It’s one of the biggest fight week’s in recent memory but you don’t know your guillotine chokes from your heel hooks. Never fear, we’ve got you covered with our bluffer’s guide to UFC 229.
So Conor McGregor is fighting again. You already knew that right? You’ve probably bought a crate of his Proper Twelve whiskey already in anticipation for fight night but you don’t have the foggiest about the fight.
Never fear, because with this handy guide you can be an expert in MMA in no time.
SO WHAT’S THE STORY?
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a stone cold killer in the UFC’s lightweight division. Despite a string of injuries and missing weight, the Russian is regarded as one of the most relentless grapplers in MMA.
Khabib was due to fight Tony Ferguson who incidentally fights in the co-main event at UFC 229 against Anthony Pettis but an injury to Ferguson saw Al Iaquinta step in on late notice to fight for an interim lightweight title fight.
At the time, Dana White would not yet confirm if the then champion Conor McGregor would officially be stripped until after the fight when he declared that Khabib was the official lightweight champion.
To be fair to Mr. White, there were more pressing issues to look after first after Conor McGregor along with a host of team mates, attacked a bus after team mate Artem Lobov was confronted by Khabib and his cohorts a few days before in the fighter’s hotel.
What followed was a lengthy legal battle in which McGregor was ordered to do community service and attend some anger management classes and at a recent press conference in August, the UFC officially announced the title fight which takes place this Saturday.
“STYLES MAKE FIGHTS”
So now you’ve got the background story. A story that wouldn’t be amiss on the Gaiety Theatre in a modern day ‘West Side Story’ sort of way.
“Styles make fights” is an important phrase to use over and over again with your friends.
- Conor is a power puncher
- Khabib is a relentless wrestler
McGregor’s left hand is one of the most deadly in all of MMA and has finished 18 of his opponents (6 in the UFC) and is a fluid striker who likes to throw at all angles to confuse his opponents.
For McGregor, he has never fought anybody as relentless as Khabib is on the mat.
On the flip side, Khabib has never fought anybody with one punch knock out power which is what makes this fight so intriguing.
Nurmagomedov is undefeated with 26 wins and 0 losses. The Russian’s style is essentially, “dive for a leg, snatch the leg and smother opponents”. Ok, that’s a simplistic way of putting things but come on, we’re trying to spoof our mates into thinking we’re MMA experts.
I don’t care what anybody says. If you drop a stat into any discussion about sports, you automatically win the argument and you can bask in the glory of being “the know it all” in the group. An accolade that is the envy of everybody…. everywhere.
So where do we start. Let’s go with the current champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov
- He has a 70″ reach advantage
- He has 18 finishes (8 TKO/KO’s, 8 Submissions)
- His takedown completion is 50%
- His takedown defence is 85%
- He has been able to avoid two thirds of strikes thrown by opponents
See, you’re sounding smarter already.
Let’s go with Conor McGregor’s stats.
- He’s Irish (duh)
- He has a 74″ inch reach (4″ advantage over Khabib)
- He has been successful with landing 49% of his significant strikes thrown
- He has a takedown defence of 74%
That last stat will likely get tested that much further come Saturday night but now that you have the stats and the background story to make yourself prepared for fight night.
BUT WHO WINS?
Your guess is as good as ours but if you really want to go down the cliche route just tell people…. “Well Conor has the advantage right away because all fights start standing”.
It’s the ‘get out of jail free’ card of MMA analysis.
Now go, impress your friends because you are now an overnight MMA expert.