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Khabib Nurmagomedov unifies UFC lightweight title upon return from ban

Khabib Nurmagomedov unified the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title with a third-round submission win over interim champion Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Dagestan native, 30, escaped a guillotine choke to take Poirier's back before shifting his position and sinking into a rear naked choke.

Poirier, 30, quickly tapped, sending the crowd favourite to a career 28-0 at UFC 242.

Nurmagomedov dominated the fight and was rattled just once when Poirier clipped him with a right hand in the second, forcing him to scramble before recovering and soon taking the American back to the mat.

The titles were unified with UFC having two lightweight champions. Poirier became interim champion in April due to holder Nurmagomedov being suspended.

The victory marked Nurmagomedov's return to the octagon since serving the suspension for his involvement in a brawl following last October's fight with Conor McGregor.

Nurmagomedov referenced his feud with the Irishman, whom he has accused of insulting his family and religion.

"MMA is not about trash talking, this is what we show with Dustin Poirier and his great team," he said.

Nurmagomedov was overwhelmingly the crowd favourite, with fans roaring into chants of "Khabib".

Poirier, who became interim lightweight champion when he beat Max Holloway at UFC 236, apologised for the defeat.

"Now I've got to wake up and look myself in the mirror every morning with this result," he told the crowd. - REUTERS

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