It is finally official, the unbeaten Lightweight champion UFC Khabib Nurmagomedov will try and defend his UFC title. He will take on the interim champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 event on the 7th of September 2019. We have been hearing the rumors for a while now that Khabib is planning to fight on September 7. And then again with a quick turnaround on December 21st, there are official confirmations from the UFC of late.
Both the fighters have performed exceedingly well in their previous bouts. Khabib defended his title by defeating ex-champion Conor McGregor. While Dustin Poirier was crowned the interim champion when he defeated Max Holloway at the UFC 232.
The question that is creeping into everyone’s mind is how big of a threat is Dustin Poirier to Khabib? Poirier has made a great improvement in the past few years. But can he really be the first fighter to defeat Khabib? And then be crowned as the new UFC Lightweight champion? Let’s take a look at the Khabib vs Poirier matchup and see if Dustin has the tools to beat Nurmagomedov.
It’s the Best Wrestler Vs Best Striker Fight
Khabib vs Poirier is expected to be yet another great example of a striker vs wrestler matchup. Khabib Nurmagomedov is a renowned fighter for his supreme ground game. He has been wrestling since his childhood and he is regarded as one of the most skillful wrestlers/grapplers in the UFC.
In his earlier contests, Khabib was dominant against everybody on the ground and he will look to do the same against Dustin Poirier. The unbeaten fighter on average lands about 5 takedowns per fight, which is not easy for his opponents.
On the other hand, Poirier is one of the best and the most technical fighters in the Lightweight category. He has been very imposing as of late with his victories over Gaethje, Pettis, Max Holloway and Alvarez. Poirier has not lost a single bout since 2016 when he was beaten by Michael Johnson.
Prediction for the Khabib vs Poirier fight
Who will win Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier fight? According to bookmakers, Khabib certainly has tons of advantages and he is a hot favorite to win against Dustin Poirier. The main advantage of Khabib is that he has already fought with elite strikers, so he knows how to use the game plan and strategy.
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said that they might keep it on their feet more and surely, we will witness a lot of Khabib’s striking and exchanges in stand-up. This will give better chances for Dustin Poirier and the unbeaten champion will have to be extra cautious in exchanging shots. It will be a big blunder for Khabib to undervalue Dustin and his stand-up skills. Max Holloway had to pay the price for underestimating Poirier’s striking and we all know what was the end result. Khabib’s boxing is clearly not as solid as Holloway’s.
As soon as Khabib pressurizes Poirier and goes for takedowns, there is little chance of Dustin winning the fight. Even if he can defend well and manages to escape some of the takedowns, Khabib’s wrestling and pressure will leave him gasping for more. This fight can only go one way on the ground unless Poirier something in his bag that will spring a surprise.