- Conor McGregor will take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229
- The fight is set for October 6th in Las Vegas
- Will McGregor stage a successful comeback, or will the undefeated lightweight champ prevail?
It’s going to be the biggest fight in UFC history.
Conor McGregor (21-3) is finally making his long-awaited UFC return, and he’s coming to take back what was once his. Standing in his way is the current lightweight champion, the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0).
Mark the date: October 6th in Las Vegas. UFC 229 is not an event you want to miss.
Let’s break down the three outcomes to consider.
The first is the classic Khabib win. The champ starts off slow, but as the fight progresses he wears down his opponent with a flurry of takedowns and ground-and-pounds. Then, once his opponent is both mentally and physically drained, he ends the fight via TKO or submission.
The second most-likely outcome is a lot like the first, but instead he takes the fight to the scorecards. Khabib may have a ton of submission and TKO wins on his resume, but six of his ten UFC fights have gone the distance.
And, of course, the third outcome is a KO/TKO win for McGregor. Khabib is known to be a slow starter and his fighting style makes him very hittable. If McGregor can catch Khabib on the way in, it could make for a very quick fight.
Khabib’s strength lies in his cardio and his grappling, which happens to be two of McGregor’s weaknesses. McGregor shines when fighting on his feet, which is not Khabib’s preferred domain. Khabib and Conor will want to take the fight in two very different directions. The question is: who will be able to dictate the fight?
Mcgregor will have to accept that there’s a good chance Khabib will land a few takedowns, and a couple of sharp left hands to the face is the price Khabib will have to pay in order to close the distance. We should expect to see both fighters have their weak points exploited in Vegas.
If Khabib can survive the first two rounds, his chances of winning will spike. McGregor has a reputation for fading in the later rounds, which will make him vulnerable to Khabib’s high-pressure style of fighting. Especially coming off a two-year layoff from MMA, it’ll be difficult for the former champ to take on an opponent who is tailored to capitalize on every flaw in his game.
Pick the undefeated champ to remain undefeated. However, it may be worth waiting for the line to close. There will be a ton of late money pouring in for McGregor, so you’ll probably get better value closer to October 6th.
Pick: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-143)
|Method of Victory||Odds|
|Khabib Nurmagomedov by KO/TKO, Submission, or DQ||+100|
|Conor McGregor by KO/TKO Submission, or DQ||+200|
|Khabib Nurmagomedov by Decision or Technical Decision||+450|
|Conor McGregor by Decision or Technical Decision||+850|
|Draw or Technical Draw||+6600|
As I noted earlier, six of Khabib’s ten UFC fights have gone the distance. And his three most notable opponents — Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Al Iaquinta — all survived the onslaught despite losing by a wide margin.
Khabib is known for dominating his opponents. Once he breaks their will, he’s able to force them to the mat and maul them. But what we don’t always see is a stoppage. More often than not, his opponents are pinned to the ground and forced to feast on a buffet of punches and elbows until the final bell.
Picking Khabib Nurmagomedov to win by decision at +450 is a steal!
Pick: Khabib Nurmagomedov by Decision or Technical Decision (+450)
|Fight to Start the fourth round||Odds|
Both Conor and Khabib have only once entered the championship rounds in their professional careers. Khabib took Al Iaquinta to the scorecards in his most recent fight to secure the UFC lightweight title. McGregor scraped a decision victory in his five-round rematch against Nate Diaz. Neither has much experience fighting five-rounders.
But given the stakes for both fighters, I suspect there will be a lengthy feeling-out process which could drag on into the championship rounds. Khabib will not want to carelessly eat punches, especially in the opening rounds when McGregor still has all his power. McGregor will not want to allow Khabib too many attempts to shoot the takedown, which may lead to an extremely defensive fight.
Pick: Yes (+107)