Conor McGregor or Khabib Nurmagomedov? That’s the question I often saw on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I mean, people were hyped up for this fight and the pressure was all on Khabib to try and fight off a legendary fighter like Conor.
Interesting thing is that both of them are the same age and the same weight, but Khabib seemed far more energetic. During the press conference, Conor McGregor was very, very… well, can I say arrogant? Talking trash about Khabib’s family and who knows what, and now he got his ass handed to him!
You know that Khabib kicked his ass like a true champ, don’t you?
There was a moment during the fight where the Irishman backpedaled and told Khabib that it was just business. Referring to all the rubbish he had talked pre-fight to help hype up the publicity. Let’s break down this interesting brawl-out between the Irish behemoth and the Russian champ.
Table of Content
– Round 1
Round one went guns-blazing for both of the fighters. However, Nurmagomedov landed seven of nine critical strikes, while Conor did a total of six strikes out of seven of them.
Arguably, Conor had a bit better score, but as the whole round was literally spent on the mat, these strikes had almost no influence on the round. And let me tell you something, Nurmagomedov strikes like a freaking beast! In my opinion, the first round was very hard for Conor as he had to defend himself all the time.
When it comes to the strikes, though, I (and judges) think that Conor owned Khabib. The former two-division champion landed astonishing 39 strikes, with Khabib landing only 18, which is significantly lower.
As for the takedowns, the story is a bit different. I’ve never watched Khabib’s fights, to be honest, but I’m amazed at how this man can grapple and takedown. This 70kg man fights like a beast! I think he could even tackle a bear or a lion, and actually he did wrestle a bear as a child but hey, Russians are known for being very strong and athletic.
Simply put, Khabib went one for two takedowns in the first round. The pressure was high on Conor McGregor as he now had to repel this monstrous energy that Khabib had.
Unfortunately for Conor, Khabib managed to successfully finish those takedowns and keep him on the ground during the whole first round.
So, in my opinion, the first round went very well for Khabib, almost obliterating Conor in grappling and takedowns.
– Round 2
This is where things get interesting and where Khabib showed his teeth. Just 25 seconds into round 2 and chill, he landed a significant strike with his right.
This strike caught the Irishman by surprise and obliterated him as he almost fully hit the mat. Fortunately for him, he didn’t, which means that it can’t be counted as a knockout. Only his hand and knee hit the ground for a split second, after which he recovered smoothly.
This time, Irishman evaded a debacle just by a tiny notch. Again, Nurmagomedov did what he knew best and took the fight to the mat, once again making McGregor begging for mercy.
I really think that Nurmagomedov did everything to turn the fight to his odds, particularly when he took the fight to the mat.Spending more than a couple of minutes on the mat, Nurmagomedov had a full control over the fight. Having landed amazing 41 of 60 significant strikes, Nurmagomedov annihilated Conor who got only 5 of 13 significant strikes.
As for the takedowns…well, not many of them were there. Actually, there was one attempt by Nurmagomedov, but nothing too severe.
The second round was much more punch-rich than the first one. But, things weren’t that good for McGregor, as those takedowns and time spent under Nurmagomedov’s beastly pressure slowly got the better of him.
– Round 3
Round 3 was where Conor showed a few of his brawling skills, trying to keep the majority of the round off the mat.
Again, Conor vastly outgunned Khabib with his blazingly fast punches. However, I saw that Conor’s punches lacked a bit of power and strength to it. Yes, he landed a total of 34 significant strikes, but all of those strikes were not enough to put down this Russian juggernaut.
On the other hand, Nurmagomedov scored 15 of 37 significant punches, which is far less than McGregor. But, in my opinion, Khabib’s punches packed a lot more power and were far more devastating than Conor’s.
Luckily for Conor, the fight in Round 3 was on foot. Otherwise, Khabib would’ve won this round, too. As for the takedowns, Conor successfully fends off Khabib’s attempts. While he himself had not takedowns in this round, the points were given to him because of his great defense.
