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It’s been quite a ride for Conor McGregor over the last couple of years. He climbed to the very top of MMA again, winning our respect by becoming a two-weight champion. He took part in a much-derided, money-spinning boxing venture against Floyd Mayweather. He got arrested after attacking a bus full of UFC fighters, due to a perceived ‘beef’ with his upcoming opponent.

That opponent is Khabib Nurmagomedov, a Russian fighter who just happens to hold the longest undefeated streak in MMA history, with 26 straight victories. The pair will clash at UFC 229 for the UFC Lightweight Championship, scheduled for the 6th October at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. The fight didn’t need the sideshow of McGregor’s arrest, it was going to be a huge draw regardless.

McGregor more than a smart mouth

There is a lot of criticism of Conor McGregor’s antics, but few can fault his attitude in the Octagon. In a way he is like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Usain Bolt or, perhaps even, Mohammed Ali, in that he backs up his theatrics and trash-talk with an intense dedication to winning. A smart mouth can only get you so far in elite level sports. McGregor’s talent is much more important to UFC than his showmanship.

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The problem facing McGregor is that Khabib may just one day be count among the best to ever set foot in the Octagon. The Russian has supreme wrestling skills, able to force an opponent to submit or effectively end the match through a takedown. McGregor, of course, has his own arsenal, namely a deadly left hook, but he will need to keep his feet or else the bout will end.

Unbeaten Khabib clear favorite

Indeed, it’s worth checking out leading betting sites and getting yourself some Khabib McGregor Free Bets, because the odds are suggesting it’s tough to call. Khabib is the favourite, coming in at 8/13 with Bet365. McGregor’s odds are 11/8 with the same company. However, it’s unlikely this goes to a decision, so it might be wiser to look at the 11/10 for Khabib or 17/10 for McGregor to win by stoppage. Betfred even have a price of 10/1 that the fight ends within 59 seconds. Those odds, while generous, suggest anything could happen.

Does Khabib deserve to be favourite, given McGregor is the man with the experience in these huge bouts? It’s difficult to say. There is no indication that Khabib doesn’t have the temperament to handle the big occasion. One criticism of the Russian, despite his imperious record, is that he does leave himself open to punches. Six of McGregor’s last seven UFC victories have been on TKO/KO as a result of strikes, making the 15/8 (William Hill) for a TKO/KO victory a popular bet. Pundits have suggested that Khabib can take a punch, but he will not have come up against anything as vicious as the Irishman’s left hook before.

The flipside is that the fight will be over for McGregor if he hits the floor. Make no mistake about it; Khabib will win if he can takedown McGregor. So, it becomes a clash of styles. One of the best strikers in MMA versus one of the best grapplers. That suggests we will see an intriguing bout, perhaps even an explosive one. This could easily break UFC buy-rate records, and it could be worth every penny.