UFC 254: "Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship concluded its run of events on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates with UFC 254: “Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje.” Today’s event featured a UFC Lightweight Championship bout as Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov faced Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje.

In the middleweight co-main event, former UFC champ Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker took on Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier. Elsewhere on the card, Alexander “Drago” Volkov met Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris at heavyweight. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the UFC 254 card.


UFC Lightweight Championship

Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov vs Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje

Round 1:
After a tentative opening minute, both men landed right hooks and Gaethje shrugged off a clinch attempt. He landed a leg kick and avoided more clinches. A hard right hook landed for Gaethje, but Nurmagomedov was unfazed and he chased after him with lunging hooks. Gaethje backpedalled and Nurmagomedov scored with right and left hooks. The fighters traded leg kicks and Gaethje connected with a big one-two. Nurmagomedov punched his way into a clinch and he finally got Gaethje down against the base of the cage. He mounted Gaethje and spun into an armbar attempt, but Gaethje prevented him from extending his arm. 10-9 Nurmagomedov.

Round 2:
The second round began with an exchange of left hooks and Gaethje staggered Nurmagomedov with a leg kick. Nurmagomedov responded by taking Gaethje down and he moved straight to mount. Within seconds, Nurmagomedov locked on a triangle choke. Gaethje tapped out twice, but referee Jason Herzog missed it and Gaethje was rendered unconscious.

Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov by Technical Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:34 of round two. He improves to 29-0-0 and remains the UFC Lightweight Champion.


Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker vs Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier

Round 1:
Both men landed jabs and leg kicks in the early goings and Cannonier knocked Whittaker down with a chopping kick behind his left knee. Whittaker stood and a welt immediately formed on his leg. More kicks were exchanged and Whittaker landed a forearm strike as Cannonier kicked his midsection. Whittaker backed Cannonier up with a straight right hand and he followed with a jab, head kick combo. As the round progressed, Whittaker landed long jabs and Cannonier attacked his left leg with more kicks. Whittaker landed another jab, head kick combo and Cannonier responded with two more leg kicks before the bell. Close round. 10-9 Whittaker.

Round 2:
Whittaker continued to use his jab to set up high kicks in the second round and he followed with short uppercuts in close. Cannonier created space and landed more kicks to Whittaker’s reddened left leg. Both men landed left-right combos and Whittaker established his jab again. Cannonier’s right eye began to swell up from the jabs, but he connected with a right hook and another leg kick. Whittaker snapped his head back with a lead left hook and he took Cannonier down momentarily. Cannonier stood up and circled away before attacking with more leg kicks. Whittaker backed him up with a left-right combo to the face and he followed with a hard right hand late in the round. 10-9 Whittaker.

Round 3:
Whittaker hurt Cannonier with a one-two and a head kick early in the final round and Cannonier fell on his face after stumbling backwards. Whittaker dove in with punches on the ground, but Cannonier recovered enough to trap him in full guard. Whittaker passed to half-guard and looked to set up an arm-triangle choke, but Cannonier defended. Whittaker mounted him instead and then took Cannonier’s back in a scramble. Cannonier, bleeding from near his right eye, exploded up to his feet and he held Whittaker against the cage. Whittaker pushed him away and he landed a hard jab. Cannonier finally connected with a big right hook to Whittaker’s temple and Whittaker was staggered briefly. He recovered and punched his way into a clinch against the cage before the bell. 10-9 Whittaker.

Winner: Robert Whittaker by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) after three rounds. He improves to 22-5-0.


Alexander “Drago” Volkov vs Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris

Round 1:
Harris started strong with a right hook and a series of kicks to Volkov’s lead leg and upper body. Volkov landed a solid one-two in return and he countered a Harris leg kick with a stiff jab that backed Harris up. Volkov landed a body kick soon after and that led to an exchange of power hooks. Volkov kept the pressure on with his punches, but Harris landed a left hook in return. Volkov hurt Harris with a big one-two and he followed with more punches as Harris covered up. Harris recovered and he fired back with two hooks late in the round. 10-9 Volkov.

Round 2:
The pace slowed somewhat in the second round as the fighters traded single strikes until Volkov scored with a front kick to the body that caused Harris to double over in pain. Volkov rushed in and landed follow-up right hands until the fight was stopped.

Winner: Alexander Volkov by TKO (Kick To The Body & Punches) at 1:15 of round two. He improves to 32-8-0.


Phil “Megatron” Hawes vs Jacob “Mamba” Malkoun

Round 1:
Hawes rocked Malkoun with power punches early in the fight and Malkoun retreated to the cage. Hawes unloaded with left and right hooks and Malkoun fell face-first to the canvas.

Winner: Phil Hawes by KO (Punches) at 0:18 of round one. He improves to 9-2-0.


“Lucky” Lauren Murphy vs Liliya Shakirova

Round 1:
Shakirova kept her distance and threw occasional kicks in the opening 90 seconds as Murphy walked her down and landed quick punches. Shakirova shot in for a takedown and Murphy stuffed it. She landed another combination and followed with more punches as Shakirova ducked her head. Shakirova circled to her left and she continued to throw single kicks and punches. Shakirova attempted a single-leg takedown with one minute remaining in the round and Murphy countered with elbows to her temple. The fighters separated after Shakirova threw two front kicks to the body and time expired soon after. 10-9 Murphy.

Round 2:
Murphy remained the aggressor in the second round and she forced Shakirova to circle away to her left. Murphy landed left-right combos and Shakirova responded with side kicks. Murphy punched her way into a clinch and she easily took Shakirova down. Murphy threw short punches and elbows until Shakirova kicked her off. Seconds later, Murphy took Shakirova’s back as Shakirova tried to scramble up. Murphy immediately locked on a tight rear-naked choke and Shakirova was forced to submit.

Winner: Lauren Murphy by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:31 of round two. She improves to 14-4-0.


Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion “The Hulk” Cutelaba

Round 1:
Ankalaev countered Cutelaba’s forward movement with a leg kick and a right hook early on, but Cutelaba cracked him with a pair of hard right hooks. Ankalaev landed a body kick and the fighters traded punches. Ankalaev fought off a clinch attempt by landing a knee to the body and he dropped Cutelaba with a straight left hand. Cutelaba stood up right away and he continued to walk Ankalaev down. A huge one-two from Ankalaev sent Cutelaba crashing to the mat and Ankalaev landed more punches until Cutelaba was out cold.

Winner: Magomed Ankalaev by KO (Punches) at 4:19 of round one. He improves to 14-1-0.


(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)