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07th Oct 2018

Michael Bisping explains why Conor McGregor had to tap out in UFC 229 main event

Patrick McCarry

The UFC lightweight champion called it.

Ahead of his UFC 229 title fight against Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov told anyone who’d listen what he would do. He would smash McGregor, talk to him, maul him, make him tired, barrack his corner and eventually make him tap.

Late on Saturday night [Las Vegas time], Nurmagomedov met all of those vows to successfully defend his 155lbs belt. He then vaulted The Octagon and waded into McGregor’s cornermen and had to be escorted through a hail of abuse and beer.

The post-fight meleé has gained so many of the headlines but the fourth round finish will rankle McGregor for a while yet. For all the training and preparations – for all the takedowns he repelled and escaped from – he was beaten the way many pundits, fighters and fans predicted.

Three minutes into the fourth round and McGregor, under duress, gave his back to the Dagestani. Nurmagomedov applied a neck crank and, after a hesitant tap, McGregor relented and tapped out to signal he was done.

‘Gave up’

Over on FOX Sports, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping and current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley helped break down the main event.

Woodley believed that McGregor had tired the champion out by round three after some rope-a-dope tactics but he admitted Nurmagomedov upping the ante in the fourth saw him deservedly win. Bisping chimed in:

“Look, what happened towards the end is that Conor gave up, because the choke wasn’t even under the chin; it wasn’t on the neck.

“But it’s easy to sit here and say he gave up. When you’re tired and when you’ve been pounded for four rounds… let’s not forget that, in that second round, Khabib put it on him bad.

“It could have been close to being stopped on a couple of occasions. I’m sure Herb Dean was looking at it closely and considering saying to Conor, ‘You’ve got to do something. You’ve got to fight back‘.

“When you get to round four, the choke doesn’t need to be perfect – the technique doesn’t need to be perfect. It sucks.”

Unpleasant to hear but McGregor would do well to pay them some heed.

Win or learn is the motto of the Dubliner’s coach John Kavanagh. Both he and his fighter will be reviewing this fight footage in the coming days and weeks.

As for the post-fight antics from ‘The Eagle’, Bisping declared:

“He’s absolutely destroyed his reputation, potentially lost his lightweight title, he’s probably going to face criminal charges, a suspension by the commission and he might have his visa revoked. This is ridiculous.”

U.S visa or not, we can definitely see Nurmagomedov and McGregor fighting again.