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BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: (R-L) Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia punches Al Iaquinta in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

 After a tumultuous week, Khabib Nurmagomedov finally achieved his goal of becoming the undisputed UFC lightweight champion via a unanimous decision victory over Al Iaquinta in the main event of UFC 223. 

The Russian had to deal with a slew of opponent changes throughout fight week before landing on the New York native but took care of business all the same. 

Nurmagomedov won all five rounds of the fight, relying on his grappling early and allowing his striking to be put to the test in the later rounds. MMA analyst Patrick Wyman broke down The Eagle’s performance:

Iaquinta should be credited for putting in a tough performance on short notice. Ragin’ Al hung tough with the new champion for five rounds and landed enough punches to raise questions about Nurmagomedov’s striking defense but not enough to take a round. 

Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports was one of many who gave credit to the late replacement:

The win obviously marks the beginning of a new era for the lightweight division. With Conor McGregor now stripped of the belt and Tony Ferguson presumably stripped of his interim title, there’s still quite the logjam in the division now:

But after the bout it wasn’t a lightweight Nurmagomedov said he wanted to see next. Instead, he called for a fight against Georges St-Pierre, per Shaheen Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting. 

The lightweight title fight put the cap on an exciting, abbreviated night of fights. Although there were only nine fights on the card it was a strong night of good action. Here’s a look at the quick results along with a closer look at all the main card bouts.

Main card 

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Al Iaquinta via UD (50-44, 50-43 x2)
  • Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision (49-46 x3)
  • Renato Moicano def. Calvin Kattar via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2) 
  • Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Kyle Bochniak via UD (29-28, 30-27 x2) 
  • Chris Gruetzemacher def. Joe Lauzon via second-round TKO (5:00) 

Undercard

  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Felice Herrig via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Evan Dunham via first-round TKO (0:53) 
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith def. Bec Rawlings via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
  • Devin Clark def. Mike Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: (L-R) Rose Namajunas punches Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in their women's strawweight title bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zu

Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The first time Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk met, it was a quick display of violence from Thug Rose. This time it around it was a slow burning back-and-forth striking battle that resulted in a unanimous decision for the champion to successfully defend her belt. 

Namajunas got off to a strong start once again. Joanna Violence struggled to find the range while Namajunas landed impact strikes in the first two rounds. 

However, the third round turned out to be a turning point as Jedrzejczyk’s leg kicks piled up and limited Namajunas’ mobility. The fourth round was one that many on Twitter thought went to the challenger, even if the judges’ scorecards all read 49-46:

Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report had a simple critique after the scorecards were read:

The fifth and final round was once again a battle of both fighters throwing heavy leather. Regardless of the scoring, it was a bout that brought out the best of both combatants.

There shouldn’t be a third fight immediately, but it’s hard to think there won’t eventually be a third fight between Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk even with Namajunas holding a 2-0 record against the former champion. 

Calvin Kattar vs. Renato Moicano

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: (R-L) Calvin Kattar punches Renato Moicano of Brazil in their featherweight bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty I

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Renato Moicano suffered his first professional loss to Brian Ortega last time out but got redemption in a unanimous decision victory over Calvin Kattar. 

The two engaged in a back-and-forth kickboxing affair, but it was Moicano’s leg kicks and counter right hand that were able to carry the day. 

The UFC passed along the typical highlight for the Brazilian in this fight:

It wasn’t the most entertaining bout as neither fighter was in danger of being finished. However, it was an impressive display of crisp striking for Moicano and a respectable performance from Kattar. 

The featherweight division is a difficult one to stand out in. It’s simply too deep for all the skilled fighters to get their due, but Moicano is doing his best to get into the mix there. 

Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Kyle Bochniak

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: (R-L) Zabit Magomedsharipov of Russia punches Kyle Bochniak in their featherweight bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC fans learned two things when it came to the matchup between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak: 1. Magomedshapirov has a bright future in the organization and 2. Bochniak is incredibly tough. 

Magomedsharipov showcased why he’s such a highly touted prospect. He showcased a myriad of striking techniques that landed cleanly while occasionally mixing in dominant grappling and a fun takedown for good measure:

From spinning kicks to vicious lead elbows, Magomedsharipov unleashed a three-round assault that made him the unquestioned winner by decision. Bochniak refused to be finished, though. Instead he was more than happy to take on whatever his opponent had to offer for the chance to throw shots of his own. 

The end to the fight embodied Bochniak’s devil may care attitude:

In the end, Magomedsharipov looked every bit of the future contender that he’s been touted to be and Bochniak showed he has a future as an action fighter with the organization. 

Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Joe Lauzon

Chris Gruetzemacher got back in the win column in a big way. Taking advantage of a late promotion to the main card, the 31-year-old drew a second-round stoppage against UFC mainstay Joe Lauzon after Lauzon’s corner called a stoppage to the fight. 

Lauzon came out strong and aggressive, looking like he might turn back the clocks early. However, when the initial surge of offense subsided, Gruetzemacher went to work on destroying Lauzon’s body on the inside. 

With a barrage of punches, kicks and knees to the body, Gruetzemacher put on a clinic in clinch striking, overwhelming Lauzon with volume. While Lauzon has displayed incredible toughness in his career, his corner knew to throw in the towel after the brutal round. 

Damon Martin of FloCombat praised the decision:

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: (L-R) Chris Gruetzemacher punches Joe Lauzon in their lightweight bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The win snaps a two-fight losing skid for Gruetzemacher while it shows Lauzon might officially need to hang up the gloves after 42 professional fights. He’s now lost three in a row.

Bleacher Report – Front Page

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