Last weekend, the UFC headed to the United Arab Emirates for a special pay-per-view. The evening had 13 fights, including a main event involving Russian Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim Lightweight Champion Dustin “Diamond” Poirier. In a building that was built specifically for the event, UFC 242 started with eight preliminary fights. 

Bout 1: Fares Ziam (10-2) vs. Don Madge (8-3-1) (Lightweight)

The evening kicked off with Fares Ziam and Don Madge in a lightweight bout. Madge tried for a takedown in the opening moments of the bout. They stayed clinched up against the cage for a while as no takedown was landed. Ziam gave Madge tons of knees to the thighs while in the clinch. With just under two minutes left in the round, the referee put them back in stand-up due to inactivity. Madge clinched up again, trying for a takedown which Ziam avoided. Madge did another body lock early in the second round. As the second round was closing out, Madge finally scored his first takedown. The final round was a dominant one for Madge, doing pretty much what he did in the two rounds before. The judges all had Don Madge getting the win (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ziam 9 9 9 27
Madge 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Zak Cummings (23-6) vs. Omari Akhmedov (18-4-1) (Middleweight)

The next fight had two much more experienced MMA fighters in Zak Cummings and Omari Akhmedov face off. There was a pause very early on as Akhmedov was hit in the groin. Halfway through the first round, Cummings dropped Akhmedov with a left hook. He was able to get back up and continue in the fight. Akhmedov got a double leg takedown with two minutes left in the first round. Akhmedov had a good second round, out-striking Cummings on the feet, and then getting in some ground and pound in with less than a minute left. Akhmedov got another takedown near the end of the final round. Similar to the round before, Akhmedov ended the round with some ground strikes. Omari Akhmedov got the unanimous decision win when they turned to the judges (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Cummings 9 9 9 27
Akhmedov 10 10 10 30

Bout 3: Muslim Salikhov (14-2) vs. Nordine Taleb (15-6) (Welterweight)

Tristar Gym’s Nordine Taleb was pitted against Muslim Salikhov in the next fight. The fight started off somewhat slow with both fighters being weary of each other’s power. Salikhov landed a good spinning kick which got Taleb in the mid-section. A pause came shortly after as a kick hit Salikhov in the groin. In the final minute of the first round, Salikhov floored Taleb with a right hook, immediately earning the victory via walk-off KO.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Salikhov
Taleb

Bout 4: Takashi Sato (15-2) vs. Belal Muhammad (15-3) (Welterweight)

After his impressive UFC debut, Takashi Sato was put against Belal Muhammad on this card. Muhammad’s striking was looking sharp early on. Muhammad got a takedown, but Sato got up shortly after. In the final minute of the first round, Muhammad got a slam takedown and took the back of Sato, looking for a rear naked choke. Muhammad had another good round, although Sato had a decent moment near the end, landing a takedown and staying in control on the ground. Muhammad failed to score a takedown early in the third round. When he tried again he succeeded. Muhammad took Sato’s back quite easily and applied a rear naked choke which eventually made him tap out. Getting his first career win via submission, Belal Muhammad got his second victory in a row.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Sato 9 9
Muhammad 10 10

Bout 5: Teemu Packalen (8-2) vs. Ottman Azaitar (11-0) (Lightweight)

Switching over to ESPN for the rest of the preliminary card, Teemu Packalen versus Ottman Azaitar was up next. Both fighters were landing hard shorts early on. While Packalen was having his moments, it was Azaitar who was getting more action in. Packalen shot for a single leg takedown but had it denied. With over a minute left in the first round, Azaitar landed an overhand right which dropped Packalen. Extending his undefeated streak, Ottman Azaitar impressed in his UFC debut.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Packalen
Azaitar

Bout 6: Sarah Moras (5-6) vs. Liana Jojua (7-2) (Bantamweight)

The first of two female fights of the evening featured Sarah Moras and Liana Jojua. Moras aimed to even her record with this fight. Moras had Jojua up against the cage for a large amount of the first round until the referee separated them. Moras was pushing the pace of the fight, consistently coming forward. In the second round, Jojua was able to get the top position on the ground. Moras was able to reverse the position after a minute or so. Jojua had top position for a decent amount of time in the start of the thirds round. Moras was able to get top position and start getting strikes off. After tons of unanswered strikes, the referee eventually stepped in, giving Sarah Moras a win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Moras 10 10
Jojua 9 9

Bout 7: Lerone Murphy (8-0) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4) (Featherweight)

The next preliminary fight had English fighter Lerone Murphy attempt to extend his undefeated streak against Zubaira Tukhugov. In the second minute of the fight, Tukhugov dropped Murphy with strikes. He got back up, but at tons of strikes in the process. Tukhugov swarmed Murphy on the ground, staying on him and throwing him back down when he would get back up. Murphy’s only real offense was an upkick at the end of the round. Murphy got more striking in at the start of the second round. Tukhugov landed a strong double leg takedown, but on the ground Murphy nearly got a guillotine choke in. When standing up, Murphy put in another guillotine that Tukhugov had to fight out of. While Murphy got some good punches in later, Tukhugov scored another takedown before the round ended. Murphy’s takedown defence got stronger in the final round, finally stuffing a takedown. Tukhugov’s grappling overwhelmed Murphy for most of the final round, making it so that he was defending and never really getting to attack. The scorecards added up to a rare split draw (29-28, 29-28 & 28-28). Lerone Murphy stayed undefeated, but added a “1” to the third column of his record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Murphy 8 10 9 27
Tukhugov 10 9 10 28

