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Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib

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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 239 recap card of the year Jones pushed to brink 

Post#261 » by j4remi » Mon Sep 9, 2019 3:57 pm

Stannis wrote:Are we saying Conor wasn't motivated in that first fight?

He definitely was. And with all illegal stuff he was getting away with throughout the fight, things couldn't get any better for him.


Conor did better than Dustin imo. Yes, Dustin had the one hard punch and the guillotine threat but Conor arguably fought better in every aspect overall.
Significant strikes landed? Diamond - 12/39 (30%) to Conor 51 of 81 (68%)
Total Strikes? Diamond 30/57 to Conor 96 of 128
Takedown Defense - Dustin gave up 7/8 attempted takedowns while Conor gave up 3/7 (albeit Conor did some dirty things to escape one or two)

Conor also lasted a round longer and actually won the third round. The only thing Poirier had going for him is less strikes against from Khabib but that's because Khabib was chasing submissions rather than ground and pound.

This is all to say...Conor came in prepared for the fight and did a fairly good job trying to stick to it which forced Khabib to do more work to land takedowns and allowed Conor to defend more takedowns and land more accurately than the usual opponent for Khabib. Other elite guys like Al and RDA have made Khabib a lot less efficient too. This performance from Dustin was a massive disappointment.

Also gimme Ferguson and Gaethje/Cerrone winner as Khabib's next two opponents. Not GSP fighting once every 5 years and two weight classes above Khabib's title weight. Those guys all offer something interesting at least. Dustin could have too but he was legitimately shellshocked. He had the look of Barboza and Michael Johnson; not the guys a cut above them.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 239 recap card of the year Jones pushed to brink 

Post#262 » by Stannis » Mon Sep 9, 2019 4:04 pm

j4remi wrote:
Stannis wrote:Are we saying Conor wasn't motivated in that first fight?

He definitely was. And with all illegal stuff he was getting away with throughout the fight, things couldn't get any better for him.


Conor did better than Dustin imo. Yes, Dustin had the one hard punch and the guillotine threat but Conor arguably fought better in every aspect overall.
Significant strikes landed? Diamond - 12/39 (30%) to Conor 51 of 81 (68%)
Total Strikes? Diamond 30/57 to Conor 96 of 128
Takedown Defense - Dustin gave up 7/8 attempted takedowns while Conor gave up 3/7 (albeit Conor did some dirty things to escape one or two)

Conor also lasted a round longer and actually won the third round. The only thing Poirier had going for him is less strikes against from Khabib but that's because Khabib was chasing submissions rather than ground and pound.

This is all to say...Conor came in prepared for the fight and did a fairly good job trying to stick to it which forced Khabib to do more work to land takedowns and allowed Conor to defend more takedowns and land more accurately than the usual opponent for Khabib. Other elite guys like Al and RDA have made Khabib a lot less efficient too. This performance from Dustin was a massive disappointment.

Also gimme Ferguson and Gaethje/Cerrone winner as Khabib's next two opponents. Not GSP fighting once every 5 years and two weight classes above Khabib's title weight. Those guys all offer something interesting at least. Dustin could have too but he was legitimately shellshocked. He had the look of Barboza and Michael Johnson; not the guys a cut above them.


I knew Dustin was toast early because there was like 3-4 occasions at least where he looked at his corner like a deer in headlights. He looked clueless.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#263 » by GEOLINK » Mon Sep 9, 2019 5:49 pm

HarthorneWingo wrote:
GEOLINK wrote:Dustin wasn't right mentally in there. Dude kept looking at his corner every time he was stuck on the cage with Khabib asking for directions.

That's not the correct approach if you're confident in who you're fighting.


He wasn't right because Khabib's wrestling/judo gets into opponents' heads. It messes up their game plans just like Colby messed up Lawler's game plan. I'm more and more convinced the wrestling is the foundation for today's great MMA star.

Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#264 » by j4remi » Mon Sep 9, 2019 6:14 pm

Stannis wrote:I knew Dustin was toast early because there was like 3-4 occasions at least where he looked at his corner like a deer in headlights. He looked clueless.


GEOLINK wrote:Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.


I think these two comments go hand in hand with where my thought process is at. Dustin was grappling against the cage and looking confused which bothers me because Khabib didn't reinvent the wheel here. We all knew where Poirier would need to be prepared the most. For Poirier to be against the cage confused was a bit stunning to me. But I also have a hard time blaming preparation because Mike Brown is an incredible coach, arguably the best in the game. I will say though, after Khabib turned two switch attempts into horrendous positioning; Brown was like "the switch is almost there" and I really didn't agree with telling Dustin to look for it again. So Brown's not perfect by any means...he's still the best though. And with that in mind, I do wonder how much of this came down to Poirier's mental game being off. The reckless striking in the second and lack of concentration in-fight (eyes on coaches, eyes on the clock, eyes all over the place when he should be focused on breaking Khabib's grip) both seem like they're on Dustin to me.

Sidenote: During Conor/Aldo's build-up, I went to the city with a friend of mine and some guys he trains with (for the presser at the Barclays). One of them was a sport's psychology coach who had worked with pro's in a few different sports. As a group we had talked about some of Conor's previous opponents and the coach actually said he'd reached out to Poirier after seeing the Conor fight. He basically said Poirier's built to beat anybody as long as what's between the ears stays right. I don't know how much weight people put into variables like this but watching the fight unfold brought me right back to that convo I'd had.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#265 » by Stannis » Mon Sep 9, 2019 6:47 pm

j4remi wrote:
Stannis wrote:I knew Dustin was toast early because there was like 3-4 occasions at least where he looked at his corner like a deer in headlights. He looked clueless.


GEOLINK wrote:Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.


