UFC: 242 | Squared Up: Poirier vs Khabib Fight Analysis & Predictions

Jason Paglia

Thursday, September 5, 2019 8:31 AM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 5, 2019 8:31 AM UTC

Can Dustin Poirier stop Khabib Nurmagomedov from taking him down at will?

<div><p>The lightweight championship will be unified at UFC: 242 when the interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier fights undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. It all goes down Saturday at du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. For real fans of the sport, they will be content with this weekends fight card. For the average fan, this card lacks some of the big names you are used to seeing on the main card of PPV events. However, for gamblers that are purely looking for the angles, there are a few opportunities to bank units on the card. After a span where we had 10 winners in 13 fights, we have hit a bit of a lull the last few events. We have picked the right fighters, but not the right method of victory the last few events. This weekend we try to get back on track. Let’s get after it!</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>DUSTIN POIRIER (25-5) vs KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV (27-0)</strong></h2><div style="text-align:center"><strong><img alt src="https://dnu5embx6omws.cloudfront.net/photos/news/dustin-poirier-will-have-his-hands-full-against-gaethje-1523437674_656x450.jpg" style="width:700px;height:480px" /></strong></div><p style="text-align:center"><b>Dustin Poirier</b></p><p>The fighting pride of Lafayette, Louisiana, Dustin Poirier is one of the most underestimated MMA fighters of all time. He was not a man that became a megastar over-night. It’s fitting that he is called ‘The Diamond’, like a diamond it has taken a while and a ton of pressure to mold himself into the diamond he ended up being, the interim lightweight champion of the world. In 2009 he turned professional, and after an 8-1 record on the regional scene, he gained the attention of the biggest MMA promotion in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In his first UFC fight, Poirier beat Josh Grispi by unanimous decision. After a 4-0 start for the promotion, Poirier suffered his first loss against Chan Sung Jung via submission. Since his first loss in the UFC, Dustin Poirier has won 13 of his 16 fights. He has been an underdog in many of them, and he has won most of them. He walks into the cage on Saturday the current UFC interim lightweight champion. Below is a look at Dustin Poirier, by the numbers.</p><h2><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></h2><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪12 wins by TKO ▪ 5.75 Landed ▪ 37.88% Accuracy</p><p>▪6 wins by Decision ▪ 4.08 Absorbed ▪ 69.39% Defended</p><p>▪7 win by Submission</p><h2><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></h2><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (In my opinion, Dustin Poirier has excellent striking skills. One of the best high-volume strikers fighting at 155 pounds. His combinations don’t stop flying at your face. He has phenomenal striking accuracy. This is his most underestimated skill, and the reason he has won so many fights as an underdog. On a side note he has a very underrated kicking game. We probably won’t see much of his kicking game considering he will be on the lookout for any and every takedown attempt that Nurmagomedov goes for.)</p><p>• <strong>Power </strong>(My MMA partner Dave thinks I am crazy, but… so be it. Poirier has power in his hands. Has he shut the lights out with one punch? Not really, but is he capable of doing it? YES. He has enough power in his hands to put every fighter he has fought the last 3 years on rubber legs, that’s good enough for me.)</p><p>• <strong>Ground Game </strong>(Poirier has a VERY underrated grappling game. His BJJ is real. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and has proven on multiple occasions that fighters should not sleep on his ground game. On top of that he is a decent wrestler when he has to be with very solid top control and is more than capable of keeping opponents on the mat while he smashes their head repeatedly.)</p><p>• <strong>Cardio (EXCELLENT!)</strong></p><h2><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></h2><p>• <strong>Pressure </strong>(We have seen Poirier have problems with guys that get in his face and cut the cage off immediately. Pressure has been a problem for him at times. It all depends on how well Khabib Nurmagomedov cuts the escape angles off.)</p><p>• <strong>Chaos Theory </strong>(If you dive deep into Poirier’s losses, they almost always happen in wild exchanges and scrambles. He forgets to defend himself during times of complete chaos. Considering there will be a ton of scrambles in this fight when trying to escape Nurmagomedov’s takedown attempts, he will have to be cognizant of Nurmagomedov’s improved striking skills.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/5c5ae009342cca01c71cf984-750-563.jpg" style="width:700px;height:525px" /><br /><b>Khabib Nurmagomedov</b></p><p>Many people believe that Khabib Nurmagomedov is the #1 pound for pound mixed martial artist in the world today. There is only one thing that people think about when it comes to Nurmagomedov. Twenty-seven fights, twenty-seven wins. He grew up mastering the art of wrestling. He later added judo and combat sambo which molded him into the MMA fighter that has yet to suffer a loss in his MMA career.