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Umar Nurmagomedov dominates return fight, calls out Cory Sandhagen

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Once again, it was one-way traffic for Umar Nurmagomedov on Saturday.

The bantamweight up-and-comer returned to the Octagon for the first time in 14 months and defeated Bekzat Almakhan via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26) at UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Nurmagomedov, the cousin of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib, lifted his professional record to 17-0 and his UFC record to 5-0 with the victory over Almakhan.

Afterward, Nurmagomedov called for the promotion to rebook a matchup against No. 3-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen.

"I want to fight with Cory Sandhagen," Nurmagomedov said in his postfight interview. "It's gonna be a contender fight."

Nurmagomedov was scheduled to headline a Fight Night card against Sandhagen last August but withdrew from the contest after suffering a shoulder injury.

The Dagestani sensation added that he entered Saturday's bout against Almakhan with some injuries.

"I come to this fight with a lot of things that hurt," Nurmagomedov said. "I didn't heal 100%. Maybe I was just 50%. I'm serious."

Nurmagomedov had to overcome a bit of adversity to earn his 17th pro victory. Almakhan dropped him with a right hand in the first 30 seconds of the fight, but Nurmagomedov recovered well and responded by securing a single-leg takedown.

The 28-year-old dominated the rest of the fight, topping Almakhan 68-3 in significant strikes and going 5-0 on takedown attempts.

Almakhan, a 26-year-old Kazakh who was making his UFC debut, fell to 16-2 as a pro.

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