back with a vengeance in the form of a right hand that buckles the Brazilian. Ferreira backs against the cage on wobbly legs, and avoids any additional damage until he regains his composure. Successfully utilizing fakes and feints, he draws out some big swings from Taisumov that fall short. As Ferreira closes the distance, Taisumov tags him again, but this time Ferreira walks through it and even attempts a hook kick. The Brazilian ducks a huge overhand right, and goes over the top with a high kick that just misses the mark. Taisumov capitalizes with another stiff leg kick, although Ferreira replies with a right hand as the horn sounds. Ferreira is fired up, and salutes the crowd while sticking his tongue out and grinning.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Taisumov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Taisumov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Taisumov

Round 2

Ferreira comes out with a front kick, and Taisumov is prepared and aims for a looping counter punch that just misses. Ferreira is aggressive, chasing down the Russian and avoiding most of the powerful strikes from Taisumov. Dodging a left hand, Ferreira shoots for a takedown but Taisumov hits a judo throw to reverse the attempt. The two men both spring to their feet, and Ferreira leads with his head, causing Dean to pause the fight and warn Ferreira about using a headbutt. Ferreira nods, and the action continues, where the Brazilian is pouring on the pressure. Taisumov sits back and throws a hard right hand that glances off Ferreira's chin, who walks through it. The Brazilian leads with a right hand, and keeps distance strikes going with long jabs and front kicks to avoid the hooks of "Beckan." Blocking a head kick from Taisumov, Ferreira keeps his foot on the gas with constant offense in the form of jabs and front kicks. Taisumov counters some of Ferreira's advancement with a powerful right, causing Ferreira to drop down and shoot an ill-advised takedown that the Russian avoids. A right hand from Taisumov opens up a cut on Ferreira's left eye, but he pays it no mind as he continues pressing forward with strike after strike. As Taisumov tries to counter, the round comes to an end.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ferreira
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ferreira
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ferreira

Round 3

Between rounds, Ferreira's coach Sayif Saud energizes his fighter with his advice and enthusiasm. In kind, the Brazilian comes out firing, leaping into the air with a knee that cracks Taisumov on the chin. Taisumov backs away and swings but misses, and Ferreira keeps his jab in Taisumov's face. From a long distance, Ferreira shoots for a takedown and Taisumov pushes him off while briefly searching for a neck, but there's nothing doing. Ferreira lands a serious one-two, ducking the counter from Taisumov and throwing more often. The left jab continues to find its home from Ferreira, and Taisumov has notably slowed down. The Russian tries to swing back and Ferreira avoids it, keeping on the relentless pace. Ferreira scores with a head kick that sends Taisumov bouncing off the fence, and he chases down the Russian with punch after punch. The repeated strikes bloody up the nose of Taisumov, who is searching for a one-shot knockout punch that does not present itself. Keeping with the jab, Ferreira disrupts most of Taisumov's offense while staying in his face. The Brazilian cracks Taisumov with a four-punch combination that ends with a high kick, and Ferreira will not stop. In a last ditch effort, Taisumov throws everything he has into a left hand that Ferreira walks through. With seconds left, Ferreira will not let up on his assault, and the final horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Ferreira (29-27 Ferreira)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ferreira (29-28 Ferreira)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ferreira (29-28 Ferreira)

The Official Result

Diego Ferreira def. Mairbek Taisumov via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)

Curtis Blaydes vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov

Round 1

In the lone heavyweight match tonight, Blaydes (11-2, 1 NC; 6-2, 1 NC UFC) collides with Abdurakhimov (20-4, 5-2 UFC). As he has done many times before, Blaydes walks out to the cage accompanied by the excellent choice of "Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)" by The Immortals. Keeping control of this 508-pound battle is referee Marc Goddard. The two touch gloves, and Blaydes takes the center of the cage as he tries to find his left jab. Blaydes shoots in for a takedown almost immediately and gets down the Russian. Abdurakhimov attempts to return to his feet, and eventually he does so briefly, but Blaydes slams him down and advances into side control. Abdurakhimov scoots to the fence while Blaydes fishes for an arm, and the Russian walks up the cage as the two separate. Abdurakhimov waits for Blaydes to come forward and scores an uppercut, but Blaydes shakes it off to secure another takedown. "Razor" stays very heavy on his opponent, but has not really landed any serious ground-and-pound that he has made his name. Abdurakhimov keeps a double wrist lock on Blaydes which prevents the American from gaining a dominant position, and uses this to stand up once again, but not for long. Blaydes slams Abdurakhimov down to the cage floor again, and briefly searches for a kimura before opting to throw a few punches. With 15 seconds left, Blaydes takes full mount and unloads loud punches and massive elbows, and Abdurakhimov is saved by the bell but hurt badly.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Blaydes
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Blaydes
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Blaydes

