Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Max Holloway UFC 223 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 4/7/18
Holloway vs. Nurmagomedov
UFC: Saturday, April 7, 2018 (Barclays Center)
The Line: Nurmagomedov -470 / Holloway +375 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway fight Saturday during UFC 223 at the Barclays Center.
Khabib Nurmagomedov enters this fight with a 25-0 record and has won 36 percent of his fights by decision. This will be Nurmagomedov’s fourth fight since 2016, and he’s coming off a December win over Edson Barboza. Nurmagomedov is averaging 4.11 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50.3 percent. Nurmagomedov is averaging 5.85 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45.7 percent. Nurmagomedov is now 9-0 under the UFC banner and is coming off a contest that earned him performance of the night honors. Nurmagomedov won by decision, but it was a complete performance in which he landed 154 strikes and produced four takedowns. Nurmagomedov has just one fight under his belt in about a year and a half, but his most recent performance is a clear sign that he’s still the dangerous, balanced fighter he’s always been. Nurmagomedov is an accurate striker with great takedown ability and he’s arguably the best grappler in the sport currently. Nurmagomedov is always a threat to force a submission, he’s well conditioned to be effective for all rounds, and he lands accurate strikes to hold his own standing up.. This will be Nurmagomedov’s second career fight in New York.
USA TODAY Sports
Max Holloway enters this fight with a 19-3 record and has won 47 percent of his fights by knockout. Holloway has won his last 12 fights and is coming off a December win over Jose Aldo. Holloway is averaging 6.2 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 43.9 percent. Holloway is averaging 0.28 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 80 percent. Holloway still hasn't lost since his 2013 fight against Conor McGregor, but he’s taking this fight on extremely short notice by replacing the injured Tony Ferguson. This is going to be a ridiculous weight cut in such a short time, and it’s fair to question just how he can be effective after putting his body through such stress. When in good form, Holloway is a volume striker who lands accurately, is creative with his legs and has produced seven knockouts during this 12-fight winning streak. Holloway is also one of the best fighters when it comes to defending the takedown, as he hasn’t been taken down once in his last three fights and wants to force his opponent to fight his style. His length, volume attacks and athleticism make him a very difficult fighter to matchup against, and he brings a fearless mentality to the octagon. This will be Holloway’s first career fight in New York.
Holloway is a warrior who has more than proven himself and should never be counted out against anybody. His athleticism, takedown defense and striking ability is all top notch, and it only takes one shot from him to change things. However, that’s about the only way Holloway wins this fight. Land a quick head kick or a clean hand behind the ear. Other than that, this is simply not a favorable matchup for Holloway. You can’t expect somebody to take a fight on a weeks notice, go through a brutal weight cut and be competitive against a guy who nobody wants to fight. The constant wrestling and takedowns from Nurmagomedov is going to wear down Holloway and simply drain him before he even has a chance.
Holloway deserves props for saving the card, and I’m sure he got paid quite nicely, but nobody can pick him to win this fight with any real confidence.