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Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barboza UFC 219 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 12/30/17

Barboza vs. Nurmagomedov

UFC: Saturday, December 30, 2017 (T-Mobile Arena)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: PPV

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza fight Saturday during UFC 219 at the T-Mobile Arena.

Khabib Nurmagomedov enters this fight with a 24-0 record and has won 33 percent of his fights by knockout. This will be Nurmagomedov’s third fight since 2016, and he’s coming off a 2016 win over Michael Johnson. Nurmagomedov is averaging 3.82 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50.3 percent. Nurmagomedov is averaging 6.14 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48.1 percent. Nurmagomedov continues to impress and climb up the rankings at 29 years old, and he has finished 10 of his last 14 fights. However, it’s going to be interesting to see how Nurmagomedov responds after being out of the octagon for over a year, as his bout with Tony Ferguson was cancelled due to illness. Nurmagomedov is an accurate striker with great takedown ability and he’s arguably the best grappler in the sport currently. This will be Nurmagomedov’s third fight in Las Vegas.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barboza UFC 219 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 12/30/17

USA TODAY Sports

Edson Barboza enters this fight with a 19-4 record and has won 58 percent of his fights by knockout. Barboza has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a March win over Beneil Dariush. Barboza is averaging 3.97 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 41.1 percent. Barboza is averaging 0.59 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 53.8 percent. Barboza has put that loss to Tony Ferguson behind him, as he’s won each of his last three fights and is coming off performance of the night honors with a flying knee knockout. Barboza is a volume striker who lands a ton of shots and has now won five of his last 10 fights by knockout. Barboza is dangerous when fighting standing up and is a threat to end things at any moment, so his opponent can never let his guard down. This will be Barboza’s fifth fight in Las Vegas.

This is a dangerous fight for Nurmagomedov, as Barboza has a five inch reach advantage and has the advantage in punching power. Those two areas alone make Junior an intriguing pick in this fight. However, Nurmagomedov can counter that by grappling, getting his opponent against the fence and taking away his striking with takedown attempts. Barboza has also been submitted in two of his four losses, as his ground game is clearly not as effective as his standup. Nurmagomedov should be able to fight smart here and take his opponent out of his comfort zone. 

I’m going to side with Nurmagomedov for the victory.

CLICK HERE to See Who The EXPERTS Pick In This Game

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