Despite there not being as much buzz as usual for a Conor fight, this is a huge fight for the promotion and the sport overall. Conor is returning to MMA after a two-year layoff, returning from a lottery fight with boxing’s best. He has his work cut out for him in his return as he looks to reclaim the gold he never lost as it is now in the hands of in many opinions the best fighter today in MMA: Khabib Nurmagomedov.
This is such a fantastic fight because it is two of the very best the sport has to offer.
Everyone around the world tunes in just to see Conor McGregor go crazy at a press conference but, now it’s even more special because he is returning from a nice layoff to face Nurmagomedov in which we have seen this turn into a very personal feud between the two: two countries, two gyms, two fighters. McGregor has built up this aura around him and calling himself ‘Mystic Mac’ because he outright correctly predicts the outcomes in majority of his fights. He is calling for another first round knockout of the current lightweight champion but, I think he is in over his head in this situation by just a bit. While McGregor definitely has the power to put away Nurmagomedov with accurate accumulation of shots (including the deadly left hand), his chances of winning this bout decrease the longer it continues.
It’s no secret Nurmagomedov is one of the very best takedown artists and adds on to that fear of the takedown with brutal ground and pound which leaves a fighter changed forever. I’m picking Nurmagomedov in this fight as I believe he puts the pressure on the Irishman and eventually locks a leg and puts him on his back. The concern of the cardio disadvantage that McGregor holds doesn’t benefit him either as he will have to continue to fend off the pressure, takedowns and top game from Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov may take a minute or two to feel out McGregor’s style in order to safely get in close enough for the takedown but I expect him to secure one within a few minutes of the fight. Both of their ground games are just so widely far apart, and the multi-time Russian sambo champion should have no problem handling McGregor on the mat.
The first round will mostly consist of Nurmagomedov tiring out McGregor with his top-heavy pressure and shots that will just take the wind out of him. Once the second round occurs then I fully expect Nurmagomedov to turn up the volume of strikes and ground n’ pound as McGregor will already be slowing down significantly. From then on, it’ll be only a matter of time that the former two division champion will succumb to strikes or leaving his neck or arm open for a potential submission.
My prop bet for this fight is Khabib Nurmagomedov by ‘Inside The Distance’ @ (+135)