And defense matters, unless you want to get yourself badly hit and knocked out. All in all, I would give this round to the Irishman.
– Round 4
Round 4 represented a fair share of punches and on-ground fight. The truth be told, I didn’t expect Conor to lose the fight in this round as it began relatively neutral for him. The majority of significant strikes were also spent on foot, where Conor got six for nine significant strikes and Khabib went seven for 13.
The punches weren’t devastating and both of them seemed relatively in shape. However, takedowns and grappling were Conor’s biggest pain in the ass in this fight.
While Nurmagomedov scored one takedown and one guard pass, it was his obliterating submission that ended the match.
After a whole minute of Nurmagomedov trying to grapple Conor, he finally succeeded his rear-naked choke. As we all know, this choke is deadly if held even for a shorter period of time, making Conor tapping Khabib’s hand as a sign of Khabib’s victory.
What a freaking match!
Why Khabib Won?
Let’s face it – Khabib was a lot better than Conor in this match. You could see his motivation in his eyes, while Conor seemed a bit arrogant and he definitely underestimated his opponent.
And that’s what you get for doing that! You get choked, punched, and then you lose the match. Khabib’s victory came with his tactics to take the vast majority of the fight to the ground. This is where Khabib’s overwhelming strength starts to show its full potential.
If you watched the match, you could see that Conor could barely defend himself from Khabib’s constant takedowns, as if Khabib had 50 pounds more than Conor. And when you can’t defend yourself and you’re constantly on the ground, you can’t expect to win a match. On the other side, Conor landed some serious strikes to Khabib, although the final score is still in favor of Khabib. As we said earlier, Conor’s punches were sloppy and seemed powerless.
And that critical strike in the second round which took Conor by surprise was really, really good. Honestly, I expected to see Conor knocked out by that hard punch, but the Irishman was able to sustain it, which I admire.
And the final reason why Khabib won was that he had more energy as he gradually fatigued Conor. He used this technique to pin Conor to the ground and keep him like that. This resulted in Conor looking very fatigued, and dominated.
To put things into perspective, I think this was a great fight. Both men gave us a show to remember and Khabib truly earned my respect with this win.
After this main fight, there was another, arguably predictable fight!
Khabib’s behavior took me by surprise though as he rushed out of the cage to fight a corner man. The reason this took my be surprise is that Khabib’s usually quiet and doesn’t talk that much. In fact, he remained calm when McGregor tried to provoke him during the press conference, which is something that only Nate Diaz and a few other fighters had previously accomplished.
And before you knew it, Khabib was out of the cage brawling a corner man! Other team members also got out and an all in brawl started which took a couple of minutes to contain.
It wasn’t a casual fight. It was a REAL freaking fight where people got punched, which is something I didn’t ever see in a post-fight in this sport. What was the real reason behind it? Well, I guess only Khabib knows what made him burst like that.
I just hope they don’t punish Khabib for this too harshly. We all know that if the Irishman had of been the one to start this brawl it would of been received differently.
So, what have we learned from this fight? We learned that underestimating your opponent is a bad, bad idea. Sure, Conor is a great stand up fighter with a very dangerous left jab, but in this fight pride came before a fall for the Irish man.
As a fan of Conor and one that likes his unique stand up style it was still sad to see him spend a lot of the fight against the cage on the ground. I’m also very glad that Khabib won, just because Conor went in too confident, not realizing how powerful Khabib was.
Since Conor didn’t have a proper MMA fight in like 2 years, I think that it’s not strange he lost. After all, he didn’t finish knocked out, which is great for him. If it was a knockout situation, that would be a real shame for this nimble champion.
I must admit that this is one of the best MMA fights I’ve watched recently. It will surely go down as one of the best fights ever!
As for Khabib he will now go down in history as one of the best MMA fighters ever to walk into the Octagon. And the Irishman will have to respectfully and humbly wait in line, get some wins under his belt before he can be considered by the fans for another chance at the title.