More experts are starting to weigh-in on the upcoming UFC 229 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. Many seem split on the outcome, and betting lines are almost even as well, with McGregor being the slight underdog at +160.
Firas Zahabi recently gave his brief thoughts on the matter, with the renowned coach stating that he believes the lightweight title bout won’t be competitive at all.
“What I’m doubting, what I don’t see very likely is a seesaw battle,” Zahabi said in a recent live chat. “Where there’s a lot of stand up, then they hit the ground, then they get back up, and they’re striking and they’re wrestling, and it’s a back-and-forth battle where it’s coming down the last round — that, I don’t see.
“I don’t see a very competitive fight even though these two fighters are great phenomal competitors,” he said. “The only reason I don’t see it that way is not because one fighter is more skilled than the other. No, far from it.
“The only reason I do see it this way — a one-sided victory — it’s purely because of their styles. McGregor’s style is completely opposite to Khabib’s.”
Zahabi brought up the times the two have fought out of character: Khabib jabbing and out-striking Iaquinta, and McGregor “grinding” and trying to dirty box with Diaz and Holloway. The Tristar gym coach credited the two fighters’ ability to perform in other areas, but he still feels that they would be sticking to their strengths because of the match up.
“If Khabib tries to pick and poke at McGregor from afar with that jab, that would really really surprise me,” he said. “If McGregor tries to dirty box with Khabib, that would really surprise me, because any tie ups with Khabib will probably result with McGregor being put on his back.
“So I think they’re gonna be really on their game plan that night. It’s going play their game for real, the way they really play it. That’s McGregor at a distance, sniping, and that’s Khabib up-close, in personal, tying up, clinching.
“It’s going to be a blowout either way. Either Khabib is going to win and it’s going to seem lopsided... Khabib is going to take him down and maul him, or McGregor is going to catch him on his way in and knock him out. It’s going to happen one way or another.”