McGregor vs Khabib. Ireland vs Russia. East vs West. Call it what you want, but this fight is going to be the biggest event ever in the UFC. The beef is real, and both fighters respective countries are at logger heads in the political world and the crime world. This goes beyond just man vs man in the cage.
McGregor has recently displayed interest in this fight, stating he would be willing to fight Khabib for a decreased wage. People have called lies on these rumours, but with a possibility of MayMac II fight getting closer to reality by the day, it is understandable that he would be willing to take a pay cut to finally face Khabib.
Both fighters have shown adaptations in their game recently, with Conor putting pictures on Instagram of him grappling from the bottom, possibly preparing for the takedown onslaught, and the eagle trying to display striking skills against Al Iaquinta.
I feel that McGregor’s adaptations may be more successful, given that he is a high level jiu jitsu practitioner. He would have been watching the Iaquinta fight with a smile on his face, although he did not put up much a fight against Khabib, I believe the fight showed that The Eagle has holes in his game. Considering the fight IQ of The Notorious one, he will now be able to sufficiently adapt a game plan to beat the Dagestani dynamo.
This fight will be a slobber knocker of all slobber knockers. The Eagle will easily take the first 1-2 rounds on takedowns alone, he will beat McGregor on the ground, but to win this fight he will need to finish the fight early by ground and pound. As he showed against Iaqunita, he starts to slow down after the third round. Khabib does have a legit chance in this fight, but I think given how one dimensional of a fighter he is, it severely cuts his chances of retaining his perfect professional record.
As I explained before, McGregor has been putting up pictures of him on the bottom in training. It is possible that McGregor has been practicing getting up from the bottom. Conor also displayed against Diaz that he does have a very good takedown defense, which if put into practice at the same level against Khabib, the Russian will be breathing heavily come mid fight. People will say ‘McGregor has no gas tank’, but he won’t need too have much of a gas tank, as I believe he will let Khabib do all the hard work on the ground and let him wear him self out early. The eagle may be a grappling monster, but in his last 2 fights he has shown no ground and pound knockout power what so ever. This was evident in the Barboza fight, where he spent most of the fight on top but still couldn’t finish the Brazilian.
That will then leave it down to the striking game……
We all know what’s going to happen there.
Khabib displayed a relatively good striking level in his last fight, but it was B level striking at best. That’s being generous.
Hands down, chin out, no head movement, tripling and quadrupling the jab and always slipping to the right after the jab. His footwork was like a drunk uncle at wedding. This carried him through against Iaquinta, but the “Brooklyn gangster” is nowhere near the level of McGregor.
The Irishman has a huge reach advantage on the Russian, and this will really come into play later on in the fight. The eagle may have displayed quick striking, but he advertises each punch for about 3 weeks before he throws it. This is when he will step into ‘Mac’s world’, and only one fighter will come out successful from this situation.
McGregor will pick Khabib’s chin like a gold mine as the fight starts to wear on, and the patented Celtic cross will land flush.
For this fight I pick McGregor for a 5th round knockout.