Saturday, January 23 will see the highly-anticipated return to the Octagon of the ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor after over a year out of the sport.
He will rematch Dustin Poirier in one of, if not the biggest, MMA clash of the year. The fight will take place on UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and should not be missed.
In their first fight, McGregor dispatched Poirier in the first round, landing a brutal left hook to the ear of the American, switching out the lights, before moving in for a swift finish.
That was five-and-a-half years ago and both men have come a long way since then, both scoring impressive wins in their last fights.
McGregor defeated Cowboy Cerrone at UFC 246 with another brutal first-round knockout, while Poirier went the distance with highly-rated New Zealander Dan Hooker who, coincidentally, will face Michael Chandler as the co-main event at McGregor vs Poirier II.
Speculation surrounding the two top welterweight contenders’ game plans has led to some interesting predictions for the bout, especially with both men having moved up from lightweight since their first encounter. Plus, the distant possibility of a Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch for either man means the plot thickens further.
Recently, on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show, trainer of McGregor John Kavanagh spoke about how he and the Irishman’s team had sat on their Dubai-based yacht and speculated as to what the key moments of the fight would be.
“What does it matter if it's a 30-second long fight or 25-minute long fight, the longer the better, you know? We - myself and Conor - kind of joked that the part you look forward to - it's kind of weird - is that the fight will be over, we'll be back on the super yacht, we'll be heading to Dubai, and we'll all be sitting around staring at our phones, watching the highlights back, watching the fight back. And he'll be pulling it apart but also enjoying it, enjoying the techniques, the sequences.”
Kavanagh then went on to let a key piece of information slide. Information that has no doubt been gratefully received by Dustin Poirier as he prepares for their Saturday bout.
Before backtracking and requesting ESPN cut the last part of the following statement from the video, the Irish trainer mentioned that his man had spent the majority of his training camp in the orthodox stance – an unusual development as Conor has fought in a left-handed, southpaw stance for his whole career to date. ESPN, however, didn't remove it from the video.
“Let's see if some of the predictions we made amongst ourselves about what will be the damaging shots. Would training mostly in orthodox stance for this whole camp have paid off... take that away, take that away, can you cut that out?"
Scroll to 22:40 in the above video to see Kavanagh let slip.
The question is, how will Poirier knowing the crux of McGregor’s game plan affect the outcome of the fight? Rather than looking for the straight right ‘southpaw-killer’, for example, he may decide to look for more takedowns or leg kicks as the Irishman presents his potentially weaker left side.
This interesting development only serves to enrichen the conjecture surrounding Saturday’s encounter as the MMA world waits in anticipation.News Now - Sport News