Russian grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight title from Irish striker Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on October 6, 2018, in Las Vegas.
UPDATE: Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after his 29th match in October 2020 in Abu Dhabi. UFC President Dana White, however, believes Nurmagomedov will unretire to go for 30-0 record.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will pit two of its biggest stars in Las Vegas for the Lightweight title. Defending champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend the belt against challenger Conor McGregor at UFC 229 scheduled on October 6, 2018.
Hailing from Russia, the 29-year-old Nurmagedov holds an unbeaten record in 26 mixed martial arts (MMA) matches with 10 of those competing in the UFC. The 178 cm fighter’s latest match was for the then-vacant UFC Lightweight Champion at UFC 223 last April 7. The Eagle won the five-round title match in dominant fashion by unanimous decision against current ranked nine lightweight Al Iaquinta.
Meanwhile, the match serves as 30-year-old McGregor’s first match in the Octagon since November 2016. The Notorious took a long MMA hiatus that led him to lose both UFC Lightweight and Featherweight Championships. However, the 175 cm Irish took part in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather just a year ago. Even though McGregor lost the fight via technical knockout (TKO), the defeat did not tarnish his 21-3 MMA record.
Striking vs. Grappling
Analysts and experts share similar sentiments concerning the upcoming Lightweight title fight.
Most of them agreed that McGregor’s striking would overwhelm Nurmagomedov’s standing defense. The Irish fighter has a background in boxing, having experience from his early teens and from the Mayweather bout, among others. In addition, McGregor is a notorious striker with only one out of his 18 knockout wins ending by submission.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has shown some weakness in his stand-up gaming in his previous fights, especially in his title bout against Iaquinta. Most fans observed that the champion’s performance, while dominating, still showed a number of flaws.
Kevin Lee, UFC lightweight fighter, said:
“I think Conor’s (McGregor) probably going to sleep him (Nurmagomedov). I’m just looking at the matchup and how the styles is… Khabib’s (Nurmagomedov) just got the same holes that I’ve been seeing for years and years and years. And I know Conor’s been seeing them, too. So, when you see those holes, and they’re not getting at least a little closed, then he’s going to get slept.”
On the other hand, many analysts consider grappling ability on the mat as Nurmagomedov’s strongest suit. The Eagle is a multi-awarded champion of Sambo, a Russian sport akin to wrestling and judo. In addition, Nurmagomedov’s eight knockout wins all came by way of submission.
In contrast, professionals do not have faith in McGregor’s ground defense. According to former UFC lightweight Chael Sonnen, the Irish fighter does not have the spirit to withstand five rounds with his back on the mat.
Sonnen, a heavyweight from Bellator MMA, continued:
“I don’t think Conor has a strong enough spirit to be able to withstand Khabib’s ground attack over and over. So I’d have to give the edge to Khabib because I feel like there will be takedowns and Conor will not get up and I don’t know if he has the spirit to stay in the fight with a ground fight… I’d have to give the edge to Khabib.
Which fighting style would reign supreme? Would one of the best strikers in MMA keep the fight on his feet or can the highly-rated wrestler decide the match on the ground? These are the questions most online MMA enthusiasts look forward to resolving at the upcoming title match.
Unbelievable Intertops Odds
To capture the fanfare surrounding this event, online sportsbook Intertops has provided punters with numerous odds for the UFC 229 main event.
The betting site favors Nurmagomedov with the outright odds to win the fight at 2.45 compared with the 1.62 of McGregor. Moreover, the Irish striker has the 2.75 odds to win by KO, TKO, or disqualification, while the Russian grappler has the 3.50 odds to finish the match by submission.
At the same time, Intertops offers some interesting betting options for punters to place their wagers in. The sportsbook currently has at least 10 “Crazy Bets” posted on its website.
One of these bets includes the odds of 1001 that Russian President Vladimir Putin will accompany his countryman on the way to the Octagon. The odds of the referee receiving a knockout blow during the fight currently stand at 51. Another “crazy” bet includes a knocked out fighter taking down the referee, which the sportsbook priced at 15.
An Intertops spokesperson said:
“[We] are determined to add extra thrills with an attractive range of crazy bet offers for both new and existing customers as the big night looms large. From Nate Diaz attacking his old rival at the post-fight press-conference to Conor making further use of his infamous dolly, from Vladimir Putin supporting his countryman Khabib to the referee going K.O. – Anything is possible when McGregor is around and we are pleased to give our customers the chance to enjoy unique craziness.”
UFC enthusiasts can catch one of the most hyped MMA matches of the year as Conor McGregor looks to grab the Lightweight Championship from Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Fans can catch the fight live at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas or in front of the screens through pay-per-view.