UFC 165 kicked off with a lightweight tilt between Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov. The bout proved to be an absolute grind—the exact type of fight Healy is known for putting on—but it was Nurmagomedov who emerged victorious.
The rising Russian star moves to 5-0 in the UFC and continues to push toward the title picture.
What we'll remember from the fight
It was a fairly entertaining scrap. Not always pretty, but the pace was solid and it featured a little of everything.
Aside from the action itself, we'll remember the fight as Nurmagomedov's first signature win. His coming-out party, as it were.
Oh, and that slam in Round 3. Nurmagomedov channeled his inner-Matt Hughes for that baby.
What we learned about Nurmagomedov
He's for real. At 25, "The Eagle" picked up the biggest win of his career, and did so convincingly. What's more is that he outpaced Healy, which is not something that many fighters can do. Ask Jim Miller.
Nurmagomedov looks to be a well-rounded, tough and fit lightweight. It will be interesting to see what the UFC does with him going forward.
What we learned about Healy
He put up staunch resistance, but he was simply outclassed. There was nothing in his performance that says Healy won't stick around in the lightweight mix, but I wonder exactly where his ceiling is.
It may be unfair at this point to write him off as a gatekeeper, but when you see him fight a gifted guy like Nurmagomedov, you've got to wonder whether his limitations will keep him a very good, but not great, fighter.
What's next for Nurmagomedov
He asked for a title shot after the win, but I don't think the UFC will oblige. The victory over Healy was a good one, but he needs something more.
A fight with Rafael dos Anjos would be worth doing.
What's next for Healy
How about Myles Jury? For Healy, it would be a chance to rebound. For Jury, a chance to break through to the next level.
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