I think these two comments go hand in hand with where my thought process is at. Dustin was grappling against the cage and looking confused which bothers me because Khabib didn't reinvent the wheel here. We all knew where Poirier would need to be prepared the most.

Exactly.

That's what got me so confused. I was like... why is he so flustered right now? What did he expect?

Did he go through camp really thinking he can prevent Khabib from getting him on the cage?
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#266 » by HarthorneWingo » Mon Sep 9, 2019 10:21 pm

Stannis wrote:
j4remi wrote:
Stannis wrote:I knew Dustin was toast early because there was like 3-4 occasions at least where he looked at his corner like a deer in headlights. He looked clueless.


GEOLINK wrote:Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.


I think these two comments go hand in hand with where my thought process is at. Dustin was grappling against the cage and looking confused which bothers me because Khabib didn't reinvent the wheel here. We all knew where Poirier would need to be prepared the most.

Exactly.

That's what got me so confused. I was like... why is he so flustered right now? What did he expect?

Did he go through camp really thinking he can prevent Khabib from getting him on the cage?


I think watching film of Khabib and being in the cage with Khabib are two different things. Was the look on Poirier's face any different than the look Conor had on his face when he was up against the fence, or Edson Barbosa's or Michael Johnson's. (I don't count the Iaquinta fight.)

This shyt happens whenever someone is in the cage with him. I think you guys are giving excuses to Poirier rather than praising Khabib for his complete dominance.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#267 » by HarthorneWingo » Mon Sep 9, 2019 10:24 pm

GEOLINK wrote:
HarthorneWingo wrote:
GEOLINK wrote:Dustin wasn't right mentally in there. Dude kept looking at his corner every time he was stuck on the cage with Khabib asking for directions.

That's not the correct approach if you're confident in who you're fighting.


He wasn't right because Khabib's wrestling/judo gets into opponents' heads. It messes up their game plans just like Colby messed up Lawler's game plan. I'm more and more convinced the wrestling is the foundation for today's great MMA star.

Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.


The Conor v. Poirier fight was eons ago and Conor was simply better than Dustin back then. Now? Who knows?
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#268 » by GEOLINK » Mon Sep 9, 2019 11:52 pm

HarthorneWingo wrote:
GEOLINK wrote:
HarthorneWingo wrote:
He wasn't right because Khabib's wrestling/judo gets into opponents' heads. It messes up their game plans just like Colby messed up Lawler's game plan. I'm more and more convinced the wrestling is the foundation for today's great MMA star.

Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.


The Conor v. Poirier fight was eons ago and Conor was simply better than Dustin back then. Now? Who knows?

But this isn't about who's better right now. We're talking about mental game and it's not out of question that Dustin has had problems with keeping his composure in the past.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#269 » by Clyde_Style » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:47 am

HarthorneWingo wrote:
Stannis wrote:
j4remi wrote:



I think these two comments go hand in hand with where my thought process is at. Dustin was grappling against the cage and looking confused which bothers me because Khabib didn't reinvent the wheel here. We all knew where Poirier would need to be prepared the most.

Exactly.

That's what got me so confused. I was like... why is he so flustered right now? What did he expect?

Did he go through camp really thinking he can prevent Khabib from getting him on the cage?


I think watching film of Khabib and being in the cage with Khabib are two different things. Was the look on Poirier's face any different than the look Conor had on his face when he was up against the fence, or Edson Barbosa's or Michael Johnson's. (I don't count the Iaquinta fight.)

This shyt happens whenever someone is in the cage with him. I think you guys are giving excuses to Poirier rather than praising Khabib for his complete dominance.


He makes grappling exciting, because he takes it to another level. It is like watching an anaconda squeeze the life out of its prey.

He packs barbarian strength into a smaller frame. Some small part may be genetic, but I assume it comes from training at squeezing the crap out of people for a whole lifetime.

Watching Damian Maia is boring by comparison.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#270 » by HarthorneWingo » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:34 am

GEOLINK wrote:
HarthorneWingo wrote:
GEOLINK wrote:Well we can call Dustin's mentality into question a bunch of times (Conor fight). So it's not out of the question his mental wasn't right coming into this.


The Conor v. Poirier fight was eons ago and Conor was simply better than Dustin back then. Now? Who knows?

But this isn't about who's better right now. We're talking about mental game and it's not out of question that Dustin has had problems with keeping his composure in the past.


Past? But that was so long ago. Poitier's been on a long long winning streak. People like you were predicting he'd win. It wasn't even close.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#271 » by j4remi » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:58 pm

HarthorneWingo wrote:Past? But that was so long ago. Poitier's been on a long long winning streak. People like you were predicting he'd win. It wasn't even close.


It was 2 years from Conor to Michael Johnson and three years from Johnson to Khabib and no other fighter tried to get in his head. To be fair Khabib didn't either, but it was a fight in an arena specially built for Khabib to fight in and Khabib is famous for trash talking in-fight. So I wouldn't put the gap on it.

And the fact that it wasn't close is exactly why we're looking at the performance. If Steph Curry goes 1/10 from three, it might be because he faced a really great defense and it might be because he just had an off night. We have to look at the performance to see if his shot selection was a bigger hinderance than the defender on him.

For Poirier, some of the mistakes were pretty clearly self-inflicted. Khabib got the choke while Poirier was looking up, Dustin gift wrapped that ish. Poirier himself admitted that he shoulda pulled guard when he got the arm in guillotine. Top it off and the one time Diamond uses clever footwork, he's able to slide inside and land a power punch that sends Khabib on his bike. There were ways for Poirier to make that a more competitive match. We've seen him do some of these things consistently. Khabib didn't do anything special to take those weapons away, he didn't have to because they were never present.

