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Mind Games, Striking Power McGregor Keys on UFC 229 Odds

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Conor McGregor continued his campaign of psychological warfare against Khabib Nurmagomedov late last week, making use of the Arabic word for “hell” in an Instagram post intended to intimidate the reigning UFC lightweight champion. McGregor’s antics come as the former two-class UFC champion continues to lag as a +125 underdog on the UFC 229 odds just days before his battle with Khabib.

One of the most outspoken fighters in MMA history, trash talk is just one of several weapons at the disposal of “The Notorious” in his bid to reclaim the UFC lightweight championship in Saturday night’s matchup at T-Mobile Arena.

McGregor’s attempts at getting into the heads of his opponents have been both legendary and effective. The Irishman was relentless in his belligerent verbal attacks on Jose Aldo, which have been cited as key to the record-setting victory that gained McGregor the UFC featherweight title just 13 seconds into their UFC 194 clash as a -105 underdog.

Dustin Poirier has also been candid about the effectiveness of McGregor’s mind games ahead of his opening-round TKO loss to the Irishman at UFC 178, pointing to backstage taunting by McGregor on fight night as a determining factor in his stunning defeat.

McGregor brought pre-fight taunting to a whole new level by leading a violent attack on Khabib’s bus just prior to UFC 223, and further stoked their rivalry by reportedly accusing the 30-year-old of “cowering behind women” during the violence.

There is likely little merit to McGregor’s accusation. However, McGregor’s bold prediction of a first-round knockout win over the undefeated Russian cannot be ignored.

One of the best strikers in UFC history, McGregor has regularly finished opponents inside five minutes during his decade-long MMA career. The Dublin native tallied first-round knockout wins on 13 occasions, and has seen a fight go beyond two rounds just twice while building a 21-3 record.

In addition to his superior striking abilities from either a southpaw or orthodox stance, McGregor has been known to extensively study his opponents in an effort to anticipate their early fight strategy, an approach that proved wildly successful in his stunning victory over Aldo.


McGregor UFC 229 Odds to Win by KO, TKO, or DQ

Not surprisingly, a strong early-round track record has made The Notorious an attractive +165 bet to earn the win by KO, TKO, or disqualification on the Conor McGregor UFC 229 odds. However, McGregor must also avoid a prolonged battle on the mat against Khabib, who remains a steady -155 favorite on the UFC 229 fight odds in his first title defense.

While each of McGregor’s three career losses have come by submission, Khabib has claimed victory by submission eight times while marching to a 26-0 record. Khabib has also seen six of his past eight fights go the distance, and owns +400 odds of winning Saturday’s fight on points.

But Khabib has also shown a tendency to wear down in recent fights decided by the judges, including a shaky performance in the final round of his unanimous decision win over Al Iaquinta as -600 chalk at UFC 223 to win the UFC lightweight title. That has contributed to -475 odds of the fight not going the distance, and +400 odds of McGregor earning the win in the first round.


*Odds as of October 1, 2018

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