What makes UFC 205 special is that the card is so stacked that some fights go under the radar. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson is one of those fights. This winner could not only get the next lightweight title shot, but the stylistic matchup is gripping as well.
Khabib is pissed, and he should be. After being promised a title shot against Eddie Alvarez, Nurmagomedov was passed on for a mega fight to headline Madison Square Garden which featured Alvarez and featherweight champion Conor McGregor. It is believed that Khabib was used as a pawn in the negotiations, and was never going to actually fight Alvarez.
After 23 straight wins, Nurmagomedov definitely deserves a title shot soon. He has been mostly inactive over the last two years, but he is clearly the top contender at 155 not named Tony Ferguson.
Khabib will be fighting Johnson, who is coming off the biggest win of his career over Dustin Poirier. Before that fight, his loss to Nate Diaz was infamous because it helped propel Diaz into two thrilling fights with McGregor.
Johnson has done a great job picking himself up after the Diaz fight and showed in his match against Poirier that he still has the fastest hands in the lightweight division. He has also been very vocal about getting big fights in the division, which we know in this day and age in MMA, being loud is a good thing.
A win over Nurmagomedov would be the biggest win of his career by far. He has been susceptible to ground fighters in the past, but if he keeps the fight standing he could land a shot that could change the fight. His speed can also help him avoid takedowns as long as he doesn’t load up on his punches.
Nurmagomedov’s fighting style features one of the best wrestling games in the lightweight division, and that will prove to be his biggest advantage over Johnson. His strength on the ground is truly astounding for his size and he passes guard with ease against most fighters.
For a fight on the preliminary card, this is really the best you can get. Nurmagomedov and Johnson are both highly motivated to fight the winner of the main event on Saturday night and will surely take their anger out on eachother. Johnson is coming into his own as a fighter and Nurmagomedov is trying to show the world that he is truly the best fighter in the world at lightweight. UFC 205 is the biggest stage to show that.
Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov by unanimous decision.