Khabib Nurmagomedov, despite an undefeated record, has been working hard since he arrived in the UFC to earn the respect of fans and peers alike.
After his first-round drubbing of Octagon veteran Thiago Tavares on his home turf at UFC on FX 7 on Saturday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nurmagomedov should start getting his just due.
Tavares looked confident from the opening bell, cutting off Nurmagomedov’s movement around the Octagon, but when they began striking, it was immediately apparent that the Russian’s timing was far superior to that of Tavares.
Any time Tavares tried to kick, Nurmagomedov countered. Any time Tavares threw a punch combination, Nurmagomedov countered.
Then, just under two minutes into the opening round, Nurmagomedov saw and opening and floored Tavares with a leaping uppercut.
He immediately followed the Brazilian to the mat, punishing him with a relentless series of elbows that went on for far too long before referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in to call a halt to the fight.
Nurmagomedov has now won three consecutive fights in the UFC, notching his overall record up to 19-0.
He has yet to fell a Top 10 opponent, but with the way he is rolling through everyone the UFC puts in front of him, Nurmagomedov is likely to start ratcheting up the level of opposition from here on out.