Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have a personal history, and they are set to settle their feud in the best way possible: inside the Octagon!
McGregor makes his long-awaited return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship after nearly two years of absence, but he won’t have it easy. Not against reigning lightweight king Nurmagomedov who is determined to get back on the big-mouthed Irishman for the April “bus attack” fiasco.
The UFC 229: Khabib vs McGregor is already brewing to be an exciting, action-packed and all-out affair, and it sure helps that UFC president Dana White dubbed it as “the biggest fight in the history of the company”—other than the Mayweather match!
Big Return and a Rivalry to Start
McGregor last fought in August 2017, against Floyd Mayweather Jr.—a boxing match that saw him lose in the tenth round via technical knockout. However, he hasn’t been inside the Octagon since his UFC 205 clash with Eddie Alvarez in 2016.
Despite his inactivity though, he grabbed headlines earlier this year after he attacked the bus containing Khabib and his entourage. It was a sorry fiasco that ended up seeing a bus window smashed, a UFC employee sent to a hospital, and two fighters injured.
McGregor’s target that time was Khabib, and he admitted that he wanted to confront the Russian for cornering his training partner and close friend Artem Lobov.
What followed was an intense war of words, trash talking and legal battle—with McGregor eventually escaping felony charges as he was sentenced to community service and anger management classes.
Nurmagomedov, nonetheless, didn’t let McGregor’s attack slide easily. After the Irishman escaped jail time, Khabib issued a challenge to the former UFC two-division champion and warned that he would be the one to punish him.
Battle of Styles
While the feud between the two is compelling and will certainly attract fans, the difference in their fighting styles makes their match-up even more interesting.
McGregor is known as a skilful striker who can bring down opponents even when standing, and fans don’t need to look further for proof than his 13-second KO of Jose Aldo in 2015 en route to winning the featherweight title.
That match with Aldo not only showed McGregor’s dangerous left cross, but it also provided a sample of his huge knockout power.
The 30-year-old fighter out of Dublin also has a wide array of strikes in his arsenal, and that should be in full display at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this weekend.
On the other hand, Nurmagomedov is a fighter who makes his living on the ground. He’s a takedown master renowned for his wrestling ability and powerful ground striking.
Moreover, his mastery of fighting on the ground also translates on the defensive end. According to a statistic compilation made by ESPN for the fight, only 2 percent of the significant strikes he received in the UFC have come on the ground.
The Russian is expected to bring the match to his domain, and that will be worth the watch especially against the agile McGregor who also boasts excellent footwork.
Another Notorious Prediction
In an unsurprising turn of events, McGregor has offered the MMA community his trademark prediction once again. And in typical the “Notorious” way, he is predicting not only a KO but a “devastating, devastating KO.”
“I believe KO,” McGregor said. “Devastating, devastating KO. I hope it’s not too early, to be honest. I believe I will clatter him, he will crumble. I don’t believe they can take a smack.”
While McGregor has his fair share of impressive knockout victories—he already has 18 KOs in his fighting career to begin with—his prediction, as usual, shouldn’t be taken seriously.
In his match with Mayweather, he predicted a fourth-round knockout victory. Although the Irishman fought well in the bout, he failed to make his prediction a reality and even got knocked out himself.
That’s not to say that it will happen again, but his trash talking should only give Nurmagomedov more motivation to shut his mouth.
The Khabib vs McGregor results in UFC 229 will be important for both fighters, but Khabib, perhaps, has a lot more to lose than McGregor.
Nurmagomedov is still undefeated in his career. He is 26-0 overall and 10-0 in the UFC, with his last fight a unanimous decision victory against Al Iaquinta for the UFC lightweight belt.
Meanwhile, McGregor has already three losses, one in the UFC which came at the hands of Nate Diaz. Sure enough, he was the first-ever UFC dual-weight champion; however, as mentioned, it has been almost two years since he last fought—and that’s a huge gap without a fight in the Octagon!
What are the odds?
While the casual fan will see McGregor as the favourite, the bookmakers—including SBOBET—suggest otherwise. The Khabib-McGregor odds put the reigning champ as the favourite to win, with McGregor given an outside chance.
The worst result for Khabib, according to our odds, is a draw and he is at Draw No Bet @ 1.55. Meanwhile, McGregor is at a far-off 2.49 in the same betting market.
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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