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John Kavanagh thinks Conor McGregor would finish Khabib Nurmagomedov in two rounds

UFC 205 photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

John Kavanagh is confident that Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov will lock horns before the end of 2018.

During a Facebook live interview to promote Wimp 2 Warrior on Thursday, the Irish coach predicted that Khabib Nurmagomedov would score a decision win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 if the fight makes it to the Octagon.

Considering a matchup between “The Eagle” and McGregor, Kavanagh insisted that he couldn’t fathom any other outcome than the SBG fighter finishing the surging Russian.

“They’re on a path to meet each other, so I’m of course watching everything he does,” said Kavanagh of Nurmagomedov.

“In his last fight, I just think when you’re facing somebody with the type of stopping power Conor has in his hands, if you just stand very upright and look to walk towards somebody and get a body lock, that’s a risky strategy.

“Now, Barboza is a great kicker, but trying spinning kicks on someone who can close distance quickly like Khabib and has a body lock heavy grappling game, it’s maybe not the best idea.

“For somebody who can make people overextend themselves and who has genuine one punch knockout power – and we’ve seen Khabib get rocked by Michael Johnson for example – I find it hard to envisage anything other than Conor knocking him out.”

Kavanagh claimed that Nurmagomedov’s fighting style is dependent on his ability to take shots. Based on that analysis, he believes the fight would play out a lot like McGregor’s UFC 205 win over Eddie Alvarez.

“We have to be ready because (Khabib) has shown that he can walk through some shots. There will be those grappling exchanges, and we’ve got to be in great shape,” insisted Kavanagh.

“We’ve got to be in great shape, we’ve got to be ready for his chain wrestling and how he puts his takedowns together.

“That’s a matchup as a fan I would love to see. I think it’s an ultimate striker versus grappler matchup, but of course they’re well-rounded in all areas. But I think Conor’s striking and his submission game as well would cause problems.

“(To cut a) long story short, I think within two rounds Conor would knock him out. I think it would be maybe like the Eddie Alvarez fight, and he would stop him in the second.”

Kavanagh acknowledged Nurmagomedov’s stellar wrestling pedigree and his ability to take his opponents down off the fence.

“He’s a different level of grappling with that intensity that he brings. It’s just a dangerous strategy. When I looked at how he closed distance in the Johnson fight compared with the Barboza fight, to me he hadn’t evolved an awful lot,” he explained.

“It’s still relying on the ability to walk through the shots and then that pressure starts up against the fence. There are not many people better in the world than him at that, but a fight starts standing and it starts separated.

He continued: “If you watched the second Diaz fight, (McGregor) was able to defend himself up against the fence very well there. If you watch the Eddie fight, when Eddie was trying to take him down off the fence he was able to defend himself very well there. It is an area that we put a lot of time and effort into, of course we put a lot of time and effort into everywhere.”

Kavanagh is confident the fight will take place in 2018.

“I can’t see it not happening this year,” he said. “And when it does, and all the details are finalized, between the build up and the press conferences and everything, it’s going to be a typical Conor McGregor fight in that it stops the world. It will be incredible, and I really hope it happens. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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Posted by Richie Cranny on Thursday, January 18, 2018

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