The question entering the lightweight bout between Michael Johnson and Khabib Nurmagomedov was simple: Could Johnson defend the Russian Sambo expert’s takedowns?
The answer was also simple: No, he could not.
Nurmagomedov dominated Johnson at UFC 205, winning by kimura at 2:31 of the third round.
Johnson controlled the pace to start, moving forward and keeping Nurmagomedov uncomfortable with extremely fast hands. Johnson had his opponent hurt, but was unable to capitalize and succumbed to a takedown with plenty of time left for Nurmagomedov to work on the ground. The Russian wrestler controlled the position and was able to land a series of elbows and punches.
With about a minute remaining in the first round, Nurmagomedov was able to tie up Johnson and keep him form escaping, teeing off in the final minute before Johnson was saved by the horn.
In the second, Johnson’s takedown defense improved, but after going to the ground to attempt a submission, he was once again under Nurmagomedov’s control, twisted like a pretzel while taking brutal shots. For the remainder, Nurmagomedov rained down an endless supply of punches to the side of Johnson’s head, but it wasn’t enough to warrant the stoppage.
Johnson threw a few haymakers to start the third, but they didn’t land, and within 30 seconds, the fight was once again on the ground. A minute later, Nurmagomedov had Johnson mounted, and within another minute, he was locking up Johnson's arm with a kimura for the submission victory.
Nurmagomedov moves to 24-0 in his career with the victory and will have a strong case to face the winner of the UFC 205 main event between Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor for the lightweight title.
“I came in and executed my game plan. Michael is good but I am the best in the world," Nurmagomedov said. "I want to stay humble but I have to talk. Ireland only has 6 million people, Russia has 150 million. I want to fight your chicken! Let’s go! Let’s go!”