Matter of fact let's go back to the Curry example. If Steph Curry went 1/1 instead but had three more open looks and chose to drive and be blocked or turn it over instead...that's what it felt like watching Poirier. The footwork is better than that, he knows to pivot instead of backing to the cage, he damn sure knows to tuck his chin when someone has his back. It's not taking away from Khabib to point out that Poirer didn't fight to the best of his ability. Khabib did his job, Dustin didn't quite have it (Donald Cerrone has this issue too among plenty of others tbh).
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#272 » by HarthorneWingo » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:41 pm

j4remi wrote:
HarthorneWingo wrote:Past? But that was so long ago. Poitier's been on a long long winning streak. People like you were predicting he'd win. It wasn't even close.


It was 2 years from Conor to Michael Johnson and three years from Johnson to Khabib and no other fighter tried to get in his head. To be fair Khabib didn't either, but it was a fight in an arena specially built for Khabib to fight in and Khabib is famous for trash talking in-fight. So I wouldn't put the gap on it.

And the fact that it wasn't close is exactly why we're looking at the performance. If Steph Curry goes 1/10 from three, it might be because he faced a really great defense and it might be because he just had an off night. We have to look at the performance to see if his shot selection was a bigger hinderance than the defender on him.

For Poirier, some of the mistakes were pretty clearly self-inflicted. Khabib got the choke while Poirier was looking up, Dustin gift wrapped that ish. Poirier himself admitted that he shoulda pulled guard when he got the arm in guillotine. Top it off and the one time Diamond uses clever footwork, he's able to slide inside and land a power punch that sends Khabib on his bike. There were ways for Poirier to make that a more competitive match. We've seen him do some of these things consistently. Khabib didn't do anything special to take those weapons away, he didn't have to because they were never present.

Matter of fact let's go back to the Curry example. If Steph Curry went 1/1 instead but had three more open looks and chose to drive and be blocked or turn it over instead...that's what it felt like watching Poirier. The footwork is better than that, he knows to pivot instead of backing to the cage, he damn sure knows to tuck his chin when someone has his back. It's not taking away from Khabib to point out that Poirer didn't fight to the best of his ability. Khabib did his job, Dustin didn't quite have it (Donald Cerrone has this issue too among plenty of others tbh).


I think you and GEO are mad because you just lost some money. :lol:

You're really going to put this on the arena and Khabib's trash talking? I don't give those any weight whatsoever. If that's the kind of stuff that is going to bother you, then you shouldn't be in the profession IMO. I would even argue the opposite. If I'm a fighter, I would relish the thought of beating my opponent on his "home turf."

Khabib did to Dustin what Khabib does to everybody. And its always with his Plan A. Khabib doesn't bring a Plan B. What Dustin said plain and simple was "I couldn't get him off me." Boom. Yeah, maybe Poirier could've done this or that but he didn't. These fights all go the same way. Dustin wasn't good enough. If he fight Khabib 3 out of 5. Khabib wins 3-0.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#273 » by bringbackhoffa » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:08 pm

at the end of the day the better fighter won, there is no one currently that will beat a 100% Khabib
Lowry/Morant
Fred Van Vleet/Langford
Taurean Prince/K.Johnson
Pascal Siakam/JJJ/Rudy Gay/Nicola Melli/Sekou
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#274 » by j4remi » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:23 pm

HarthorneWingo wrote:
I think you and GEO are mad because you just lost some money. :lol:


Nah fam, I said pass on betting. I picked Poirier for fun but put a stern, "this ain't betting advice" on it. Ferguson though, I will be betting on.

HarthorneWingo wrote:You're really going to put this on the arena and Khabib's trash talking? I don't give those any weight whatsoever. If that's the kind of stuff that is going to bother you, then you shouldn't be in the profession IMO. I would even argue the opposite. If I'm a fighter, I would relish the thought of beating my opponent on his "home turf."


Poirier's mental lapses aren't new fam. He does this once every couple of years and it's always when he's in a hostile environment. Just off experience gambling, I basically never bet against Brazilians in Brazil. The China card was like that too, I cashed nicely on a few big underdogs who stepped up in front of the home crowd. It's weird to think it matters but I guess the crowd can sway Judges reactions and a lot of fighters (though usually not the elite level) seem to struggle in a hostile crowd.

HarthorneWingo wrote:Khabib did to Dustin what Khabib does to everybody. And its always with his Plan A. Khabib doesn't bring a Plan B. What Dustin said plain and simple was "I couldn't get him off me." Boom. Yeah, maybe Poirier could've done this or that but he didn't. These fights all go the same way. Dustin wasn't good enough. If he fight Khabib 3 out of 5. Khabib wins 3-0.


Dustin ain't built mentally for Khabib. But Tibau arguably beat him 2-1, Conor's ground game is shaky as hell and he lasted 4 rounds, Al Iaquinta lasted all 5 and stuffed a gang of takedowns. Khabib is reaching Ronda Rousey levels of "mystique" overtaking the fact that like any other fighter, he has strengths and weaknesses. I'm not saying he isn't absolute elite all time great status, I'm just saying he's not invincible by any means. And one-dimensional fighters tend to run into trouble when someone finds a counter for their bread and butter. Tony was always the most interesting opponent because of that, Gaethje could be interesting since he has wrestling pedigree and then Gregor Gillespie is the dark horse (American version of Khabib).
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SG - Booker/Z.Smith/Brown
SF - Culver/Thabo
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C - Vonleh/Hartenstein

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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#275 » by Clyde_Style » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:36 am

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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#276 » by HarthorneWingo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:10 am

j4remi wrote:
HarthorneWingo wrote:
I think you and GEO are mad because you just lost some money. :lol:


Nah fam, I said pass on betting. I picked Poirier for fun but put a stern, "this ain't betting advice" on it. Ferguson though, I will be betting on.

