Few MMA fights have had as much seemingly riding on them as the upcoming bout between Conor “Notorious” McGregor and Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, which will take place at UFC 229 on 6th October at Las Vegas. The former, McGregor, is, of course, a household name, the biggest star in the sport and a personality that transcends the sport’s boundaries.
McGregor’s opponent is not yet a household name, yet. He has one of the most fearsome reputations in MMA and, in fact, is the current record holder for most consecutive victories (26). This is no exhibition match for McGregor, who returns to the Octagon after nearly two years in exile. Indeed, the battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship looks like one of the Irishman’s toughest to date.
Khabib betting favourite for bout
For context, look at the latest bookmakers’ odds for the fight. Nearly all top sportsbooks have put the Russian in as the favourite. He is priced at about 8/13 with bookies like Bet365, with McGregor coming in at 11/8. That’s not far away from being a toss up in betting terms, but still it points overwhelmingly to the Russian.
Indeed, the betting markets do hold the key for understanding where the fight will be won and lost. Almost all sportsbooks think it will be stopped early, with Betfair going as big as 16/5 that it will be decided by the judges. Moreover, the consensus is that McGregor needs to win by KO/TKO. Those odds come in at 17/10 (Bet365). It’s worth remembering that the Irishman has used his ferocious striking ability to claim KO wins in six of his last seven UFC wins.
McGregor needs to keep on his feet
For the Russian, it’s all about getting McGregor to the floor and using his incredible repertoire of wrestling abilities. A Khabib win by submission gets odds of 3/1 from William Hill and certainly looks like one of the most popular bets. The fight has been hugely hyped, so don’t forget to check sites giving you the best Khabib McGregor betting offers before you bet.
While the consensus of the bookmakers is to go for a McGregor win, but only just, many pundits think it is time for Khabib to take the crown. There is only one year in difference between the fighters, but it feels like the Russian is the young upstart ready to usurp the throne from McGregor. Pundits, critics and, even, fans of the Irishman have been proven wrong before however. Anyone banking on McGregor to be finished with his time at the top may just end up seeming foolish.
McGregor strikes can devastate Khabib
Analysing the two fighters two histories shows up some interesting points of concern. If McGregor goes to the floor, Khabib will win. However, it is not so easy to bring the Irishman down. His feet, his reach and his boxing skills will all help him keep his balance, while delivering blows to Khabib. Many are pointing towards Khabib’s ability to shake off a blow to the head, but he has not faced anyone of the striking power of McGregor before.
Everything is pointing towards a fascinating fight, one where we might see the crowning of a new face of the sport and the downfall of the old. However, rule out McGregor at your peril. He has proved time and time again that he is the master at overcoming doubters. This might be his toughest test, but there is little reason to believe he won’t pass it with flying colours.