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“The biggest fight in UFC history.”
The highly anticipated bout served as the event’s headliner this past October. And heading into it, UFC President Dana White was feeling good – damn good, actually.
McGregor, the UFC’s pay-per-view king, finally was coming back to MMA after nearly two years away from the octagon to challenge Nurmagomedov for his title. This was the fight everyone wanted to see, and that sentiment was only upped after the heat generated by McGregor’s infamous bus attack in April. Aside from that, everyone wondered: Could McGregor come back from such a long layoff to hand the undefeated Nurmagomedov his first loss?
There was so much at stake after such an ugly build-up.
With all that in mind, White was confident UFC 229 would garner over 2 million buys on pay-per-view. He wouldn’t even rule out 3 million. UFC 229 didn’t reach the latter, but it did well over the former with 2.4 million pay-per-view buys to smash the previous record of 1.6 million by UFC 202 headlined by McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2.
As if that wasn’t enough, UFC 229 generated a live gate of $17.2 million at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the second highest in the promotion’s history.
But the financial success of UFC 229 isn’t all that made UFC 229 special. It delivered inside the cage – and some would say out of it, too.
Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) remained perfect – and still UFC champion – after tapping out McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) in the fourth round via rear-naked choke in a bout that produced a stunning knockdown of McGregor by Nurmagomedov.The fight, however, will be largely remembered for what happened after the final bell, when Nurmagomedov jumped the octagon fence and went after McGregor cornerman Dillon Danis, inciting an all-out brawl.
Afterward, debate raged on about whether or not the brawl was a black eye for the sport – but that seemed to quickly cool down.
Outside of Khabib vs. McGregor, UFC 229 produced a “Fight of the Year” candidate in what was an all-out war between Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis that ended after two crazy rounds due to a corner stoppage (Pettis broke his hand).
UFC 229 also is responsible for MMAjunkie’s 2018 “Comeback of the Year” by Derrick Lewis, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by knocking out Alexander Volkov with 11 seconds left. And who can forget “my balls was hot” afterward?
For these reasons, UFC 229 is MMAjunkie’s 2018 “Event of the Year.”
Did you think it would be anything else?
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