HarthorneWingo wrote:You're really going to put this on the arena and Khabib's trash talking? I don't give those any weight whatsoever. If that's the kind of stuff that is going to bother you, then you shouldn't be in the profession IMO. I would even argue the opposite. If I'm a fighter, I would relish the thought of beating my opponent on his "home turf."


Poirier's mental lapses aren't new fam. He does this once every couple of years and it's always when he's in a hostile environment. Just off experience gambling, I basically never bet against Brazilians in Brazil. The China card was like that too, I cashed nicely on a few big underdogs who stepped up in front of the home crowd. It's weird to think it matters but I guess the crowd can sway Judges reactions and a lot of fighters (though usually not the elite level) seem to struggle in a hostile crowd.

HarthorneWingo wrote:Khabib did to Dustin what Khabib does to everybody. And its always with his Plan A. Khabib doesn't bring a Plan B. What Dustin said plain and simple was "I couldn't get him off me." Boom. Yeah, maybe Poirier could've done this or that but he didn't. These fights all go the same way. Dustin wasn't good enough. If he fight Khabib 3 out of 5. Khabib wins 3-0.


Dustin ain't built mentally for Khabib. But Tibau arguably beat him 2-1, Conor's ground game is shaky as hell and he lasted 4 rounds, Al Iaquinta lasted all 5 and stuffed a gang of takedowns. Khabib is reaching Ronda Rousey levels of "mystique" overtaking the fact that like any other fighter, he has strengths and weaknesses. I'm not saying he isn't absolute elite all time great status, I'm just saying he's not invincible by any means. And one-dimensional fighters tend to run into trouble when someone finds a counter for their bread and butter. Tony was always the most interesting opponent because of that, Gaethje could be interesting since he has wrestling pedigree and then Gregor Gillespie is the dark horse (American version of Khabib).



Just hold on a second. :D I've been doing my research. Y'all saying that Poirier lost because of mental lapses, right? Do I have that right? I'm saying that Khabib's abilities are so far superior to Dustin that it doesn't make any difference. Khabib forces his opponents into mistakes because of his vastly superior skills.

Ok, then IT'S TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME

https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2019/9/10/20857374/wrestling-breakdown-khabib-nurmagomedov-vs-dustin-poirier

Breaking down what went wrong for the challenger Dustin Poirier in his UFC 242 title bout
By Ed Gallo@EdwardGalloMMA Sep 10, 2019, 11:00am EDT

Last week, I highlighted the wrestling entries and finishes of Khabib Nurmagomedov. In his previous two title bouts, Nurmagomedov had demonstrated something resembling a system for how he incorporates his wrestling into mixed martial arts. It’s been effective, but there were several predictable and problematic areas of his game that many analysts have been able to identify.

I gave little in the way of a prediction in terms of what Dustin Poirier would be able to accomplish at UFC 242. He has never truly shown a comprehensive approach for defending takedown attempts, and his tendency to prioritize capitalizing on shots with guillotine attempts was a cause for concern.

The best Poirier could do, in my opinion, was avoid giving Nurmagomedov the positions and scenarios in the cage where his takedown entries work best. In this article, we’ll be exploring how exactly Poirier failed to do so, and the technical mistakes that followed.

How Khabib Nurmagomedov Defeated Dustin Poirier

From the opening moments of the fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov kept a considerable distance, and Poirier let him have it, only leading with long, naked kicking entries.

It’s hard to tell exactly why Poirier was so willing to stay in this range, but there are a couple of logical possibilities. The first is that he may have been concerned about Nurmagomedov’s diving single (covered in depth last week), which is performed typically from mid-range but is much easier to stuff and limp-leg out of when the distance isn’t quite right. The other reason is that Poirier could have been apprehensive about walking Nurmagomedov down, fearing a reactive shot that capitalized on his forward momentum.

There are issues with Poirier’s approach either way. Nurmagomedov usually shoots his diving single after creating a little space for himself, throwing a committed jab or combination to get his opponent to back up, feinting to get his opponent to plant or change their posture reactively, then shoot under the hands.

With this in mind, Poirier’s concern for the single isn’t logically warranted until he’s been backed off with strikes after pressuring, or after Nurmagomedov circles off the fence in the same situation. Poirier isn’t a fighter known for his pressuring footwork, but surely he’s no worse than Al Iaquinta, who was able to walk Nurmagomedov back to the cage with little difficulty. Sure, he’s eliminating a bit of risk by keeping that distance, but he’s also limiting his best weapon, counter combinations in the pocket.

As far as reactive takedowns are concerned, Khabib Nurmagomedov has shown that look literally once in his UFC career, against a sprinting Pat Healy. He is either shockingly uncomfortable shooting off his opponent’s charge, or he has ruled that out as an efficient option and is just disciplined with his shot selection.

Even when Poirier was leading with long naked kicks, Nurmagomedov caught only one, and did little to attempt to capitalize in terms of initiating grappling. There wasn’t much that Nurmagomedov actually did to dissuade Poirier from a more straightforward approach. From the start I would like to have seen Poirier pressuring with his footwork, drawing strikes from Nurmagomedov and countering.

Outfighting and Linear Retreats Spell Disaster

Perhaps it was bad intel from American Top Team, or maybe Dustin Poirier was just plain freaked out by the prospect of having to grapple with Nurmagomedov. The threat of wrestling can do strange things to consistently fearless and composed strikers like Poirier.

We’ll dive into some of the grappling-centric errors of Poirier and strengths of Nurmagomedov, but Dustin Poirier’s best shot went out the window when he sacrificed positioning.

