Khabib Nurmagomedov did what he needed to do against Al Iaquinta in the UFC 223 main event. He took him down early, he took him down often, and he dominated en route to capturing the lightweight title.
The judges scored the bout 50-44, 50-43, 50-43.
Iaquinta proved to be a tough out, surviving Nurmagomedov's brutal ground and pound and grappling prowess, but Khabib's wrestling and strength were too much. Here's how Fightful saw the first round:
Round One: The round begins with Iaquinta taking a few swings at Nurmagomedov, Nurmagomedov scores a takedown on Iaquinta and he gets the half guard. Nurmagomedov transitions to back control against Iaquinta, Iaquinta scrambles to his feet and Nurmagomedov holds him against the cage wall. Nurmagomedov scores another takedown on Iaquinta and he gets the full mount, Iaquinta gets back to his feet and Nurmagomedov swings away at him. Nurmagomedov scores another takedown on Iaquinta and he gets him in the seated position, Nurmagomedov attacks Iaquinta with ground and pound. Iaquinta gets back to his feet and Nurmagomedov gets him against the cage wall as the round ends.
Iaquinta eventually had a couple of chances on the feet, but Nurmagomedov smartly controlled the distance and didn't allow for the Serra-Longo trained fight to land the big shot. And when all else failed, he had little trouble grabbing a hold of Iaquinta.
It was a whirlwind week for the new champion. He was originally scheduled to face Tony Ferguson in the main event, but Ferguson pulled out with a knee injury. Featherweight champion Max Holloway stepped up, but was deemed "unfit to fight" on Friday. Finally, UFC and the New York State Athletic Commission settled on Iaquinta as the replacement.
This doesn't even take into account Conor McGregor attacking a bus occupied by Nurmagomedov.
Following his victory, Nurmagomedov called for a fight against Georges St-Pierre at Madison Square Garden.