Nurmagomedov defeated Patricky Freire
via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44) at Bellator 288 on Nov. 18 in Chicago to become the new Bellator Lightweight Champion.
The defensive striking was on display for Nurmagomedov in this one, as he kept his distance and used a steady diet of leg kicks to keep the current champion at bay. It was far from the most fan-friendly fight, but more than enough to get the job done. What's also impressive is that outside of Rounds 3 and 5, Nurmagomedov didn't have to lean on his trademark wrestling and suffocating ground-and-pound to get the job done. Nurmagomedov now sports an undefeated required of 16-0, and the 24-year-old continues to improve under the tutelage of former UFC Champion and cousin Khabib Nurmagomedov. He has the skills to remain champion for an extended run under the Bellator banner.