Poirier’s commitment to playing a long game on the outside allowed Nurmagomedov to pressure without throwing a meaningful strike, early in the first round. Nurmagomedov was bothered enough by the outside kicking game to begin to close in on Poirier, who backed up to retain that distance. This was a major strategic blunder, Dustin Poirier has the craft to meet that forward pressure and clash, or to strike and step his way to an angle, circling his back to the center once again. Instead, Poirier allowed Nurmagomedov to put his back near the cage, where he could shoot with relative impunity.

Poirier finally stood his ground, refusing to go all the way to the cage, but it was close enough where Nurmagomedov’s shot pinned him. In between rounds, to ATT’s credit, Mike Thomas Brown did warn Poirier about backing up, imploring him to hold center.

Hope

Not long into round two, after being backed up to the cage, Poirier once again stood his ground and returned fire, tagging Nurmagomedov.

The difference this time was that Nurmagomedov hesitated to shoot after backing Poirier up with his initial combination, he was in Poirier’s range and there to be hit when he attempted to pressure back in to finish the job. From there on it was constant pursuit.

In the post-fight press conference, Poirier noted that during his mad flurry, the only thing on his mind was the threat of the takedown. But as we pointed out in last week’s Khabib Nurmagomedov breakdown, reactive takedowns are not a tool of his. If Poirier missed out on the finish for fear of an element of Nurmagomedov’s game that does not exist, that’s a huge letdown from Poirier and/or ATT.

Despite this, things were looking up for Poirier until, due to either fatigue, a potential ankle injury, or just plain desperation, Poirier began to put himself wildly out of position on his combinations, giving Nurmagomedov an easy entry against the cage.

Poirier could have held position anywhere and forced Nurmagomedov to open up in his range, I suppose there is more certainty and predictability for a counter fighter when their back is to the cage. It’s not all that dissimilar to what we’ve seen time and time again from Tyron Woodley. Just like when Woodley fought a fighter who thrives when pinning his opponent against the cage, it was ill-advised.

That’s all for commentary on how Poirier approached this fight on the feet, let’s take a look at grappling-specific situations.

The First Takedown

In the first round, after successfully backing Poirier to the cage, Nurmagomedov shot a double, dropping to one knee and bending at the waist, keeping his back straight. Last week there was some criticism of Nurmagomedov’s form for select wrestling techniques, but he presses well and has solid posture on the double.

When defending double legs against the cage, it’s essential to have a wide base, even if your opponent gets their hands below your hips, it’s still incredibly difficult to crunch the legs together and work on a finish. Poirier took more of a side-on stance and began to dig with his right arm to the side Nurmagomedov’s head was on. This is a good start, creating space would keep Nurmagomedov’s head off Poirier’s hip, as well as give him room to straighten up Nurmagomedov with an underhook.

Two things went wrong.

First, Poirier was essentially inactive with his left hand. The angle of his stance didn’t give a lot of room to pummel but he could have whizzered on the attacking arm and pulled. He could have attempted to fight the wrist, at the very least. Poirier looked uncertain, never committing to any one action with that free hand.

With his right arm, he did successfully dig past Nurmagomedov’s face and under his arm. But instead of sliding in a strong underhook beneath the elbow, Poirier reached for the neck. If you watch it back, he was clearly going for the neck from the start.

There wasn’t a lot to work with in terms of predicting how Dustin Poirier would defend against Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wrestling attack, but one recurring image was Poirier pulling guard multiple times on guillotines against the doubles of Eddie Alvarez. More optimistic fans proposed that with against a more dangerous top player, Poirier would prioritize separation and avoid compromising his position with guillotines.

But there it was, less than two minutes into the first round.

What is the issue with going for a guillotine? In this circumstance, Poirier’s stance is side-on, he’s in no position to pull full guard with urgency, and with Nurmagomedov pressing against the cage, leaving little room, there isn’t space to fish for a standing choke. On top of that, given that Poirier was doing nothing about Nurmagomedov’s other arm, committing to the guillotine gave Nurmagomedov free use of both arms.

Of course, he used them. Nurmagomedov switched and locked hands for a head inside single, a position where he is consistently able to lift and trip out the base leg. Indeed Nurmagomedov stood with the leg, but there was no lift attempt and the finish did not materialize just then. Nurmagomedov reset in the clinch.

Poirier kept his side-on stance, finally utilizing an underhook...with both arms. For a short maneuver, many fighters can get away with this. You commit both arms to jack up the underhook and interrupt the shot, then you use your other arm for something else, you change the position. Poirier held.

Logically, Nurmagomedov switched to a single on the unguarded side, retracted his then-underhooked arm and locked his hands, head inside once again. This time, he was able to lift and trip out the base leg.

Continued Troubles Against the Cage

In a similar scenario, Dustin Poirier is held against the cage once again, this time his feet are parallel and he has his shoulder facing Nurmagomedov.

Even for a few seconds, this is an awful position to be in, if you don’t have one or both arms of your opponent secured, you have absolutely no base to defend a shot with.

To his credit, Poirier turned in to get his back on the cage. On the other hand, he committed both arms to underhook the same side once again, if Nurmagomedov had dropped to a single, it would have been the same story as before.

Instead we got a bit of brilliance from Nurmagomedov, as Poirier turned toward him, putting weight on his left leg, Nurmagomedov timed the exact moment, when Poirier was still unstable, and tripped it out.

In the second round, Nurmagomedov pressed in from the clinch with Poirier’s feet parallel once again. Poirier made a habit in this fight of standing sideways against the cage, mostly by virtue of having cage-walked in that general position and Nurmagomedov pinning him once he rose up.

This time Nurmagomedov did change levels and drop to the leg, Poirier’s arms were free at the time and he went with both arms for the underhook on his strong side as usual. But, because he caught Nurmagomedov in transition, the near-underhooking arm effectively blocked the head of Nurmagomedov and stifled the shot.

