3 Reasons Why Tony Ferguson Could Hand Khabib Nurmagomedov His First Loss

March 13, 2018


3 Reasons Why Tony Ferguson Could Hand Khabib Nurmagomedov His First Loss

UFC 223 showcases a huge bout between two elite fighters, but can Tony Ferguson actually put an end to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s run of perfection?

Staying perfect in mixed martial arts is a pretty big deal. An unbeaten fighter comes off as dominant and even invincible.

For whatever reason, the fall from glory can be quite disastrous. That first loss can kill fighter marketability and possibly more importantly, their mystique.

I’m not sure if it’s a complete shattering of their confidence, utter exploitation (for both, see: Rousey, Ronda) or the company no longer seeing the fighter as an elite asset.

Each case is probably different, but there’s no doubt any undefeated fighter has to be weary of what follows with that first defeat.

It’s rare to be someone like Conor McGregor, where you do lose a big fight and it’s still almost like you didn’t lose. Needless to say, it will be very interesting to see (should it ever happen) what happens with Khabib Nurmagomedov if he finally coughs up a loss after racing out to an absurd 25-0 MMA record.

Nurmagomedov gets arguably his stiffest test in his career at UFC 223, when the equally impressive Tony Ferguson looks to be the man to hand The Eagle his first taste of defeat.

The good news is Canadian sports bettors have options going into one of the best UFC cards of the year.

They can flat out avoid a fight that feels difficult to predict and honestly doesn’t offer amazing value. Instead of rolling the dice on Ferguson vs. Khabib, bettors can spread their wagers out across a stacked card.

You can do that, or you can aim high with the versatile Ferguson. He’s not as massive of an underdog as Vegas would have you believe, but if he can get the win, he returns pretty nice value as a +200 underdog.

If you’re looking to back him (or even just cheer him on), here’s a few reasons why I think he just might be able to pull off the huge upset:


Khabib Doesn’t Always Finish Fights

The biggest reason why Tony Ferguson can absolutely win this fight is the fact that as great as The Eagle is, he doesn’t always end fights when he can or should.

In fact, not only did Nurmagomedov’s last MMA battle go the distance (Decision win), but that’s been the result in four of his last six matches.

Khabib has an impressive history of knockouts (8) and submissions (8), but he also has quite a few fights (9!) that saw him simply having to survive until the end.

That obviously doesn’t mean Khabib didn’t still inflict a lot of damage or even flat out dominate those matches. However, if he fails to put away Ferguson early, it’s not crazy to think his first career loss is decided by the judges.


Ferguson Comes in Hot

Ferguson is considerably older at 34, but he’s also in amazing form. It was Khabib that failed to meet weight in his last big bout, while Ferguson has been cruising along with 10 consecutive wins and 16 wins in his last 17 bouts.

Seriously, this guy hasn’t lost a fight since 2013 and has worked his way through some stiff competition along the way. He’s also been deadly of late, ending fights via submission five times in his last seven trips inside the Octagon.

It’s easy to point to Khabib’s perfect record, which obviously more than doubles Ferguson’s hot streak. However, both fighters come in with a torrid run and Ferguson has been finishing fights in more impressive fashion.


Versatility Could Win Out

It’s probably tough to say one fighter is far more versatile than the other, but if I had to, I’d point to Tony Ferguson being the more well-rounded fighter.

Not only is Ferguson in amazing shape, but he packs some serious punching power, knows how to win on the canvas and also brings elite defense to the table.

This is a very tough, gritty fighter who knows how to gut out wins, has that killer instinct as a finisher and with zero career knockouts absorbed, has proven to be a near-impossible fighter to close out.

Khabib is the superior wrestler and he’s possibly the best takedown specialist in the business. However, Ferguson counters that with his great defense and his own ability to counter and finish on the ground.

That could be one reason why Khabib fails to end this one early, while Nurmagomedov obviously needs to also be concerned with Ferguson’s ability to not just keep this fight on the feet, but also end it there.

I like the size and strength advantage Ferguson provides and I just think he’s a nastier fighter. Things seem to come a little too easy to Khabib and this is not a fight he can breeze through.

That’s probably going to lead to a Decision one way or another, but Ferguson is the guy who can quickly end this thing in two different ways. Khabib can as well, but Ferguson provides better defense and way more betting value.

UFC 223 is going to be one heck of a show and there’s no telling how this thing will go.

One thing is for sure, this is set up to be an awesome fight and I personally can’t help but pull for Ferguson to edge this one out. If he does, it’ll probably be due to one of the aforementioned reasons.



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