</p><p>In 2008 he turned pro, fighting on the regional scene around Moscow. He would fight in tournaments that forced him to win multiple fights in one night. He ran through the competition early in his career and with a record of 16-0 he signed a multi-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. In 11 fights in the UFC, he has won 11 times. After a decade of fighting, it would be his 26<sup>th</sup> win that would mean the most. At UFC: 223 he won the UFC lightweight championship against Al Iaquinta in a fight that he dominated for five rounds. In his last fight, he defended his championship for the first time against the man he hates the most on the UFC roster. Conor McGregor came into UFC: 229 guaranteeing a win against Nurmagomedov and Khabib did what he does, win.</p><p>Saturday, he walks into the Octagon as the #3 pound for pound fighter in the world looking to unify his lightweight championship title. Will he do what he does in every fight? Below is a look at Khabib Nurmagomedov, by the numbers.</p><h2><strong><u>― STATS ―</u></strong></h2><p>•<strong>Method of Victory •Significant Strikes </strong>(per/min)<strong> •Takedowns </strong></p><p>▪8 wins by TKO ▪ 4.29 Landed ▪ 44.83% Accuracy</p><p>▪10 wins by Decision ▪1.7 Absorbed ▪ 84.62% Defended</p><p>▪9 wins by Submission</p><h2><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></h2><p>• <strong>Wrestling </strong>(It is world class. The best wrestling in the history of the lightweight division, and possibly the best wrestling in the history of the UFC. Just the fact that it’s a point to be debated tells you everything you need to know about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wrestling.)</p><p>• <strong>Chin </strong>(It is made of iron. There has been one punch thrown at Nurmagomedov’s chin that dropped him in 11 UFC fights. Michael Johnson threw one lucky punch that dropped Khabib and he was up off the mat in 20 seconds. His chin is incredible.)</p><p>• <strong>Cardio </strong>(His gas tank seems to be never ending. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I have ever seen him gasping for air, like ever.)</p><h2><strong><u>― CONS ―</u></strong></h2><p>•<strong> Footwork</strong> (His movement at range, and while he is striking is really poor. He doesn’t give himself the opportunity to get into a rhythm because he is constantly chaining takedown attempts.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> <strong>Defense</strong> (Al Iaquinta hit Khabib A LOT during that five round fight while they were standing. The problem is it doesn’t matter when you can absorb damage the way that Nurmagomedov can. If Poirier gets the amount of opportunities that Iaquinta did, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he is the guy that finally drops Khabib. Theoretically, it is possible.)</p><p>• <strong>Striking </strong>(Khabib Nurmagomedov has improved his striking a tremendous amount. People tend to sleep on his striking now because they feel his striking is still as bad as when he first entered the UFC. It is not, but all that said… His striking is still worse than any fighter that Dustin Poirier has seen the last three years.)</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=168&amp;a=4417b7df-a48f-47f3-9b45-f79858bc083a&amp;f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d582dcf927b95968483da5f/original-10-bet-new-customer-welcome-bonus" style="width:100%" /></a></p><p><strong>THE VERDICT</strong></p><p><strong>So, who wins this fight? This should not be a tough call, right? 27 FIGHTS / 27 WINS. The entire world has slept on Dustin Poirier the last 3 years, and all he has done is proved everyone wrong, over and over again. </strong></p><p><strong>The fight comes down to one question. Can Dustin Poirier stop Khabib Nurmagomedov from taking him down at will? Poirier stops 7 of 10 takedowns attempted in the cage, but what does that really mean when the fighter trying to take you down is the best wrestler in the history of the division? I thought Conor McGregor would have an easier time hurting Khabib on entry when he went for takedowns, but he couldn’t do anything. Conor McGregor has the striking accuracy of an assassin. Poirier has solid accuracy, but he is not on McGregor’s level. I don’t see another opportunity for Poirier to hit Khabib clean, other than on entry.</strong></p><p><strong>I really want to take Dustin Poirier at that price of (4.20) because you just never know, and Poirier has shocked the world routinely. I think Khabib Nurmagomedov is beatable, but I have to see it first before I can bet against him. I am not looking to bet Nurmagomedov at (1.22) So I decided to throw him in an accumulator bet. I think Islam Makhachev has the best chance at victory on the entire card. Davi Ramos is two levels below Makhachev in skill. If you bet Nurmagomedov and Makhachev together it brings you to around (1.60) which I think is a fair price for two fighters that are a combined 43-1. Book It.</strong></p><p><strong>THE BET:</strong></p><p><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="UFC 242 Betting Odds"><strong>Khabib Nurmagomedov / Islam Makhachev to win at <em>25/42 (1.60) wtih Bet365</em></strong></a></p></div>
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