Published Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 | 6 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 | 11:12 p.m.
Khabib Nurmagomedov may have both defended and surrendered his UFC lightweight championship belt in less than 30 seconds Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
In what’s expected to be the best-selling fight in promotional history, Nurmagomedov submitted Conor McGregor via rear-naked at 3:03 of the fourth round in the main event of UFC 229. Nurmagomedov then soiled the victory with his next move.
He first had to be restrained by referee Herb Dean as he stood over McGregor, yelling at his rival. Once the situation appeared to stabilize, Nurmagomedov leapt out of the octagon and attacked McGregor’s team.
Nurmagomedov’s own team appeared to join and start a massive brawl outside of the cage that police officers rushed to settle after roughly a minute. Multiple members of Nurmagomedov’s crew appeared to be apprehended by police as McGregor stayed in the octagon.
McGregor was eventually escorted out of the arena to massive applause. Nurmagomedov re-entered the octagon and demanded his championship belt, but UFC President Dana White refused to comply.
Drinks rained down on Nurmagomedov as a security team led him out of the arena.
Bruce Buffer read the official result once both fighters had exited, but no further announcements were made in the immediate aftermath of the event.
Nurmagomedov could likely be forced to vacate his title after the episode.
In that case, it may fall to Tony Ferguson, the former interim champion who defeated Anthony Pettis via second-round TKO in the co-main event. Ferguson and Pettis engaged in one of the best fights of the year chock full of big strikes and momentum swings until the latter broke his hand and was unable to resume the bout in the third round.
It was the rare night where everything appeared to be living up to the hype for the UFC, topped by resolution finally coming in one of the sport’s biggest all-time grudge matches. Then Nurmagomedov lost his composure, and everything changed.
This is a developing story. Check back to lasvegassun.com for more later.
Three hours before the start of the UFC 229 main card, fans had already packed Toshiba Plaza outside of T-Mobile Arena.
The scene wasn’t unlike Friday before the pay-per-view card’s weigh-ins, or even Thursday outside Park Theater leading up to the UFC 229 press conference.
This is atypical for a Las Vegas fight. Then again, this is no typical fight.
It’s becoming increasingly likely that tonight’s main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for the UFC lightweight championship will go down as the biggest fight in promotional history. UFC President Dana White has hinted the event could sell as many as 3 million pay-per-views, which would nearly double the previous record of 1.6 million for McGregor’s second bout against Nate Diaz.
Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor should commence at around 9:15 p.m. and end nearly two years worth of anticipation. At the same card McGregor became the lightweight champion — UFC 205 in New York in November 2016 — Nurmagomedov called him out after his own victory.
That began an elongated rivalry that boiled over when McGregor was arrested for throwing a dolly through a bus window before UFC 223 in February in an attempt to confort Nurmagomedov.
The whole episode made the demand for Nurmagomedov to be McGregor’s first opponent in his return to the UFC too much to ignore. McGregor hasn’t fought since UFC 205 due to his crossover into boxing to face Floyd Mayweather and prolonged contract negotiations.
During his absence, Tony Ferguson became the UFC interim lightweight champion but the UFC stripped him of the title after he pulled out of a bout with Nurmagomedov due to injury. With both Ferguson and McGregor out indefinitely, the promotion gave Nurmagomedov the title after he defeated Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.
Tonight, all three of them fight as the division moves towards resolution. In the co-main event, Ferguson meets former champion Anthony Pettis in a bout between two strikers expected to be electric.
The heavier weight classes will be showcased before the pair of lightweight bouts. Heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov will square off first, and then light heavyweights Ovince St. Preux and Dominick Reyes.
The pay-per-view starts at 7 with Felice Herrig and Michelle Waterson meeting in women’s strawweight action.
UFC 229 could be a historic night for the locally based promotion, and it’s got the environment to show for it.
Follow along all night here for round-by-round coverage, and find up-to-date preliminary results below. Check out a full betting breakdown and picks here.
Vicente Luque was the biggest favorite on the card at nearly minus-1000 (risking $10 to win $1), and he showed why in his welterweight bout. Luque knocked Jalin Turner out cold at 3:52 of the first round.
Aspen Ladd notched herself a short night in a women's bantamweight bout. Ladd beat Tonya Evinger via TKO at 3:26 of the first round.
Citing inspiration from his newborn son, Scott Holtzman put on one of the best performances of his career in a lightweight bout against Alan Patrick to open the Fox Sports 1 preliminary card. Holtzman finished Patrick via knockout at 3:42 of the third round.
An expected competitive women's bantamweight bout between Yana Kunitskaya and Lina Lansberg turned out to be anything but. Kunitskaya won every round on every judge's scorecard to pick up a unanimous-decision victory over Lansberg.
Nik Lentz defeated Gray Maynard via TKO at 1:19 of the second round. The loss was the local, two-time top contender Maynard’s sixth loss in his last eight fights.
Tony Martin began the card with a slight upset, defeating Ryan LaFlare by TKO at 1:00 of the third round.