Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Since Nurmagomedov is more likely to win a stand-up battle, Healy needs to find a way to drag this fight to the ground, where he can utilize his very solid offensive jiu-jitsu.
The trouble for Healy is that he'll be facing an outstanding wrestler in Nurmagomedov. A sambo world champion, Nurmagomedov has only been out-wrestled by Gleison Tibau when looking strictly at takedowns scored.
While Tibau's not a top-10 lightweight like Healy, the Brazilian's takedown abilities are much more proven. Only Georges St-Pierre has scored more takedowns inside the Octagon than Gleison Tibau.
Healy impressed with his wrestling against Jim Miller, scoring five takedowns en route to what was originally considered a submission win. However, Nurmagomedov's going to be significantly more difficult to take down than was Miller, who's takedown defense is rather poor, despite his otherwise solid grappling.
Above, Healy shoots in for a double-leg takedown without getting Miller to respect his feinted strikes (top left). As a result, Miller was able to secure an underhook on Healy's left arm (top right), which should have allowed him to defend the takedown by keeping space between Healy and his hips.
Instead of using the underhook to shut down Healy's takedown attempt, Miller took a step backward. This allowed Healy to get in deep on the takedown attempt and lock his hands below Miller's waist (bottom left). With his underhook gone and hips pulled in by Healy, Miller was taken to the canvas (bottom right).
If Healy attempts a takedown under the same circumstances against Nurmagomedov, there's a good chance he'd be shrugged off easily.
Against Tibau, who out-wrestled Miller in a September 2010 decision loss, Nurmagomedov stopped five of six takedown attempts.
In the final minute of the first round, Tibau shot in for a double-leg similar to Healy's previously mentioned attempt on Miller (left). Nurmagomedov secured an underhook on Tibau's left arm and, unlike Miller, utilized it properly to shut down the attempted takedown (right).
While Healy showed some small offensive holes against Miller, Nurmagomedov denied nearly all takedown attempts from a better wrestler in Tibau. If Healy wants to take this fight to the ground, he may have to hope Nurmagomedov does it for him.