Round 2

Abdurakhimov cracks Blaydes with a quick uppercut attempting to counter a takedown, but Blaydes comes on strong and dumps the Russian to the ground. Sitting in half guard, Blaydes targets a few elbows but is more intent on advancing position, doing so by side control. Abdurakhimov turns around and Blaydes complains that the Russian is putting fingers in his gloves, so Goddard intervenes to warn Abdurakhimov. Blaydes starts swinging heavy leather with punch after punch to the face of his grounded opponent, almost ending the fight. Abdurakhimov tries to stand back up, but he gets dragged back down as "Razor" slices the Russian open and busts up his nose with a sharp elbow. Sensing the finish is right around the corner, Blaydes hammers his foe with a few more punches until Goddard mercifully calls a stop to the fight. Abdurakhimov's face is a mess, and Goddard saved the Russian from what could have been an even worse end.

The Official Result

Curtis Blaydes def. Shamil Abdurakhimov R2 2:22 via TKO (Elbow and Punches)

Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos

Round 1

Dagestan's Makhachev (17-1, 6-1 UFC) attempts to extend his win streak to six-straight when he faces off against Brazilian submission specialist Ramos (10-2, 4-1 UFC) in the lightweight division. Before the fight begins, Ramos tempts fate by walking out to "Till I Collapse" by Eminem. It's a bold strategy, let's see if it pays off for him. Refereeing this bout is Peter Hickmott. Ramos starts out early with a kick to the body, and Makhachev responds with one as well. A one-two gets the attention of Ramos, who tries for a long push kick to back the Russian away. Makhachev charges forward to try for a takedown, and the two men bounce off one another as we continue this fight in the center of the cage. With neither man committing on anything serious, the two pick at each other with kicks, until Makhachev stings Ramos with a right hand that causes the crowd to voice its approval. As Makhachev throws a left straight to the body, he jumps away as Ramos tries to counter. Makhachev sinks in an inside leg kick, and Ramos swings a big right hand that is just shy of his target. Ramos is a coiled spring, ready to capitalize on a mistake, but Makhachev stays light on his feet and avoids a couple leaping shots from Ramos. The Brazilian does catch the Makhachev on the end of a right hand, but it does not show any ill effect, and this tentative round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev

Round 2

Although Ramos walks forward from the start of this round, it is Makhachev who catches Ramos a few times with punches over the top. Makhachev sits on a head kick, and Ramos uses this moment to attack, swinging wildly while charging at his opponent. The Brazilian attempts a takedown although Makhachev stays strong and pushes him off, but not before Ramos scores a right hand on the break. Makhachev starts throwing a stiff right jab that stifles any offense from Ramos, and the crowd does not approve of the lack of action. Makhachev tags Ramos, but Ramos cracks the Russian with a jab and briefly drops him as Makhachev tries for a takedown, causing Makhachev to shake out the cobwebs for a moment. Seemingly recovered, Makhachev lands a solid one-two that Ramos shrugs off. Ramos tries to swing a few times but Makhachev blocks or evades the attacks from the Brazilian. Makhachev pops Ramos with another combination that sees Ramos' nose start bleeding a little. Ramos leaps forward, and Makhachev is quick on the counter with a left that appears to open a cut around Ramos' right eye, and the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev

