Umar Nurmagomedov is now 15-0 in the octagon
Buzz in the MMA world continues to increase around lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov's cousin Umar after the Russian dominated Nate Maness in Las Vegas on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 38.
The 26-year-old improved his undefeated record to 15-0 with a unanimous decision win that boasted scores of 30-27, 30-26 and 30-25.
Just ninety seconds into the bout with Khabib looking on, Umar scored his first takedown of the night and then displayed a strong grappling game that his cousin - who retired on 29-0 as the lightweight champion in 2020 - displayed throughout his career some consider the greatest of all time.
Umar, who is currently campaigning at bantamweight, almost scored the kind of submission that Khabib was famous for too but Maness was saved by the buzzer.
In round two, Nurmagomedov put his foe on his back and then landed big shots that still weren't enough to put Maness away.
In the third and final round came the highlight of the encounter, though, when Nurmagomedov dropped a hard kick in Maness' face that has since gone viral, and then landed solid blows on the Tennessee native until the final bell.
Taking to Twitter to voice his approval, former bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo, who is lobbying for a shot at current division king Aljamain Sterling, remarked that "Coach Khabib is no joke".
"I see you Umar Nurmagomedov," the mouthy Californian added.
Judging by his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping, Nurmagomedov sees Cejudo and Sterling as well.
"I'm going to continue to fight and I'm going to work and I'm going to be the champion," he vowed, while also claiming that he is ready to break into the 135lbs division's top 10 with his next fight and victory.
Elsewhere, Nurmagomedov's family member Khabib was mightily impressed by the main event which saw Armenian-Russian Arman Tsarukyan defeated by Mateusz Gamrot in a thriller that went the distance.
"I want [to] watch five more rounds. What a great fight, wow. Great matchmaking," he beamed on Twitter, while tagging the man responsible for putting the two men together in Sean Shelby.
Also extending his undefeated run to 16-0, Shavkat Rakhmonov ended Neil Magny in the second round to prolong his 100% finish rate in MMA on the road to challenging for the welterweight strap currently owned by Kamaru Usman.