UFC 242 – The big showdown in Abu Dhabi

The UFC returns to Abu Dhabi this September for the first time since UFC 112. Headlining the card will be the UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov, fresh off his suspension, against the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier. This is a stellar match up that most didn’t predict would happen. Firstly, many predicted Poirier to lose his rematch to UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway at UFC 236. Secondly, most of us thought Tony Ferguson would surely be Nurmagomedov’s next fight, perhaps he’ll be next after this.

The Undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion looks to make it to 28-0 with a win over ‘The Diamond’, as the challenger will attempt to unify his interim title. Poirier has had a rocky road, but nonetheless boasts a great record and resume at 25-5 (1 NC). Nurmagomedov hasn’t lost more than three rounds in his entire career, the only two that’re notable is one round against Gleison Tibau, and round three against Conor McGregor, a fight he dominated.

He finally got his title shot two fights ago, after years of domination and battling injuries, and hasn’t disappointed since. Same for Poirier, he’s been there and done that just as much as anyone, and has really come into his own these last three years or so. At featherweight, we knew he was a real talent, but now that he’s filled out his frame in the 155 lb division, he’s close to unstoppable. The champion has proven thus far to literally be unstoppable, this fight is going to be guaranteed chaos!

I think a fight we could take something from when predicting this is Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Al Iaquinta; Poirier is kind of like a more well rounded, harder hitting version of Iaquinta with better BJJ and different footwork, and Khabib only had a few hours to mentally prepare to fight him with no physical preparation. Both of these guys are in their primes as well, just like Nurmagomedov’s last fight with ‘The Notorious’. How does this high-level match up between these two 30-year-olds go?

Co-headlining the card will be a bout between top ten lightweights, as the #7 ranked Edson Barboza takes on the #10 ranked Paul Felder, a rematch from their 2015 showdown. Both men are Taekwondo black belts, and each of them also have another black belt in a striking art, Barboza’s in Muay Thai, and Felder’s in Shotokan Karate.

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Their first fight was a little closer than most expected it to be. Barboza won 29-28 on all scorecards, out striking Felder in rounds one and three. Both men landed a high percentage of leg kicks as well, Barboza’s at 82% with 23 landed, and Felder at 76% with 16 landed. Felder has improved immensely since their first fight, and Barboza has gone through some wars since. ‘The Irish Dragon’ has gone 6-3 since this fight, and ‘Junior’ has gone 4-4 since. That’s not to say Felder wins, it’s a fight, we have to wait and find out. How does this rematch go?



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