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Can McGregor be the first man to stop Khabib?

Daniel Anwar | 3 October 2018

Preview for the huge clash at UFC 229

Las Vegas hosts arguably the biggest fight in UFC history this weekend as Conor McGregor makes his long-awaited return against Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

Khabib’s Lightweight Championship will be on the line, though McGregor will feel he’s still the rightful holder. He never defended the title before it was stripped from him earlier this year.

The Notorious also has the chance to end his opponent’s undefeated record, which currently stands at 26 wins from 26 MMA fights, with eight knockouts and eight by submission.

But it’s been almost two years since McGregor stepped into the Octagon. Is he ready to face a fighter of Khabib’s stature? The Coral News Team take a look…

Clear underdog

The odds suggest that McGregor is right up against it. The Eagle is odds-on at 10/17 to win the fight, with McGregor back at 29/20.

After taking an extended break from UFC for his boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather, there have been doubts over whether McGregor still has the focus to climb to the top of the sport again.

In contrast, Khabib seems intent on dominating his division for the foreseeable future. He’s been working with former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko to develop his striking ability ahead of this one.

Clash of styles

The champ’s wrestling background means he likes to take his opponent down to the canvas and wear them down.

McGregor tends to struggle on the mat. All three of the Irishman’s MMA defeats have come via submission. He’s been working on his ground game, but will it be enough? Khabib is 9/4 to win by submission.

However, if McGregor can stay on his feet, his hand speed and power could turn the fight his way. The Russian has a tendency to keep his chin high when he goes in for the takedown. That could give McGregor the target he needs to inflict Khabib’s first-ever defeat.

Get it over quickly

The longer the fight goes on, the more it could play into Khabib’s hands. McGregor will find it harder and harder to fend off ground attacks if it goes all the way.

Mystic Mac has only gone the distance in one of his last eight fights. And the odds show that his best tactic could be to come out swinging early. McGregor is 4/1 to win by KO/TKO in round 1, but out at 25/1 for a KO/TKO win in round 5.

Click here for the latest Khabib Nurmagomedov v Conor McGregor odds.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing