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Khabib celebrates his UFC 223 winGetty

UFC 223: Khabib Nurmagomedov crowned lightweight champion in Brooklyn

Russian dominates last-minute replacement Al Iaquinta to claim title stripped from Conor McGregor

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Simon Head
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Undefeated Russian powerhouse Khabib Nurmagomedov captured the undisputed UFC lightweight title with a dominant five-round win over New Yorker Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 - then called for a superfight with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre.

Iaquinta was promoted up the Brooklyn card to face Nurmagomedov after interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, then featherweight world champion Max Holloway, were withdrawn from the main event with the Dagestani star through injury and weight-cutting issues respectively.

But while the heavy-handed New Yorker fought gamely, he had no answer to the dominance of 'The Eagle', who extended his perfect professional record to 26-0 with a landslide unanimous decision victory, with scores of 50-44, 50-43 and 50-43.

Nurmagomedov dominated the bout from start to finish, mauling Iaquinta with his wrestling and grappling in the first two rounds, then out-striking him in the remaining three rounds.

After paying tribute to his coaches and training partners, Nurmagomedov then called for a bout with Canadian legend St-Pierre in the Big Apple later this year.

"Now I want to fight with Georges St-Pierre in New York, at Madison Square Garden in November," he declared, before turning his attention to the man who’d just taken him the distance, and taking a shot at former champion Conor McGregor in the process.

McGregor appeared in court last week and was released on bail after being charged with assault and criminal mischief.

He was one of a group alleged to have vandalised a bus containing rival fighters, the Ultimate Fighting Championship said.

"Now I want to say thank you to his opponent and his team," Nurmagomedov continued.

"Iaquinta is a real Brooklyn gangster. He came here (to fight).

"Where is Conor? He wanna fight with a bus. I want to fight with a real gangster. Iaquinta, thank you so much.

"(I'm) 26-0, 10-0 in the UFC (and the) UFC undisputed undefeated lightweight champion."

Namajunas proves she's no fluke

In the night's co-main event, American Rose Namajunas cemented her position as the best women's strawweight fighter on the planet with a unanimous decision victory in her world-title rematch with former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Namajunas had scored a shock first-round finish over the Polish champion in their first meeting when she claimed UFC championship gold, but the rematch in Brooklyn went all the way to the scorecards, with the 25-year-old showcasing superb footwork and head movement while effectively countering the aggressive former champion's approach.

Namajunas took the opening two rounds before Jedrzejczyk came back into the contest through the midway point. But a strong final round for the defending champion made sure there would be no title change as Namajunas ran out the victor with scores of 49-46 on all three scorecards.

Before the bout, Jedrzejczyk had claimed her loss to Namajunas in the first contest was a direct result of a bad weight cut, suggesting the American's win was a fluke. But Namajunas proved otherwise, with an outstanding display, and made her point during her post-fight interview, simply saying: "I’m just better, man."

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Magomedsharipov and Bochniak steal the show

Nurmagomedov wasn't the only Dagestani fighter to claim a big win in Brooklyn, as countryman and highly touted featherweight prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov earned the win against Bostonian Kyle Bochniak.

Magomedsharipov was a huge favourite heading into the bout, but Bochniak refused to back down and stood toe to toe with the Russian for the full three rounds, with the bout finishing with a wild 20-second exchange as both men traded huge punches in the bout's final moments.

After claiming the decision win, Magomedsharipov called for a match-up with fellow rising star Yair Rodriguez when the UFC makes its rumoured debut in Moscow later this year.

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