Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: 3 Reasons Why We Are Excited for This Fight
In a division that's utterly stockpiled with talent, Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov signify two of the most underrated fighters at 155 pounds in the UFC.
Healy and Nurmagomedov, also two of the hottest competitors in the division, will suitably tangle in the first bout on the main card at UFC 165 tonight at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
There's plenty at stake for both of these streaking contenders, and because of their intriguing style matchup, many believe that Healy and Nurmagomedov will nab "Fight of the Night" honors.
Here are three reasons fans are pumped for Healy-Nurmagomedov.
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Who Has the Better Grappling?
Although Healy wrestled at the NCAA Division II level, Nurmagomedov arguably possesses the superior wrestling chops.
Nurmagomedov, a world champ in combat sambo and a black belt in judo, has piled up 24 takedowns and surrendered just two in his last four fights.
A wrestler at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Healy has amassed 16 takedowns and allowed four in his last four outings.
While Nurmagomedov may succeed at flooring Healy, the 25-year-old Russian will then have to contend with the venomous grappling prowess of the 30-year-old Oregonian.
Over half of "Bam Bam's" 29 wins have come via submission, and in his last bout, despite it being overturned by a failed drug screen, Healy secured a rear-naked choke on Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jim Miller at UFC 159.
"The Eagle" has racked up seven submissions in his unbeaten 20-fight career, including a rear-naked choke of Kamal Shalrous in his promotional debut at UFC on FX 1.
Will Healy Be the First Man to Defeat Nurmagomedov?
Unlike Nurmagomedov, Healy knows all too well how sour a defeat can taste.
In his pro career, Healy has suffered 16 setbacks, the latest of which came via rear-naked choke against Josh Thomson at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum.
Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, has piled up seven submissions, seven KO's and six decisions en route to a 20-0 record since beginning his career in 2008.
Healy has seen it all and fought the sport's best, including Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit and Thomson, among many of others. If anyone can hand Nurmagomedov his first defeat, it's the 10th-ranked Bam Bam.
Can Healy Bounce Back from His Devastating Reversal Against Jim Miller?
Healy brutalized Jim Miller like no one had done before in the Octagon and ultimately cinched up a rear-choke to finish the gritty New Jersey native late in the third round of their fight at UFC 159.
Healy initially garnered a $65,000 bonus for "Fight of the Night" honors and an additional $65,000 for a "Submission of the Night" bonus.
But when it was revealed that Healy tested positive for marijuana in the post-fight drug screen, the win was deemed a no contest and Bam Bam had to surrender his post-fight bonuses.
Nearly five months removed from the debacle at UFC 159, a motivated and focused Healy will attempt to get back on track in a bout against the unbeaten Nurmagomedov.
An enthralling win puts Healy right back in the title picture, while a loss would surely bump him out of the top 10 rankings.
But regardless of how it unfolds, it will be interesting to see how Healy responds from so much adversity. After all, Bam Bam has resurrected himself before, so who's to say he can't do it again?