UFC 229: The Champ’s Folly

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UFC 229: The Champ’s Folly

Bree Soto, Writer

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Recently, UFC 229 took place in Las Vegas, Nevada in the T-Mobile Arena, with a total of five different main card fights scheduled to happen. UFC 229 had been talked about for months leading up to the event, and some even believed that it would be the best one yet. Would the event live up to people’s expectations?

With Conor McGregor returning to the sport after a two-year absence, people were excited to see if their champ still had it. This time, Conor faced the undefeated Russian fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Going into Conor versus Khabib, I was definitely rooting for McGregor, hoping he would make his comeback a huge success, though I knew it wouldn’t be an easy feat.

After months of verbal and physical fighting from both Conor and Khabib, it was finally time to put an end to the madness. Both sides had a lot riding on this match, with Khabib fighting to keep his undefeated record, and Conor hoping to return victorious.

From the beginning, it was obvious who’s side the crowd was on. When Khabib first pinned McGregor to the side of the cage, a series of boos erupted from the audience. They were against the wall for a long time before McGregor was pinned to the ground. Khabib was trying to wear Conor out. The majority of this round and the next round were uneventful, and dare I say, boring. Both rounds went to Nurmagomedov. By the end of these rounds, Conor’s face was already bruised. As the time went on, so was my faith in Conor’s chance to win.

Round 3 came along, and it just barely favored McGregor. Khabib tried to attempt what he had done in the previous rounds, but this time Conor was ready. He prevented himself from being pinned, once again, and was able to land a couple of blows onto Nurmagomedov. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single bruise on Khabib, while Conor seemed to be dog tired. Towards the end of the round, Khabib tried to take him down again but, McGregor was able to hold his own against the Russian. Nurmagomedov was talking to the referee in between the third and fourth rounds.

The crowd chanted “Conor” as Round 4 rolls around. The two exchanged some hits before Khabib did what he does best, he pinned Conor to the wall. Conor was able to fend him off, momentarily, but Khabib’s full weight rested on his shoulders. After a while, McGregor was sent to the ground, laying on his side while Khabib hammered him with punches. Unfortunately, this seemed to be it for the former champ. With half the round still remaining, it would have taken a miracle for Conor to pull out a win. Nurmagomedov put McGregor into a rear-naked choke, which is perfectly legal in UFC. After a few seconds, McGregor tapped out. And there I sat in shock. Never in a million years did I think that he would tap out, especially in such an important match like this.

It doesn’t end there. As soon as the horn was blown, signaling that Khabib had won, Khabib vaulted the fence, into the crowd. He went after Conor’s trainer, Dillon Dannis, while security struggled to separate them. Meanwhile, in the ring, three of Khabib’s teammates attacked Conor. A brawl broke out in the arena before security successfully contained the situation. McGregor and his team were escorted out of the building, while Dana White, the president of UFC, made the decision to not give Khabib his belt while they were in the arena. It is not yet clear if Khabib has had his belt stripped away or what charges he may be facing.

Neither attended the post-match conference. Overall, the main card matches all seemed to live up to the hype, though the brawl seemed to outshine everything great about the night. I know that McGregor wasn’t exactly a saint walking into this fight, but Nurmagomedov completely ruined his own win when he decided to attack Dannis. He should have taken the win and belt before he tarnished his record. Is the champ really so undefeated now?

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