Poirier was able to use that newfound space to underhook both arms on both sides, squaring his stance while still keeping his base wide. Finally!

Feeling the underhooks, Nurmagomedov began to posture back up, and Poirier couldn’t help himself, he tried to grab the neck and lock his hands. Thankfully, the attempt was denied and Poirier got back to his underhooks, straightening Nurmagomedov after subsequent level changes.

This was some of Poirier’s best work in the fight, from a grappling perspective.

He would eventually concede the takedown after losing control of Nurmagomedov’s left arm, while his opposite undertook had devolved into a more of a barrier between the two, not being used to attack the limbs of Nurmagomedov.

Other Various Tactics

Poirier showed a few other interesting looks that were clearly drilled for this fight.

One was a response to the threat of the bodylock against the cage, an old Nurmagomedov favorite that hadn’t shown itself for some time.

I believe that Poirier’s camp wanted to simplify their defensive grappling strategies for this fight. They clearly worked a ton in preparation for Nurmagomedov on his back, likely more from what you’d call “rear standing” in wrestling rather than a back mount with hooks in.

Poirier’s defense to the bodylock was pretty simple. Once Nurmagomedov got there, he squirmed and pummeled enough to make space, then turned. He gave up rear standing, essentially, because it was a more defensible position given his training.

This may seem like a really bad look, considering the manner in which Poirier was finished, but I like the sentiment from his camp. Do you try to train your fighter to defend competently in multiple scenarios, or do you get them as good as you can in one scenario and prepare them to default to it when they’re in trouble? It’s a risk either way, and it was probably the right decision for this version of Dustin Poirier.

Of course, while Poirier was attempting to fight hands, Nurmagomedov’s bodylock had become what you’d call a tight-waist, and he was able to step around the left leg of Poirier and drag him back down.

On the subject of rear standing, Poirier utilized what freestyle wrestlers call the “quad pod”, keeping his legs straight with a wide base and posting on both hands. In freestyle, a takedown isn’t complete until there’s control and a knee hits the ground, wrestlers often stonewall from this position, less often they have sneaky counters off their opponent’s breakdowns.

Poirier had drilled and prepared to his a switch, essentially sitting out and turning in to your opponent who has a rear standing or referee’s position, usually attacking a single leg. One of the most talented American wrestlers in both folk and freestyle, Cary Kolat, briefly breaks down a standing switch from rear standing:

Some common themes for switches are fighting the hands, creating motion and baiting movement from your opponent.

Dustin Poirier attempted two switches against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

There were a few problems. One, he didn’t create motion first, Nurmagomedov saw the first switch coming and was already circling away. It doesn’t help whatsoever that Nurmagomedov had the tight-waist or bodylock, making it extremely difficult for Poirier to get hip separation and fully turn in.

On both attempts, Poirier’s explosive switching momentum ended with Nurmagomedov’s legs hitting the cage, where he was able to stabilize and walk right back in. Frankly, Poirier wasn’t in a very good position to pull that off, small improvements could have been more urgency in securing his posting hand on the single, but it’s much easier said than done.

More of the Same

All of these details would be irrelevant if Khabib Nurmagomedov couldn’t get to his entries in the first place. Each time, it was a matter of Dustin Poirier’s back being against the cage.

In round two, Poirier’s punching form took him out of his stance against the cage, completely compromising his base.

Late in round two, even when he could create separation, Poirier didn’t have it in him anymore to strike Nurmagomedov back to the center, he stayed put. When Nurmagomedov did throw, Poirier covered up and leaned back, leaving his hips exposed.

It was the same story in round three, Poirier gave far too much respect to Nurmagomedov’s striking entries and conceded tremendous amounts of space while covering up. At that point, he was likely broken down physically and psychologically.

That final guillotine attempt against the cage was actually the one I excuse. Nurmagomedov already had his entry and Poirier’s base was narrow, he was getting taken down either way.

Closing Thoughts

This article was pretty hard on Dustin Poirier. I enjoyed his resurgence and run to the title so thoroughly, it’s nearly impossible not to root for the Diamond. I knew coming into this matchup that he wasn’t necessarily supposed to be “the guy” stylistically to beat Nurmagomedov. However, I felt his presence and tactics on the feet could be enough to deny Nurmagomedov the situations that served him best. It was soul-crushing to watch error after error. Strategically, Poirier was never really in the fight.

On the other hand, I have not given nearly enough praise to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hopefully these articles prove how crucial it is to make the correct decisions, and quickly, against the lightweight champion. This is not a fighter you can afford to make many mistakes against. He is far from perfect, but in executing his existing skill set, he has dominated.


And this Luke Thomas video



This was nothing other than shear dominance. Tony can't beat him either. Khabib wants to fight Georges St. Pierre instead. Dana is open to it this time.

Edit: Maybe Tony can beat because he’s so unpredictable, has a lot of length and a great guard. We’ll see what direction Dana decides to go.

Anyhow, I’m interested in getting your take on the article and vid.
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#277 » by NoStatsGuy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:48 am

I REALLY wanna see something like this:




*prepare for bad music LOL


Khabib is just different man.. so heavy. you dont know it until hes laying on you locking all parts of your body, while punching you in the face.

Tonys is our last hope :lol: :lol:
im bout dat action boss
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#278 » by j4remi » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:23 pm

HarthorneWingo wrote:

Just hold on a second. :D I've been doing my research. Y'all saying that Poirier lost because of mental lapses, right? Do I have that right? I'm saying that Khabib's abilities are so far superior to Dustin that it doesn't make any difference. Khabib forces his opponents into mistakes because of his vastly superior skills.

