And so, after months of speculation and drama, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor will get it on in the Octagon. The backstory of what promises to be an explosive fight was precipitated in no small part by Conor McGregor’s April antics, which culminated in his arrest on US soil.
McGregor clearly lives to fight, but his endearing penchant for maverick behavior can be self-destructive if his fists are away from an opponent’s face for very long.
While the Irishman was arguably the biggest draw in sports entertainment during much of 2017, his profile waned somewhat after his gutsy 10th-round loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr that August. Still somewhat ‘ring rusty’, McGregor could well find himself humbled if he fails to adequately prepare for the Russian’s challenge.
Smart bets on knockout or submission
While Khabib may enter the Octagon as the more conditioned of the two men, he has a weakness that could well be exploited by McGregor. Specifically, Khabib has a tendency to lose the compact nature of his default stance, leaving his head exposed at potentially inopportune moments.
Against anyone other than a striking expert, this would not be much of an issue. However, one needs only to look back at McGregor’s litany of knockouts over the past several years, to see why it could be at UFC 229.
Eddie Alvarez, who has also backed the idea that this could be a key to victory for McGregor, knows better than anyone just how explosive the Dubliner can be.
He was on the receiving end of a brutal knockout in November 2016, when McGregor – even under pressure of being an odds-on favorite with all bookmakers – became the first-ever UFC double belt winner in the most emphatic way possible.
Numbers in Mcgregor’s Favor
McGregor’s greater win percentage, compared to Khabib’s own percentage of wins via submission, is just one reason people are backing the Irishman when choosing from the litany of Khabib McGregor free bets currently available.
As such, odds-on favorite Khabib’s one saving grace in this department is his ability to invade and counter, but for all his aggression, McGregor is too smart to be outwitted by Khabib’s tendency to work on the outside.
With Khabib likely to have no choice but to face McGregor head on, and wait for a late attempt from him to go for the knockout he needs, the Russian faces a huge dilemma.
Under this fight plan, McGregor’s lethal left will be a constant consideration, and is the reason why the odds against him are no longer than +200 anywhere on the market. It may just take one slip of Khabib’s guard for that hand of horror to end the fight.
While McGregor will boast greater knockout power, he must avoid being taken to the ground like the plague. The Irishman’s record in the groundwork department is checkered, and even against anyone reasonably competent at wrestling, it is an exhausting prospect. Against a man like Khabib, with eight professional wins (of a 26-0 record) coming via submission, it is worse than a nightmare.
When a fighter has the striking power of McGregor, anything is possible. Yet, ultimately, McGregor’s choice to focus on a lucrative boxing bout with Mayweather may come back to haunt him in this scenario.