UFC 229 McGregor vs Khabib : It’s finally time for UFC fans to get the main event they’ve been waiting a long time for. Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 229, Conor McGregor makes his return after nearly two years away from the Octagon to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight championship.
UFC 229 McGregor vs Khabib
Date: Saturday, Oct. 6 | Time: 10 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
TV: Order UFC 229 through your local cable provider
Live stream: UFC Fight Pass
McGregor vs Khabib
Anton Tabuena: Most talking points seem to be centered on “Striking vs Grappling” but I believe the bigger factor here would be cardio vs chin. With the gap in their striking games, McGregor will probably land his share of strikes, so the bigger question to me is can Khabib’s defense and durability hold up not if, but when that happens? McGregor’s distance management helps his (underrated) takedown defense, and he will surely be able stuff a couple takedowns. But Khabib doesn’t care if his first attempt is stopped, he will pressure and he will relentlessly chain those takedowns. Can McGregor survive with that pace as he stuffs takedown after takedown? Can he immediately stand up and scramble the moment he gets put down, while also finding his spots to use his footwork and timing to land quality shots? He’s shown dips in cardio even in bouts that he was controlling, so will he be able to keep that up against this style? Will Khabib’s chin hold up until that possible dip? Tough to tell with complete certainty, but I’m leaning with the former champ regaining his belt. Khabib normally takes a while before he can get people down in the opening rounds, and I think that’s very dangerous spot to be in against McGregor. I think he uses his footwork and will get some good shots in. Khabib has shown durability, but I’m guessing like everyone else not named Diaz, his chin eventually fails him before that predictable dip in cardio happens. Conor McGregor by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: I’ve only picked against McGregor in the Mendes and second Diaz fight. Everyone else inside the Octagon has been a Conor win for me. I was pretty confident Khabib would win even after the Iaquinta fight, but stewing it over and giving it more thought, I’m leaning towards McGregor. In some ways the fight does have a two-way outcome that’s largely dependent on how the opening round goes. Either Khabib gets his takedown and puts a hurtin’ on McGregor that takes a lot out of him and saps that power threat, rendering the rest of this fight somewhat inevitable, or McGregor outstrikes him, hurts Nurmagomedov, and forces him into bad decisions and potentially sloppy takedowns that Conor can stuff. Contrary to popular belief, McGregor is not a horrible defensive wrestler, nor is he a hopeless grappler. He’s better on the ground than many may think, it’s just that it’s hard to see him coping with Khabib’s strength and positional dominance, combined with that ground-and-pound. However, Khabib relies heavily on the fence to operate. That’s a big deal to me, as I think McGregor will be the one looking to stand his ground and use his footwork to make things more difficult for Khabib to just freight train him. In space, McGregor has a much better chance of getting his offense to flow and his combinations to string together. Khabib is not a terrible defensive striker or really an awful offensive one, but he’s not very good in either respect and can often be sloppy.