Undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated late replacement Al Iaquinta to become UFC lightweight champion in the main event of UFC 223 On April 7, winning two 10-8 rounds and leaving Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with barely a scratch.
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan who came under some criticism after heavily judging of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s performance, particularly in the third and fourth rounds when Nurmagomedov and Iaquinta engaged in a standout game, outside of Nurmagomedov’s usual comfort zone. Rogan however, saw holes in Khabib’s boxing and believes ‘The Eagle’ should have been more dominant against Al Iaquinta.
‘The Eagle’ held his record perfect going by defeating Iaquinta in all departments and his superiority was fairly rewarded with a unanimous decision of 50-44, 50-43 and 50-43.
Rogan responded to criticism via social media post on Sunday night:
“It is insanely rare to have a fighter as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov in one of the most talent stacked divisions to go 25 and 0 is incredible, but to do it without even having a rough moment in a fight is completely unheard of,” Rogan posted on Instagram yesterday. “The closest thing to adversity he’s had to face in the Octagon before Saturday was one solid punch that was landed by Michael Johnson in a fight that was otherwise a horrifically one-sided mauling.
“When I’m commentating on someone that dominant I am constantly looking for cracks in their armor, and on Saturday night we saw the first of those cracks exposed by an incredibly game Al Iaquinta. Most people, myself included, expected the highly favored Khabib to rag doll his last minute opponent the way he’s done to everyone else he faced in the Octagon, and that was the case in the early going, but as the fight got into the later rounds Al was able to keep the fight standing and we saw some possible flaws in Khabib’s defense.
“Make no mistake about it, Khabib won that fight by a landslide, but it went to a decision, and that in and of itself was an upset. When I’m looking at a fighter as spectacularly talented as Khabib fighting a guy like Al who is an almost impossible underdog I’m not just looking at this fight, but I’m looking at openings that can possibly be exploited by the best fighters in the division. I saw some of those openings Saturday night, and I certainly found them interesting. In no way am I biased against Khabib, in fact I’m a massive fan of his and he’s one of my all time favorite fighters. If any of you were annoyed by my concentrating on that aspect of an incredibly dominant performance by one of the most impressive guys in the history of the division, please accept my sincere apology. When I commentate on fights my goal is to highlight the action and make it more exciting for the fans at home. Obviously all this is done live in real time, and if I had to go back and do it again I would often be able to do a better job. Even after all the years I’ve been commentating I still learn something new about the position with each and every event, and when that stops happening that will most likely be when I quit.”
After the victory, Khabib Nurmagomedov has set his sights on super-fights with Conor McGregor or Georges St-Pierre.