Russian grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov earns the vacant lightweight title by stopping Al Iaquinta via scores of 50-44, 50-43, 50-43 at UFC 223’s (PPV) main event earlier this month in Brooklyn, New York. Nurmagomedov received criticism for not finishing Iaquinta, from Tony Ferguson, Nate Diaz to Joe Rogan.
During the fight, especially in the third and fourth rounds, UFC analyst Joe Rogan criticized Nurmagomedov’s striking game. However, Khabib was scoring more often than Iaquinta during those rounds.
But one person who came in defense of Khabib Nurmagomedov is Al Iaquinta who debunk all the UFC 223 critics and said Khabib’s stand up game was really good during a recent interview with MMAFighting:
“His standup was really good. I felt like I was a step behind him, just from the first two rounds of trying to get up and stay against the cage, he was kind of wearing on me a little bit. So I felt a little behind, but his jab is good. Every time I tried to let so combos go, he’s awkward, he’s got like the Russians — it’s just a different style of boxing. They were saying he’s got his head up. I connect with everybody. … It was hard to get to him. He’s tough, he’s tough. He’s got his own style. He’s awkward. Maybe it doesn’t look like it from the outside, but, he’s definitely, he’s fucking tough man. I knew we had a mutual respect on the standup when it was going back and forth, he was definitely worried about my power shots. But he kept me away with his jab and his movement was a little awkward and good.”
Nurmagomedov has never been known for his scintillating stand-up game, instead relying on his world-class wrestling power.
UFC 223 was Iaquinta’s first loss since 2014, as he now holds a record of 13-4-1.