Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor UFC 229 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 10/6/18
Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
UFC: Saturday, October 6, 2018 (T-Mobile Arena)
The Line: McGregor +153 / Khabib -167 -- Over/Under: 2.5 See the Latest Odds
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor fight Saturday during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Khabib Nurmagomedov enters this fight with a 26-0 record and has won 38 percent of his fights by decision. This will be Nurmagomedov’s third fight since 2017, and he’s coming off a April win over Al Iaquinta. Nurmagomedov is averaging 4.34 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48.7 percent. Nurmagomedov is averaging 5.44 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 44.9 percent. Nurmagomedov is coming off a decision victory in which he landed 172 strikes and produced six takedowns. Nurmagomedov has produced a combined 10 takedowns in his last two fights and consistently shows why he’s widely considered the best grappler and wrestler in the sport. Nurmagomedov is relentless with his takedown attempts and almost always gets the fight where he wants it, making it very difficult for his opponent to get comfortable. And while his ground game often steals most of the attention, Nurmagomedov can certainly hold his striking wise, as he has a mean ground and pound and uses his stand up to get the fight on the canvas. Nurmagomedov does have holes defensively standing up that can be exposed, but overall, a case can be made that the Russian is the best pound for pound fighter in the sport. This will be Nurmagomedov’s fourth career fight in Las Vegas.
Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Conor McGregor enters this fight with a 21-3 record and is winning 86 percent of his fights by knockout. McGregor has won 10 of his last 11 fights and is coming off a November (2016) win over Eddie Alvarez. McGregor is averaging 5.82 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 47.6 percent. McGregor is averaging 0.92 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 62.5 percent. It’s been almost two years since we saw McGregor beat up Alvarez rather easily, as he landed 40 strikes and produced three knockdowns while taking just 12 strikes from his opponent. Behind the trash talk and the stardom, McGregor is one of the toughest fighters in the sport, as he has a tough chin and a relentless striking game that allows him to trade with nearly anyone standing up and usually get the better of them. McGregor is an athletic fighter who can be sneaky with his leg kicks and does an above-average job of defending takedowns. McGregor isn’t as comfortable on the canvas as you’d like, and all three of his losses have been submissions, but he has improved over the years and is capable of doing just enough to avoid disaster. Bottom line is McGregor has the edge against almost anybody in the sport when he’s able to fight standing up. This will be McGregor’s sixth career fight in Las Vegas.
It’s not easy to turn down McGregor and plus money, but that’s what I have to do in this bout. McGregor is not polished or disciplined enough on the canvas to hang with a fighter such as Khabib and that’s really what this fight comes down to. It’s not if the fight goes to the canvas, and it’s when and how many times. Yes, in a stand up striking fight, McGregor has the edge, but Nurmagomedov is a takedown machine and his wrestling is as good as it gets. Khabib also has a strong chin like most Russians do, so I’m not exactly worried about him trading with McGregor at times. When it’s all said and done, this fight will be decided on the ground and McGregor doesn’t stand a chance against Nurmagomedov.
Khabib remains unbeaten.