Mark RaimondiESPN staff writer3 minutes to read
Khabib Nurmagomedov Retired from combat and training. But the Nurmagomedov family name is in safe hands in MMA.
Usman NurmagomedovKhabib’s younger cousin, stopped the former UFC champion Benson Henderson By submission (naked rear choke) in 2 minutes 37 seconds round one Friday night in the main event of Bellator 292 in San Jose, California.
Nurmagomedov made his first successful defense of the Bellator lightweight title. The match was also a quarter-finalist in the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix Championship.
Henderson announced his retirement after the match, leaving his gloves inside the cage.
Nurmagomedov dropped Henderson early with a Brazilian kick or question mark, which initially looks like a body kick but curves at the knee towards the head. Nurmagomedov grabbed Henderson right on the chin and then took his back to the ground. From there, Nurmagomedov worked up a chokehold. Henderson fought valiantly but succumbed into submission.
It was only the second time Henderson had finished in nine years. He had only been choked once before in his career, in his third professional fight in 2007.
Nurmagomedov will advance to the Grand Prix semifinals against the winner of the May 12 battle between the former champions Brent Primus And Mansour Barnawi. Nurmagomedov said in his post-fight interview that it did not matter who he faced next.
“I don’t care,” said Nurmagomedov. “Anyone. I don’t choose, I don’t choose.”
Nurmagomedov (17-0) is now 6-0 at Bellator. He was coming off winning the title Patrick Freire In November. Nurmagomedov, 24, is one of the best young fighters in the world. Last year, ESPN ranked him #1 on its list of the best MMA fighters under the age of 25.
Henderson (30-12) had a winning streak that Nurmagomedov snapped. The Arizona resident had three consecutive defenses of the UFC Lightweight Championship in 2012 and 2013, and she’s tied for the record BJ BenAnd Frankie Edgar and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Henderson, 39, is also a former WEC Lightweight Champion.
Henderson, nicknamed “Smooth,” signed with Bellator as a free agent in 2016 after winning Jorge Masvidal And I went 7-7 in promotion.
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