Ok, then IT'S TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME

https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2019/9/10/20857374/wrestling-breakdown-khabib-nurmagomedov-vs-dustin-poirier

Breaking down what went wrong for the challenger Dustin Poirier in his UFC 242 title bout
By Ed Gallo@EdwardGalloMMA Sep 10, 2019, 11:00am EDT

Last week, I highlighted the wrestling entries and finishes of Khabib Nurmagomedov. In his previous two title bouts, Nurmagomedov had demonstrated something resembling a system for how he incorporates his wrestling into mixed martial arts. It’s been effective, but there were several predictable and problematic areas of his game that many analysts have been able to identify.

I gave little in the way of a prediction in terms of what Dustin Poirier would be able to accomplish at UFC 242. He has never truly shown a comprehensive approach for defending takedown attempts, and his tendency to prioritize capitalizing on shots with guillotine attempts was a cause for concern.

The best Poirier could do, in my opinion, was avoid giving Nurmagomedov the positions and scenarios in the cage where his takedown entries work best. In this article, we’ll be exploring how exactly Poirier failed to do so, and the technical mistakes that followed.

How Khabib Nurmagomedov Defeated Dustin Poirier

From the opening moments of the fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov kept a considerable distance, and Poirier let him have it, only leading with long, naked kicking entries.

It’s hard to tell exactly why Poirier was so willing to stay in this range, but there are a couple of logical possibilities. The first is that he may have been concerned about Nurmagomedov’s diving single (covered in depth last week), which is performed typically from mid-range but is much easier to stuff and limp-leg out of when the distance isn’t quite right. The other reason is that Poirier could have been apprehensive about walking Nurmagomedov down, fearing a reactive shot that capitalized on his forward momentum.

There are issues with Poirier’s approach either way. Nurmagomedov usually shoots his diving single after creating a little space for himself, throwing a committed jab or combination to get his opponent to back up, feinting to get his opponent to plant or change their posture reactively, then shoot under the hands.

With this in mind, Poirier’s concern for the single isn’t logically warranted until he’s been backed off with strikes after pressuring, or after Nurmagomedov circles off the fence in the same situation. Poirier isn’t a fighter known for his pressuring footwork, but surely he’s no worse than Al Iaquinta, who was able to walk Nurmagomedov back to the cage with little difficulty. Sure, he’s eliminating a bit of risk by keeping that distance, but he’s also limiting his best weapon, counter combinations in the pocket.


As far as reactive takedowns are concerned, Khabib Nurmagomedov has shown that look literally once in his UFC career, against a sprinting Pat Healy. He is either shockingly uncomfortable shooting off his opponent’s charge, or he has ruled that out as an efficient option and is just disciplined with his shot selection.

Even when Poirier was leading with long naked kicks, Nurmagomedov caught only one, and did little to attempt to capitalize in terms of initiating grappling. There wasn’t much that Nurmagomedov actually did to dissuade Poirier from a more straightforward approach. From the start I would like to have seen Poirier pressuring with his footwork, drawing strikes from Nurmagomedov and countering.

Outfighting and Linear Retreats Spell Disaster

Perhaps it was bad intel from American Top Team, or maybe Dustin Poirier was just plain freaked out by the prospect of having to grapple with Nurmagomedov. The threat of wrestling can do strange things to consistently fearless and composed strikers like Poirier.

We’ll dive into some of the grappling-centric errors of Poirier and strengths of Nurmagomedov, but Dustin Poirier’s best shot went out the window when he sacrificed positioning.

Poirier’s commitment to playing a long game on the outside allowed Nurmagomedov to pressure without throwing a meaningful strike, early in the first round. Nurmagomedov was bothered enough by the outside kicking game to begin to close in on Poirier, who backed up to retain that distance. This was a major strategic blunder, Dustin Poirier has the craft to meet that forward pressure and clash, or to strike and step his way to an angle, circling his back to the center once again. Instead, Poirier allowed Nurmagomedov to put his back near the cage, where he could shoot with relative impunity.

Poirier finally stood his ground, refusing to go all the way to the cage, but it was close enough where Nurmagomedov’s shot pinned him. In between rounds, to ATT’s credit, Mike Thomas Brown did warn Poirier about backing up, imploring him to hold center.

Hope

Not long into round two, after being backed up to the cage, Poirier once again stood his ground and returned fire, tagging Nurmagomedov.

The difference this time was that Nurmagomedov hesitated to shoot after backing Poirier up with his initial combination, he was in Poirier’s range and there to be hit when he attempted to pressure back in to finish the job. From there on it was constant pursuit.

In the post-fight press conference, Poirier noted that during his mad flurry, the only thing on his mind was the threat of the takedown. But as we pointed out in last week’s Khabib Nurmagomedov breakdown, reactive takedowns are not a tool of his. If Poirier missed out on the finish for fear of an element of Nurmagomedov’s game that does not exist, that’s a huge letdown from Poirier and/or ATT.

Despite this, things were looking up for Poirier until, due to either fatigue, a potential ankle injury, or just plain desperation, Poirier began to put himself wildly out of position on his combinations, giving Nurmagomedov an easy entry against the cage.

Poirier could have held position anywhere and forced Nurmagomedov to open up in his range, I suppose there is more certainty and predictability for a counter fighter when their back is to the cage. It’s not all that dissimilar to what we’ve seen time and time again from Tyron Woodley. Just like when Woodley fought a fighter who thrives when pinning his opponent against the cage, it was ill-advised.

That’s all for commentary on how Poirier approached this fight on the feet, let’s take a look at grappling-specific situations.

The First Takedown

In the first round, after successfully backing Poirier to the cage, Nurmagomedov shot a double, dropping to one knee and bending at the waist, keeping his back straight. Last week there was some criticism of Nurmagomedov’s form for select wrestling techniques, but he presses well and has solid posture on the double.