Bout 8: Andrea Lee (11-2) (#6) vs. Joanne Calderwood (13-4) (#5) (Flyweight)

The final preliminary bout on the card was flyweight prospects Andrea Lee and Joanne Calderwood facing off. It was the first fight on the card that included ranked fighters. With over a minute left in the first round, Lee caught a kick, and used it to take the fight to the ground. Lee scored a solid takedown early in the second round. Calderwood got a takedown of her own in the closing seconds of the second round. Calderwood had a more busy final round, out-striking Lee. Going to the scorecards, the judges had a split decision, with the win ultimately going to Joanne Calderwood (29-28 Lee, 30-27 Calderwood & 29-28 Calderwood).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Lee 9 10 9 28
Calderwood 10 9 10 29

Bout 9: Diego Ferreira (15-2) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) (Lightweight)

The main card kicked off with Diego Ferreira and Mairbek Taisumov. In the first round, Taisumov stayed on the outside of the octagon, circling around Ferreira. Taisumov rocked Ferreira with a punch halfway through the round. Ferreira had a good closing moments of the round, landing a few good strikes. Taisumov scored a good judo throw early in the second round. Ferreira was much more generous with strikes in the second round. Taisumov was getting tagged much more. Ferreira applied the pressure from the very start of the third round. The third round was the best one for Ferriera, who landed tons of combos while not getting anything in response. Diego Ferreira walked away with the victory (29-28, 29-27 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ferreira 9 10 10 29
Taisumov 10 9 9 28

Bout 10: Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4) (#9) vs. Curtis Blaydes (11-2 1 NC) (#4) (Heavyweight)

In the next fight, the show went to the big boys as ranked heavyweights Shamil Abdurakhimov and Curtis Blaydes competed. Blaydes shot for a takedown early, taking the back of Abdurakhimov. They got back up after Blaydes was dominant on the ground for a couple of minutes. Blaydes got another takedown and continued to smother Abdurakhimov. Blaydes finally started to unload some strikes on the ground in the final seconds of the first round. As expected, Blaydes got another takedown early in the second round. Blaydes started with the ground and pound again, with the referee ending the fight after a cut was opened on Shamil Abdurakhimov’s face.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Abdurakhimov 8
Blaydes 10

Bout 11: Davi Ramos (10-2) vs. Islam Makhachev (17-1) (#15) (Lightweight)

Before the main event, we got two lightweight bouts between high level fighters in the division. The first of two fights was Davi Ramos versus Islam Makhachev. Early in the fight, Ramos stopped a takedown attempt by Makhachev. The striking was pretty quiet from both fighters in the first round. Ramos tried to score a takedown early in the second round after a combination of punches, but Makhachev stopped it. Halfway through the round Ramos landed a jab which wobbled Makhachev. In the final round there was a scary moment for Ramos, where he was dropped by a knee and hit with more strikes on the ground. He was able to recover but gave Makhachev the top position on the ground. The fight went all fifteen minutes with all three judges handing it to Islam Makhachev (29-27, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ramos 9 9 9 27
Makhachev 10 10 10 30

Bout 12: Paul Felder (16-4) (#10) vs. Edson Barboza (20-7) (#7) (Lightweight)

The co-main event of the evening was a lightweight rematch between Paul Felder and Edson Barboza. There was a pause in the first round after a clash of heads caused a cut on Felder’s head. Luckily, the fight was able to continue. Felder was the one coming forward throughout the first round. While Felder opened the second round with clean striking, Barboza scored a takedown in the second minute of the round. An elbow cut open Barboza in this position. Felder tried for an armbar from bottom position but couldn’t get it. Both fighters were swinging away in the final minutes of the fight. Barboza scored one last takedown as the fight was about to end. The scorecards were split, with Paul Felder being favoured (30-27 Barboza, 29-28 Felder & 30-27 Felder). He was quite emotional afterwards. The win for Felder makes the rivalry 1-1 between the two.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Felder 10 10 10 30
Barboza 9 9 9 27

Bout 13: Dustin Poirier (25-5 1 NC) (IC) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

Finally, the main event of the evening was the clash between the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion, Dustin Poirier, and the Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. The crowd was very pro-Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov shot for his first takedown a minute and a half into the fight. Poirier was initially able to prevent it, but Nurmagomedov’s pressure made it so that they eventually went to the ground. Nurmagomedov got on the back of Poirier and tried for a rear naked choke. Poirier escaped, and was also able to get back up, albeit in a standing clinch against the cage. Nurmagomedov took it back to the ground again before the round ended. In top position, Nurmagomedov let some punches go at the end of the first round. More stand-up was showcased in the second round, with Nurmagomedov retreating at one point because Poirier was landing some solid shots. Nurmagomedov got his fourth takedown, smothering Poirier for a few minutes. Poirier got a guillotine when standing against the cage with a minute left in the second round, but Nurmagomedov popped out of it eventually. Nurmagomedov got a takedown in the third round, with Poirier trying for a guillotine again. Nurmagomedov stayed in it for some time but stayed composed and eventually worked his way out of it. Nurmagomedov took the back of Poirier, eventually putting in a rear naked choke which made Poirier tap out. Khabib Nurmagomedov earned his 28th professional win, putting on an amazing performance against Dustin Poirier.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Poirier 8 9
Nurmagomedov 10 10

This weekend, UFC heads to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for UFC on ESPN+ 16. The main event of the card features “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone facing Justin Gaethje.