Dan Hardy: Så kommer Conor McGregor besegra Khabib
En av årets största matcher närmar sig med storsteg då lättviktsmästaren Khabib Nurmagomedov kommer att försvara sin titel mot den före detta dubbelmästaren Conor McGregor under UFC 229 den 6 oktober. Redan nu börjar röster att höras om vem som kommer gå hem med titeln men det är få som har lika mycket erfarenhet och talang för insiktsfulla analyser som UFC-kommentatorn Dan Hardy. I det senaste avsnittet av BBC MMA Show så delade han med sig av sina tankar från irländarens perspektiv.
‘The first thing we need to think about is how Conor is going to approach this,” sade Hardy. “He knows Khabib is going to come forward and it’s going to be difficult for Conor to push Khabib up against the fence like he has done everybody else. This is where he usually lines people up for the power left hand.
“It’s going to different in this one because Khabib is going to push forward no matter what Conor is throwing, he did the same to Edson Barboza who is a vicious kicker and he walked through most of his kicks. He knows it’s going to hurt and he’s going to have to weather an early storm, but he also knows that once he gets his hands on someone, he does what he likes.”
“The Outlaw” Hardy respekterar Nurmagomedovs grappling men tror att han har en hel del svagheter som McGregor kan komma att utnyttja.
Bland annat nämner Hardy att lättviktsmästaren Khabib saknar fotarbete och endast går framåt, något som kan komma att visa sig väldigt farligt mot en motståndare som McGregor som har 18 knockout-vinster i sin professionella MMA-karriär.
“Because he’s unbeaten and no one has ever proved different to him, no one has ever caught him with a good shot and put him down. We saw him hurt in the Michael Johnson fight, but Khabib’s main vulnerability for me in this fight is that he’s got no footwork, he only knows forward, there are no ideas of cutting off the Octagon until he can lay his hands on someone.
“So that’s where Conor gets into this fight, he’s very intelligent. He’ll be circling off and walking Khabib into that left hand. I think this is going to be a very different version of Conor than we’ve ever seen. I think we will see a lot more lateral movement and a lot more footwork. I think he’s going to come in slightly lighter and better conditioned, and I think he’s going to be expecting to be taken down at least a couple of times.”
Matchen mellan Nurmagomedov och McGregor utannonserades nyligen och det är under två månader kvar tills de båda kämparna möts i buren, något som Hardy tror kommer gagna irländaren. Enligt Hardy så har McGregor bättre kondition och en av anledningarna till att de valde ta matchen med kort notis kan vara för att hoppas att viktminskningen ska påverka Nurmagomedov negativt:
“The quick turnaround for this fight for me tells me that if he can get Khabib to be mainly focused on his weight cut for the fight, and overconfident that he’s going to be able to do what he always does, then Conor will think he will be able to predict what he’s going to do in there and set him up,” fortsatte Hardy.
“I think that weathering an early storm is likely for Conor and I think he’s going to have to maybe get out the first round and get back to his feet a couple of times, but I think he will find a place for that left hand in the late second or early third and I think Khabib will walk onto it. We’ve seen him slow down in the Al Iaquinta fight when we saw him do five rounds. He did slow down and there are points where you start thinking to yourself that if he was fighting Conor and if there was that sharp left hand in the toolbox, he’d be in trouble.” *
Vem har du som vinnare?