Weekend Warrior: UFC 242 to Unify Lightweight Title
The struggle over who sits on the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight throne figures to reach a resolution in the UFC 242 headliner, where Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his crown against interim titleholder Dustin Poirier in a five-round unification bout at The Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Cover Photo: Logan Riely (Getty Images)
Dagestani brute: 5 Things You Should Know About Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov punches Conor McGregor. Photo: Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News (Getty Images)
Nurmagomedov has emerged as one of the sport’s titans and carries with him a perfect 27-0 record. The 30-year-old sambo stylist last competed at UFC 229 in October, when he submitted Conor McGregor with a fourth-round neck crank, retained his lightweight championship and cemented himself as MMA’s premier 155-pound fighter. Nurmagomedov was subsequently suspended for his role in a post-fight melee with the Irishman’s camp. The American Kickboxing Academy representative was a two-time gold medalist at the Combat Sambo World Championships, achieved the rank of black belt in judo and holds the International Master of Sport designation in sambo, hand-to-hand combat and pankration.
Anchored at the powerhouse American Top Team camp in Coconut Creek, Florida, Poirier enters the cage with the wind of a four-fight winning streak in his sails. He last fought at UFC 236, where he took a surprisingly one-sided five-round decision from pound-for-pound stalwart Max Holloway on April 13, the victory bringing with it the interim lightweight championship. Poirier, 30, has delivered 19 of his 25 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis were among his most recent victims.
Louisiana lightning: 5 Things You Should Know About Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier punches Max Holloway. Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
UFC 242 “Khabib vs. Poirier”—which streams to ESPN+ pay-per-view at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT—also features a lightweight co-main event pairing Edson Barboza with Paul Felder, a heavyweight clash pitting Curtis Blaydes against Shamil Abdurakhimov and two other battles at 155 pounds, as Islam Makhachev meets Davi Ramos and Mairbek Taisumov faces Diego Ferreira. FX (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT) will share coverage of the eight-fight undercard.
Meanwhile, Bellator MMA returns to the scene with Bellator 226 on Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, where Ryan Bader will defend his heavyweight championship against Cheick Kongo in the five-round headliner. Dazn will stream the event live at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.