Although not the main feature on tap for Saturday's UFC 165, Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov could very well steal the show.
The two intense lightweights will commence the main card with what promises to be a bruising, unforgiving battle between forceful grapplers.
Both fighters are relatively new to the UFC scene, but each man brings an array of MMA experience with them into the Octagon. Healy was stripped of a victory in his only UFC bout while Nurmagomedov has yet to lose regardless of the locale.
Here's what you need to know heading into this massive showdown.
When: Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10 p.m. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
The Book on Healy
Healy made an impressive debut to UFC, handling Jim Miller last April. The 30-year-old landed 53 strikes to Miller's 27, besting an experience competitor with a 22-4 record.
It was all for naught, however, as Healy tested positive for marijuana during the drug test. He was forced to abdicate his victory.
Healy, who won his last six fights before facing Miller, is 29-16 over the course of his career. And let's ace it, marijuana is not exactly a performance-enhancer that embedded his submission victory at UFC 159.
The submission specialist has generated 10 tapouts and should look to increase that mark to 11 to handle another ferocious fighter. While the No. 10 lightweight contender is skilled at controlling a bout, he'll face a tougher task in staying on top of Nurmagomedov.
As Healy attempts to avenge his last embarrassing win-turned-no-contest, look for him to attempt to utilize his veteran savvy over his younger opponent.
The Book on Nurmagomedov
The Russian beast's unblemished 20-0 mark should scare anyone, but his sheer dominant style is even more terrifying.
Nurmagomedov has a takedown average of 8.17 per 15 minutes of fighting with 49 percent accuracy. During his last bout with Abel Trujillo, "The Eagle" dominated with a 21-1 takedown advantage, winning by unanimous decision.
He's competed so well thus far that there's little sampling on how he handles adversity. While Healy is counting on landing a submission, Nurmagomedov has never been placed in a situation to tap.
Nurmagomedov is actually a strikingly versatile fighter, having notched seven victories via knockout and seven by way of submission. He can win a technical fight but often doesn't need to due to his strength as a grappler.
Getting his hand raised during UFC 165 would catapult the young fighter's career trajectory. A win on the grand stage prompts him up the lightweight ladder and lifts him one fight closer to highlighting the main event one day.
This match will feature some crushing blows between two fighters looking to make a major name for themselves as a perennial main-carder. Healy holds the experience edge, but Nurmagomedov is a freight train that has not yet been derailed. Although Healy will hang tough and prove he belongs, he'll fall short and become Nurmagomedov's 21st victim.
Note: All statistics courtesy of FightMetric.com.
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