Round 3

Ramos charges forward but his recklessness proves to his disadvantage, as Makhachev blasts Ramos with a knee that sets "The Tasmanian Devil" down. Makhachev senses the finish could be coming, and unloads with a flurry of punches that forces Hickmott to take a close look at the action. Ramos manages to survive the assault, although he continues to eat punches off his back. The Brazilian tries to explode out of the position but Makhachev hangs tight, keeping heavy in full guard while staying busy. Ramos hooks his toes in the cage multiple times and he is warned for doing so, but is otherwise unable to get up. The Russian is prepared to defend any submission attempt that could be coming his way, and he will not allow Ramos to get back to his feet. Ramos starts throwing elbows and punches from his back, attempting any offense that he can muster, as the two appear to have a brief conversation that might be lost in translation. Ramos kicks off and Makhachev backs away, and the fight is over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev (30-27 Makhachev)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev (30-27 Makhachev)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Makhachev (30-27 Makhachev)

The Official Result

Islam Makhachev def. Davi Ramos via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder

Round 1

In a rematch of their thrilling 2015 "Fight of the Night" encounter at UFC on Fox 16, Barboza (20-7, 14-7 UFC) will once again contend with Felder (16-4, 8-4 UFC) at lightweight. In charge of the Octagon is referee Herb Dean. Much like their first fight, Barboza begins with a leg kick, but Felder is prepared and counters with a spinning back first. He does this a second time, but these low kicks are already causing damage to Felder's lead leg. Absorbing another leg kick, Felder presses forward aggressively as they trade, and grabs the clinch before briefly considering a takedown. Barboza cracks with another few leg kicks, and Felder bites down on his mouthpiece and swings hooks. Engaging in the clinch again, Barboza separates with a sharp elbow, and then scores a fierce body kick. Felder calls to Dean that the two clashed heads and opened up a large cut, and after a break the doctor clears him and we get back to the action. Felder checks a leg kick and tries to counter with a left hand that just misses. The American whiffs with a spinning wheel kick, Barboza sinks in another kick to "The Irish Dragon's" midsection. Felder chases down the Brazilian with a few right hands, and checks another leg kick as he presses forward. Closing the distance, Barboza tries to land an elbow, and the round ends with Felder showing some serious damage on his face.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Barboza

Round 2

Felder starts the second round with a fury, swinging a spinning back fist that partially lands, and then checks a counter kick from Barboza. The Brazilian goes after the body with a spinning kick, and Felder walks through it. Felder stings Barboza with a low kick, and then tags him with a left hand that forces Barboza to take the fight down. Felder slashes at his opponent's head and cuts him open badly with a few elbows, and now both men are bloodied up. The American avoids most of the attacks off his back while targeting some more elbows. Suddenly, Felder grabs hold of Barboza's arm to pull for an armbar, and Barboza escapes but in doing so, they get back to their feet. Trading leg kicks, Felder chases the Brazilian down but Barboza counters with a left hook. Felder loads up on his punches and misses, but he does score a punch to the body as he closes in to clinch with "Junior." The American is unable to secure a takedown, and Barboza makes him pay with a strong body kick. Felder charges forward with an elbow that is short of the mark, and then he shoots in for a takedown but cannot land it. The second round ends in the clinch, and Barboza appears visibly exhausted.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Barboza

Round 3

The two men embrace as the final round opens. What ensues is a vicious exchange by both men, swinging with reckless abandon and landing on one another. Felder chases down Barboza with right hands, although the Brazilian is still willing and able to land the body kick. Felder catches Barboza with a short right hand, who eats it without flinching. Barboza stings Felder with a right hand counter over the top, and then backs away to score another kick to the body. Swinging with a spinning back fist, Barboza connects but does not appear to do much damage with it. Felder rushes in with a powerful elbow, causing Barboza to flee. The Brazilian lets fly a spinning back kick, and lands it as Felder tries a spinning back fist. Pressing the action, Felder connects several times with jabs before scoring with hooks. The American crashes in with a few hooks as he clinches up with his opponent, as "Junior" lands a knee before circling away. Barboza attempts a takedown with 30 seconds left but is stuffed, and continues to go for it as he lands it with seconds left. Felder pops up quickly and the final horn sounds, as both men celebrate after a wild battle. This is a close one, and just as exciting as the first time they met. No matter who wins this fight, it would be hard to argue against wanting to see them share the cage a third time.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Felder (29-28 Barboza)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Felder (29-28 Barboza)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Felder (29-28 Barboza)

