No more boxing matches, no more bus attacks or interim champions – it’s time for Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov to step inside the Octagon and decide who rules the MMA universe. They’ll compete for Nurmagomedov’s Lightweight title this Saturday in the main event of UFC 229, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s shaping up to be the biggest fight in the history of this sport; here are the top 10 things you need to know before these two warriors touch gloves.
• Nurmagomedov (26-0 lifetime, 10-0 UFC) is the –160 favorite on the UFC 229 odds board at press time, down slightly from –170 at the open. The champion was priced as high as –185 in early betting.
• McGregor (21-3 lifetime, 9-1 UFC) has improved from +140 at the open to +130 at press time. The former Featherweight and Lightweight champ was available at +125 before giving up ground on Tuesday.
• McGregor has only been the underdog once inside the Octagon, in his December 2015 Featherweight title challenge against Jose Aldo. The champion opened at +115 before moving to –125; McGregor knocked Aldo out in 13 seconds to claim the belt, both the fastest KO and the fastest finish in a UFC title fight.
• Nurmagomedov has been favored in each of his last eight fights, after earning a unanimous decision over Gleison Tibau (–170) in July 2012 at UFC 148.
• Nurmagomedov holds the UFC record for most takedowns in a single fight, putting Abel Trujillo on the canvas 21 times at UFC 160 back in May 2013 before earning a unanimous decision.
• At press time, there are 35 different ways to bet Khabib vs. McGregor on the UFC 229 props market; Nurmagomedov has slipped from –105 to +110 to finish McGregor inside the distance.
• By the time Saturday rolls around, it will have been 693 days since the last time McGregor graced the Octagon, when he beat Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight title at UFC 205.
• On Wednesday, UFC president Dana White said that UFC 229 is trending towards 3 million pay-per-view buys. The current record is 1.6 million buys, for the rematch between McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August 2016.
• McGregor has earned performance bonuses in nine of his 10 UFC fights. The only bonus for Nurmagomedov came in last December’s unanimous decision over Edson Barboza at UFC 219.
• If you had bet on Nurmagomedov in each of his 10 UFC fights, you would have made a 28% return on your investment. That’s twice as much as McGregor has delivered in his 10 fights – which include his loss to Diaz (+280) in their first encounter at UFC 196.
*Odds as of October 4, 2018