The “Eagle” landed in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday night, as Khabib Nurmagomedov made a successful return to the Octagon opposite Darrell Horcher at UFC on FOX 19.
Although sporting a spotless record, Nurmagomedov’s run to the title has been stalled over the past two years, with the Russian fighter dealing with injuries. On Saturday night, however, he picked up right where he left off.
Nurmagomedov was just lucky to remain on the UFC on FOX 19 fight card though. He lost his main event status when original opponent Tony Ferguson had to drop off the card due to doctors discovering fluid in his lungs.
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Horcher had been lobbying for a shot in the Octagon for some time. The Cage Fury lightweight champion finally got his opportunity, stepping in for Ferguson on short notice. It was a valiant effort, but not the outcome that Horcher had hoped for.
Although Nurmagomedov started slowly, shaking off two years worth of ring rust, he eventually timed his shot, scooped Horcher up and slammed him to the canvas midway through the first round. Landing in half guard, he patiently worked his way to side control and dropped some heavy elbows, before scrambling to take Horcher’s back and punish him with punches until the end of the opening stanza.
Things didn’t get much better for Horcher in the second round.
With the rust completely gone, Nurmagomedov shot for another takedown. Horcher defended well, but Nurmagomedov was tenacious, eventually tossing him to the mat and landing in side control.
From there, Nurmagomedov patiently worked his way into a crucifix position, trapping Horcher’s arms, leaving him nearly defenseless ….View full article