The Official Result

Paul Felder def. Edson Barboza via Split Decision (27-30, 29-28, 30-27)

UFC Lightweight Title Fight
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier

Round 1

A rare title unification bout is about be underway in the lightweight division, as unbeaten divisional kingpin Nurmagomedov (27-0, 11-0 UFC) attempts to halt the momentum of interim champ Poirier (25-5, 1 NC; 17-4, 1 NC UFC). Our referee for the final fight of the evening is Marc Goddard, and hang on tight because here we go! Poirier begins with a low leg kick that Nurmagomedov ignores, as the crowd chants "Khabib" exceptionally loudly. The American aims a kick at the body, and Nurmagomedov catches it so Poirier pulls it back. Nurmagomedov slowly advances and ducks down to fake a takedown or at least make Poirier think about it, and he eats a few kicks. Nurmagomedov dives in for a single leg takedown and Poirier defends it until Nurmagomedov gets him down. In a scramble, Nurmagomedov takes the back of Poirier, and gets his hooks in before jumping on top. The Russian then briefly looks for a choke attempt, and abandons it when Poirier defends it. "The Eagle" drops down some stiff ground-and-pound, before he goes after another choke that appears to be more of a neck crank. Poirier escapes this and manages to get back to his feet, and in the clinch he even scores a knee to Nurmagomedov's body. Nurmagomedov trips Poirier down, and the crowd chants "Khabib" even louder than before. The American briefly pops back up, but Nurmagomedov sucks him back down to the canvas. In full mount, Nurmagomedov smashes down with a few elbows to end the round in style, but when the horn sounds Poirier springs back to his feet and grins at his unbeaten adversary.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Nurmagomedov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Nurmagomedov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Nurmagomedov

Round 2

Like the first round, Poirier starts with a low kick. Nurmagomedov jumps in the air with a flying knee, and although he misses he beckons Poirier on but gets cracked. Poirier has hurt him, and Nurmagomedov is wobbly on his feet, so Poirier chases him down with punches and body kicks. Nurmagomedov is loose but appears to have regained his composure, and snags a takedown to the delight of the crowd. Putting Poirier's back against the fence, Nurmagomedov continues with his oppressive ground-and-pound, and badly cuts the eye of the American. Poirier manages to return to his feet but shows some serious damage, until Nurmagomedov drags Poirier down once more. "The Diamond" tries to defend a takedown attempt with a guillotine choke, but there is nothing to be had, although he does get Nurmagomedov off of him for a moment. Not one to let his opponent rest, Nurmagomedov surges forward to score another takedown. Although Poirier gets up, he eats a knee as the horn sounds, and the American looks discouraged already.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Nurmagomedov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Nurmagomedov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Nurmagomedov

Round 3

As he did in the first two rounds, Poirier begins with a few leg kicks, but Nurmagomedov does not show any concern as he leaps forward into a takedown. Poirier grabs hold of the Russian's neck with a guillotine and the choke is surprisingly tight. After a brief scare, Nurmagomedov turns away and pops his head out, and the crowd erupts in support of "The Eagle." Taking Poirier's back, he goes after a rear-naked choke attempt, and after bailing on it he softens him up with a few punches. He uses this opportunity to snatch up the neck of Poirier, and this time it's for real. Squeezing with all his might, Nurmagomedov forces the American to tap out, and the crowd is deafening. Nurmagomedov advances to 28-0 with an outstanding performance, and in doing so unifies the lightweight belts. Like he did at UFC 229 last year, Nurmagomedov vaults out of the cage, only this time to the relief of everyone it is to leap into an embrace with UFC President Dana White. In his post-fight address, Nurmagomedov brings forward his father and head coach Javier Mendez, thanking them and his training partners for all they did for him. Graciously, the undisputed champ puts on a shirt of Poirier, vowing to sell his shirt and donate all the proceeds to his respected opponent's charity.

The Official Result

Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Dustin Poirier via R3 2:06 Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
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