Umar Nurmagomedov shows solidarity with Gaza victims after UFC win

Bantamweight fighter said the suffering of people of Palestine was on his mind during win over Almakhan at UFC Vegas 87

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 20: Umar Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates after his victory over Sergey Morozov of Kazakhstan in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 20, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC) *** Local Caption *** ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 20: Umar Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates after his victory over Sergey Morozov of Kazakhstan in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 20, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Latest from the Israel-Gaza war

Umar Nurmagomedov, bantamweight fighter and the cousin of lightweight MMA star Khabib, said he was in no mood to celebrate after his victory over Bekzat Almakhan at UFC Vegas 87.

Umar was the favourite, entering the contest with a 16-0 MMA record and having been undefeated in four UFC fights. However, Saturday turned out to be his toughest contest.

In the opening round, the up-and-coming Almakhan clipped Nurmagomedov with a punch that sent him crashing down to the ground. Nurmagomedov recovered but it was his first major challenge since arriving in the UFC.

Thereafter, Nurmagomedov dominated Almakhan on the ground, scoring numerous takedowns. He prevailed 30-25, 30-26 and 30-26 by unanimous decision.

It was a hard-fought win for Umar, who had been sidelined for most of 2023 due to injury. However the Dagestani said his mind has been preoccupied by the war in Gaza and the sufferings of the people of Palestine.

“I came into this fight with a lot of things on my mind. I wasn't here 100 per cent, maybe 50 per cent,” said Umar.

Praying for the victims in Gaza, he added: “I’m going to support, say support words for people in Gaza. They don’t have any food, they don’t have any water, medical, nothing. I hope this world is going to wake up and have some minimum humanity to help these guys. To help those who are going to die because of hunger.”

Talking about the fight, Umar said he was surprised by how the bout turned out.

“I didn’t see this punch,” Umar said. “I didn’t understand [what happened]. I hope it was going to be more easy. I thought I will take him down and choke him and it will be an easy fight but this guy is a monster. He’s tough and he tried to kill me,” he said.

Updated: March 03, 2024, 1:53 PM