McGregor vs Nurmagomedov: Irish star fancied to knockout the champ
* October 7th 2018 | T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.
Both Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov head into this week’s blockbuster UFC 229 clash supremely confident that they will emerge victorious.
There is little to choose between the two fighters in the betting, with bookmakers making Nurmagomedov (26-0) the 8/13 favourite to retain his lightweight title and McGregor (21-3) priced at 5/4.
The Irish superstar is returning to MMA action for the first time in almost two years this weekend. His last UFC appearance came in November 2016 when he beat Eddie Alvarez to add the lightweight belt to his featherweight title.
He was later stripped of both titles because of inactivity, with Nurmagomedov being installed as lightweight champion earlier this year, and McGregor has backed himself to win back one of his belts.
“I’m going to maul him,” McGregor told the Ariel Helwani Show. “It’s going to be a devastating KO. I hope it won’t be too early.
“I will clatter him, he will crumble. I don’t think he can take a smack. Has he got the chin of (Nate) Diaz or the poise of (Floyd) Mayweather?
“He’s got a glass chin that’s never had a crack – not from a sniper rifle.”
While McGregor believes he will defeat the unbeaten Russian, the champion has insisted he will punish his opponent for the disrespect he has shown him during the build-up to the fight.
Nurmagomedov claimed that McGregor’s trash talk, particularly about his manager Ali Abdelaziz, had overstepped the mark and he is eager to ram his words down his throat in Las Vegas.
“This is more than just a fight for my title – I want to make him pay,” he said. “If he has problems with my manager talk with him. I don’t have problems with his family. I have problems with him.
“He tried to get into my head – I felt nothing. This Saturday, I’m going to maul him.”
With McGregor eager to finish the fight by knockout and Nurmagomedov famed for his skills on the mat, this weekend’s contest promises to be a perfect clash of styles.
Nurmagomedov has built up an impressive record in MMA, but he is yet to face a fighter of McGregor’s quality and a first defeat could well be on the cards.
The Irish star simply looks too good to ignore at odds of 13/8 to win by KO, TKO, submission or disqualification.
UFC 229 Main Card:
Main event: Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs Conor McGregor (five rounds for lightweight title)
Co-main event: Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis (lightweight)
Ovince Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes (light heavyweight)
Derrick Lewis vs Alexander Volkov (heavyweight)
Michelle Waterson vs Felice Herrig (women’s strawweight)