The UFC 165 card scheduled for Toronto, Canada on September 21st has added a lightweight tilt between Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Healy made a solid impression in his UFC debut by taking out well regarded Jim Miller, but had it all blow up in his face when he tested positive for marijuana, and he went back under the radar after that. Meanwhile Nurmagomedov is 4-0 in the UFC and considered an up and comer, but he must pass the test that Healy represents.
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Nurmagomedov is 20-0 in his MMA career, which puts him in heady company, like Jose Aldo and that type of fighter on paper. Healy easily represents the toughest competition that Nurmagomedov has ever faced.
And Healy has to be extra motivated. The reversal of his win over Miller, which was impressive, not only cost him a ‘W’ and his standing in the UFC rankings, it also took over $100k in bonus money away from him. If you include the Miller fight, Healy has won 7 fight s in row and almost every fighter in that winning streak is better than the resume Magomedov brings to the table.
So it will be interesting to see what Nurmagomedov brings to the table against a season veteran who has fought tons of tough guys. Should Nurmagomedov break through and get the win, it will signal that he is ready to head to the top of the Lightweight division and is likely 2 more wins away from a title shot. For Nurmagomedov, there is no turning back as a win will signal harder opposition from here on forward.
Expect Nurmagomedov to come right after Healy, as his aggression is what has goten him this far and what he will use to carry him forward. Healy need to survive an opening rush from Nurmagomedov, and turn the fight into an ugly, grinding affiar reminiscent of fights in a WWI trench. Though that isnt exactly where you usually want a young, hungry Russian, but that is Healy’s world. As stated earlier if Nurmagomedov can get through this test, we will be atching him for a long time to come.