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Superfight: McGregor vs Khabib at UFC 229

McGregor vs Khabib UFC Odds

The fight that many MMA fans have been calling for has come to fruition as the former two-division champion Conor “The Notorious” McGregor is back in action to stand toe to toe with Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in Las Vegas on October 6. The current lightweight champion, Khabib, is the -175 favorite with the former titleholder coming back at +145.

McGregor has closed as the favorite in all of his fights except for his featherweight title fight against then-champ Jose Aldo – we all know how that worked out. Meanwhile, Khabib has closed as a -200 favorite or better in each of his last eight fights. The fighters have a combined 19-1 record inside the UFC and a 47-3 combined record overall.

Shark Bites
  • Conor McGregor averages 5.82 strikes per minute.
  • Conor McGregor has only been taken down six times in his UFC career.
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov is riding a 26-fight winning streak.

Breaking down McGregor

McGregor (+145) has won many of his scraps before he even stepped into the Octagon with his relentless verbal jousting and an “I can conquer anything” mentality. “The Notorious” brings the fight to his opponents and seeks an opening for his deadly left hand for the knockout. The Ireland native has finished six of his 10 UFC fights by T/KO and 18 of his 21 victories overall have been by knockout. The southpaw tries to push a suffocating pace, averaging 5.82 strikes per minute while absorbing 4.55 significant strikes per minute.

McGregor’s three losses have all come by submission, mostly due to his suspect cardio letting him down as in the first Nate Diaz fight. Conor’s wrestling defense has been in question as well, as he was taken down four times in his Chad Mendes fight at UFC 189, although he had a torn ACL going into that fight. The former champ is coming off a two-year layoff from the cage. Of course, he had his massive boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last year, but ring rust is a thing and his cardio has already been questioned.

Breaking down Khabib

Nurmagomedov (-175) has cardio for days and he puts relentless pressure on his opponents that they eventually just cave to, and he has his way for the duration of the bout. “The Eagle” has freakish strength for the lightweight division and that is seen in the eyes of his foes when he gets his hands on them. The Dagestan native has outstruck his opponents by an average 116.75 strikes over his last four scraps. That’s not a typo; I repeat: outstruck his opponents by over 100 strikes. The orthodox fighter has a tremendous 70 percent significant strike defense, absorbing just 1.55 significant strikes per minute while dishing out an average of 4.34 strikes per minute. Much of these strikes came via a swarming ground and pound.

His main attack is his elite-level wrestling. He averages 5.44 takedowns per 15 minutes and is constantly backing his opponent down in search of getting his hands on them. This was on full display when he took on Abel Trujillo at UFC 160 when Trujillo was dragged to the ground 21 times through their three-round bout. Khabib did show a perchant for getting hit in his last fight against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223, as he was tagged 43 times in the bout, the most strikes he’d absorbed since 2013.

How will McGregor and Khabib play out?

Styles make fights and this is a perfect example as you have the hard-hitting Conor McGregor clashing with the all-out wrestling attack from Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Ireland native will look for the early strike to reclaim his UFC lightweight belt that he never officially lost, but if this fight goes long, the momentum quickly swings in Khabib’s favor. McGregor has tremendous footwork and will have to play the matador role as the charging bull of Khabib seeks to take him down. Khabib’s chin will be tested but he is also going to be the bigger man in the bout and if he realizes early in the fight he can handle McGregor’s power, this will be a long return to the Octagon for “The Notorious.”

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-175) via T/KO

For a more in-depth odds analysis, check out Joe Osborne's article.