At UFC 219, on Dec. 30, Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Edson Barboza. Who will win?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist
I think Nurmagomedov wins with his usual tactics of taking a guy down and trying to control him there. I think we’ll see him be very cautious, though, because he won’t want to give up a submission. So, I think he’ll fight conservatively and we get a boring fight. I hope not, but I can’t imagine any way that Nurmagomedov fights Barboza on the feet, that’s a recipe for him to get knocked the hell out. He’s also not going to want to take a lot of chances on the ground either, so I think it’s a dull decision win for Nurmagomedov.
RAFFAEL IGLESIAS, MMATorch Contributor
Winner: Nurmagomedov/ Decision
Nurmagomedov had all the promise in the world a few years back and appeared to be the heir-apparent in the division. His body has seemingly let him down over the last three years and derailed any momentum he garnered with his spotless 24-0 record. If his body is right, he should run away with this fight. The rust will undoubtedly be an issue due to the limited octagon time he’s had, but I believe his talent should show through.
DAVE KOULA, MMATorch Contributor
Khabib typically has some dicey moments on the feet, but he’s on a different planet when it comes to every other part of the game. This fight should look a lot like the Michael Johnson fight, but I think after a few well-placed kicks Khabib will take this fight to the floor as soon as possible and beat him badly on the floor, while yelling about title shots and such. Khabib TKO round 2.
COLE HENRY, MMATorch Contributor
A good friend of mine would disown me for this pick, but I’m going to take Barboza here. Khabib hasn’t fought in some time, and that aside I don’t think that he has ever faced a striker as dangerous as Barboza, but more than that I don’t think he has ever fought a striker that has Barboza’s size. The layoff, combined with Barboza’s potent Muay Thai, will be a lot for Khabib to overcome and I think that Barboza scores a TKO victory in the second round. This would obviously be a huge upset for Barboza, and would put him in line for a future title shot.
SEAN COVINGTON, MMATorch Contributor
I got Barbosa, I believe he will make a statement win here or at least I am hoping he does. Khabib is the biggest joke in MMA and there are quite a few jokes out there. Khabib doesn’t deserve a damn thing except a knockout. If he is knocked out cold within seconds maybe, juuuust maybe, we can stop talking about “he who never fights.”
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