How Long Will the UFC 229: McGregor vs Nurmagomedov Fight Last?
On October 6th, the world’s most popular fighter will take on one of the sport’s most dominant champions when Conor McGregor fights Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 229. This mega-fight will take place in the fight capital of the world – Las Vegas, Nevada.
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McGregor hasn’t been inside the octagon in almost 2 years and many fight fans are curious whether or not he still has what it takes to hang with the UFC elite. While he was gone, Nurmagomedov has dominated just about everyone in his path. As an undefeated champ, Khabib looks unstoppable. And, stopping him, is what McGregor hopes to do quickly in the UFC 229 main event.
Dana White and the UFC expect this fight to be a close on and also set an all-time PPV record by surpassing 2 million buys. That accomplishment would cement McGregor’s legacy as one of the greatest PPV attractions in the history of fight sports.
Despite the UFC’s expectations of a close fight, oddsmakers view McGregor as a significant underdog against Nurmagomedov. The odds opened with Khabib as a -155 favorite, but have gone up slightly to -160. McGregor opened at a +135 underdog, and is now a +140 underdog according to BetOnline. The popular online bookmaker also has an intriguing UFC 229 wager that we’re going to examine further: the Over/Under on how long this fight will last.
How Many Rounds will the McGregor vs Nurmagomedov Fight Last?
- Over 2.5 (+105)
- Under 2.5 (-135)
As of this writing, BetOnline has the Over/Under set at 2.5 rounds, which is half of the scheduled 5 round fight. With that number in mind, let’s dig deeper into each fighter’s professional MMA record.
Conor McGregor’s Fight History
Conor “Notorious” McGregor has a professional record of 21 wins and 3 losses. Since joining the UFC, he’s gone 9-1. Of his 24 professional fights, McGregor has only gone the distance on 2 occasions: against Nate Diaz at UFC 202 and against Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26. Conor won both of those fights via decision.
Other than the two fights that McGregor has gone the distance, he’s never even been into the 3rd round. The following 4 bouts are the closest he’s come to entering the 3rd round of a fight:
- 2012 – Defeated Dave Hill via submission at 4:10 of Rd. 2
- 2015 – Defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189 via TKO at 4:57 of Rd. 2
- 2016 – Lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 via submission at 4:12 of Rd. 2
- 2016 – Defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 via TKO at 3:04 of Rd. 2
In total, McGregor has only gone past the 2:30 mark of Round 2 in 6 of his 24 fights, which is 25% of the time. That means he’s barely ever seen the 3rd round, let alone the halfway mark of a championship fight.
Khabib Nurmagomedov Fight History
Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov has a professional record of 26 wins and 0 losses. Since joining the UFC, he’s gone 10-0. Of his 26 professional fights, The Eagle had 10 fights go the distance. That’s roughly 38% of the time. Of the remaining 16 fights that didn’t go the distance, another 2 MMA bouts went into the 3rd Round. That’s a grand total of 12 fights going at least into the 3rd round and/or beyond the half way mark of a championship fight, which is good for a rate of 46% of the time.
Recent Trends for Both Fighters
In Conor McGregor’s last 10 fights, which spans back to April 2013, he has gone the distance on 2 of those occasions. Furthermore, he’s flirted with going into the 3rd round on two additional occasions in the last 5 fights. As the competition has gotten tougher, McGregor has been pushed further into the fight.
In Khabib Nurmagomedov’s last 10 fights, which spans back to January 2012, he has gone the distance or fought into the 3rd round in 8 of those contests. He’s done it in 6 of his last 7 fights, including the last 3 straight.
Over/Under Prediction for McGregor vs Nurmagomedov
Conor McGregor is going to do everything he can to finish this fight early. That means taking some risks with his elite striking skills. McGregor can’t afford to be taken down to the mat because Nurmagomedov is a world class grappler and wrestler. He mauls his opponents in the clinch and grinds them into the mat on his way to victory. Conor is going to have to show an impressive takedown defense and poise under pressure especially if he gets taken down.
Nurmagomedov didn’t become an undefeated UFC champion because of luck. He’s a smart fighter who knows his strengths and looks to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses. In this fight, McGregor’s weakness is clearly his ground game. Khabib will patiently look for an opening to take down Conor without eating any massive shots in the process. Nurmagomedov’s best chance at this goal is to take the fight into the latter rounds as McGregor has been known to fatigue when the fight goes longer.
For the most part, Khabib seems to get stronger as the fight goes on and this will suit him well against McGregor. However, he must be cautious when going in for a takedown no matter what round it is.
Either McGregor comes out swinging and trying to make this a boxing match or both fighters take the time to feel each other out. Either way, this will eat up a good portion of the opening round. From there, both men will try to find the opening that they need to impose their will in the 2nd round. Which is good for us bettors because this almost guarantees that the fight will go into the 3rd round.
Ultimately, I see Khabib pushing this fight further along as he tries to get McGregor into at least the 4th round of the contest. Eddie Alvarez and Chad Mendes almost took McGregor into the 3rd round, but he was ultimately able to catch them with a shot and TKO both before the 2nd round ended. I don’t see that happening in this fight. I expect it to go over 2.5 rounds and McGregor is going to have to show the same grit and grind that he showed in the Nate Diaz rematch if he wants to win this fight. Regardless, go with the Over for the UFC 229 main event.