Bellator 288: Usman Nurmagomedov dominates Patricky Freire to win Bellator lightweight championship


Bellator 288: Usman Nurmagomedov defeated Patricky Freire to win the Bellator lightweight championship.

Usman Nurmagomedov defeated Patricky Freire via unanimous decision (50–45, 50–44, 50–44), at Bellator 288 on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, live from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL.

“Thank you so much, everybody. I don’t believe this brother. I am only 24 years. This guy made me,(as he faces timed with his cousin Khabib Nurmagomedov)… I just want to say, I’m so happy… Scott Coker thank you so much for the chance. Thank you so much coach, you guys, Khabib made me,” said Nurmagomedov.

Bellator 288: Patricky Freire vs. Usman Nurmagomedov: Round-by-round recap

The first round opened with Nurmagomedov landing leg kicks. The two fighters continued to trade kicks and strikes. Nurmagomedov threw a wide variety of different kicks, throwing from different angles and landing on different areas of Freire’s body. Freire exploded landing a two-punch combo out of nowhere.

The two continued their striking battle for the first two minutes of the second round. Nurmagomedov scored the first takedown of the fight after setting it up with a left hand. From the top, Nurmagomedov landed several punches and elbows. Nurmagomedov alternated punches to the body and head and started talking trash. Nurmagomedov landed several vicious elbows to close the round. The referee moved in to get a closer look but Freire was saved by the bell.

The second round started with Nurmagomedov going for another takedown attempt but Freire was able to defend it. Freire continued to struggle to get inside and land strikes. Nurmagomedov was going a good job maintaining distance and moving out of range after landing a strike. Freire had no answers to break the distance. By the end of the third round, Nurmagomedov had marked up Freire’s face badly.

Nurmagomedov opened the fourth round with a takedown attempt but Freire was able to escape. Nurmagomedov continued to land kicks and strikes with relative ease. Freire landed a body kick but struggled to generate any offense.

Freire entered the final round knowing that he likely lost the previous four kicks and would need a finish. Freire exploded out of his corner and landed but the momentum was short lasted. Nurmagomedov landed a takedown and controlled the positioning. The cut that opened up earlier on Freire’s face was bleeding heavily as he struggled to escape and return to his feet. Nurmagomedov moved into full mount and reigned down strikes. Freire was able to get back to his feet but did not have enough time left to land the knockout blow he needed to retain his title.

Nurmagomedov entered the Wintrust Arena with an undefeated 15-0 record with 13 finishes. The Russian fighter won his first four Bellator fights. In his last fight, Nurmagomedov submitted Chris Gonzalez. The victory was his third straight finish. At only 24 years old, Nurmagomedov is following his the footsteps of his cousin, UFC Hall of Famer, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov has plenty of time to continue to improve as a fighter and build an impressive championship reign.

The lightweight title was previously held by Patricio Freire until he decided to vacate the title. In his last fight, Patricky Freire knocked out Peter Queally in a rematch of their Bellator 258 to win the Bellator lightweight championship at Bellator 270. In their previous fight at Bellator 258, Queally knocked out Freire.

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Bellator 288: Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson 2 took place on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, live from Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. Follow along with FanSided MMA, who is on-site for all your news and highlights.