With the Coronavirus and social distancing in full swing, it seems to be that I have a lot of time on my hands. No jiu-jitsu. No muy thai. So with the blessing of MMAFantasy.com , I'm going to write a piece for the site.
With all sports being canceled as far as the near future holds, at least Dana White has assured the MMA community that Khabib vs. Ferguson will go on. The fight is scheduled for April 18. The site is yet to be determined amid social distancing. This is the fifth time since 2015 that this fight has been booked. Below is a short timeline of failed booked events:
(per mmajunkie Sept. 17, 2019)
-Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale, Dec. 11, 2015
Khabib withdrawals (broken rib)
-UFC on FOX 19, Apr 16, 2016
Ferguson pulls out on Dr. rec for fluid/blood in lungs
11 days before the fight
-UFC 209, Mar 4, 2017
Khabib hospitalized on weigh-in day due to weight cut
-UFC 223, Apr 7, 2018
6 days before the fight, on April Fool's Day, Ferguson
trips over a wire, blowing out his knee
Max Holloway was scheduled as the replacement for Fergs but withdrew because of a tough weight cut. Max was replaced by Al Iaquinta who Nurmagomedov beat by unanimous decision. Khabib went on to beat Conor by rear-naked choke in round 4 at UFC 229 and submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 with a rear-naked choke also, coming midway through the third round.
Khabib, as we all know is 28-0. 8 by way of KO/TKO, 10 subs and 10 decisions. With wins over RDA, Michael Johnson and Edson Barboza.Since the last scheduled and failed fight Fergs has been nothing short of amazing. Two back to back fight of the night wins against Anthony Pettis and Cowboy Cerrone. Both wins via corner stoppage. Those two wins complete a 12 win streak (3 by KO/TKO, 6 subs and 3 decisions) for El Cucuy.
As of yesterday, The Eagle has flown his training camp from California to Russia. Some MMA socialites think the fight will be in the middle east or somewhere overseas. I don't think so. I think Dana and everyone at the UFC is working extremely hard to make this fight happen. We need sports at this time. Regardless of the venue, it will be closed doors. And if any of you caught UFC Brasilia, it was very cool. I'm a huge sports fan and I truly enjoy hearing the conversations between coaches and players/fighters. Brasilia really gave us that opportunity. Not only the instructions from the corners but the taunting and chatter in the ring between the fighters as the fight goes on. Khabib and Tony should have plenty of that!!
No matter where or when this shows to be the battle to start off the summer! It's a tough one to pick for sure. As of March 7, FanDuel Sportsbook has Nurmagomedov a -250 favorite with Ferguson as a +205 dog. In my opinion, Tony Ferguson has exactly what it takes to stop Khabib's reign. Pin-point, lightning-fast striking accuracy and a 10th Planet BJJ black belt under Eddie Bravo. Obviously I'm for El Cucuy. Don't get me wrong, Khabib is the most dominant grappler this division has ever seen and can strike as well, as we saw against Conor. This will not be an easy fight for either opponent. I hope you enjoyed my article. If so, comment or let Chase know that you'd like to hear more from me. Just a regular old sports guy...