When defending double legs against the cage, it’s essential to have a wide base, even if your opponent gets their hands below your hips, it’s still incredibly difficult to crunch the legs together and work on a finish. Poirier took more of a side-on stance and began to dig with his right arm to the side Nurmagomedov’s head was on. This is a good start, creating space would keep Nurmagomedov’s head off Poirier’s hip, as well as give him room to straighten up Nurmagomedov with an underhook.

Two things went wrong.

First, Poirier was essentially inactive with his left hand. The angle of his stance didn’t give a lot of room to pummel but he could have whizzered on the attacking arm and pulled. He could have attempted to fight the wrist, at the very least. Poirier looked uncertain, never committing to any one action with that free hand.

With his right arm, he did successfully dig past Nurmagomedov’s face and under his arm. But instead of sliding in a strong underhook beneath the elbow, Poirier reached for the neck. If you watch it back, he was clearly going for the neck from the start.

There wasn’t a lot to work with in terms of predicting how Dustin Poirier would defend against Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wrestling attack, but one recurring image was Poirier pulling guard multiple times on guillotines against the doubles of Eddie Alvarez. More optimistic fans proposed that with against a more dangerous top player, Poirier would prioritize separation and avoid compromising his position with guillotines.

But there it was, less than two minutes into the first round.

What is the issue with going for a guillotine? In this circumstance, Poirier’s stance is side-on, he’s in no position to pull full guard with urgency, and with Nurmagomedov pressing against the cage, leaving little room, there isn’t space to fish for a standing choke. On top of that, given that Poirier was doing nothing about Nurmagomedov’s other arm, committing to the guillotine gave Nurmagomedov free use of both arms.

Of course, he used them. Nurmagomedov switched and locked hands for a head inside single, a position where he is consistently able to lift and trip out the base leg. Indeed Nurmagomedov stood with the leg, but there was no lift attempt and the finish did not materialize just then. Nurmagomedov reset in the clinch.

Poirier kept his side-on stance, finally utilizing an underhook...with both arms. For a short maneuver, many fighters can get away with this. You commit both arms to jack up the underhook and interrupt the shot, then you use your other arm for something else, you change the position. Poirier held.

Logically, Nurmagomedov switched to a single on the unguarded side, retracted his then-underhooked arm and locked his hands, head inside once again. This time, he was able to lift and trip out the base leg.

Continued Troubles Against the Cage

In a similar scenario, Dustin Poirier is held against the cage once again, this time his feet are parallel and he has his shoulder facing Nurmagomedov.

Even for a few seconds, this is an awful position to be in, if you don’t have one or both arms of your opponent secured, you have absolutely no base to defend a shot with.

To his credit, Poirier turned in to get his back on the cage. On the other hand, he committed both arms to underhook the same side once again, if Nurmagomedov had dropped to a single, it would have been the same story as before.

Instead we got a bit of brilliance from Nurmagomedov, as Poirier turned toward him, putting weight on his left leg, Nurmagomedov timed the exact moment, when Poirier was still unstable, and tripped it out.

In the second round, Nurmagomedov pressed in from the clinch with Poirier’s feet parallel once again. Poirier made a habit in this fight of standing sideways against the cage, mostly by virtue of having cage-walked in that general position and Nurmagomedov pinning him once he rose up.

This time Nurmagomedov did change levels and drop to the leg, Poirier’s arms were free at the time and he went with both arms for the underhook on his strong side as usual. But, because he caught Nurmagomedov in transition, the near-underhooking arm effectively blocked the head of Nurmagomedov and stifled the shot.

Poirier was able to use that newfound space to underhook both arms on both sides, squaring his stance while still keeping his base wide. Finally!

Feeling the underhooks, Nurmagomedov began to posture back up, and Poirier couldn’t help himself, he tried to grab the neck and lock his hands. Thankfully, the attempt was denied and Poirier got back to his underhooks, straightening Nurmagomedov after subsequent level changes.

This was some of Poirier’s best work in the fight, from a grappling perspective.

He would eventually concede the takedown after losing control of Nurmagomedov’s left arm, while his opposite undertook had devolved into a more of a barrier between the two, not being used to attack the limbs of Nurmagomedov.

Other Various Tactics

Poirier showed a few other interesting looks that were clearly drilled for this fight.

One was a response to the threat of the bodylock against the cage, an old Nurmagomedov favorite that hadn’t shown itself for some time.

I believe that Poirier’s camp wanted to simplify their defensive grappling strategies for this fight. They clearly worked a ton in preparation for Nurmagomedov on his back, likely more from what you’d call “rear standing” in wrestling rather than a back mount with hooks in.

Poirier’s defense to the bodylock was pretty simple. Once Nurmagomedov got there, he squirmed and pummeled enough to make space, then turned. He gave up rear standing, essentially, because it was a more defensible position given his training.

This may seem like a really bad look, considering the manner in which Poirier was finished, but I like the sentiment from his camp. Do you try to train your fighter to defend competently in multiple scenarios, or do you get them as good as you can in one scenario and prepare them to default to it when they’re in trouble? It’s a risk either way, and it was probably the right decision for this version of Dustin Poirier.

Of course, while Poirier was attempting to fight hands, Nurmagomedov’s bodylock had become what you’d call a tight-waist, and he was able to step around the left leg of Poirier and drag him back down.

On the subject of rear standing, Poirier utilized what freestyle wrestlers call the “quad pod”, keeping his legs straight with a wide base and posting on both hands. In freestyle, a takedown isn’t complete until there’s control and a knee hits the ground, wrestlers often stonewall from this position, less often they have sneaky counters off their opponent’s breakdowns.

Poirier had drilled and prepared to his a switch, essentially sitting out and turning in to your opponent who has a rear standing or referee’s position, usually attacking a single leg. One of the most talented American wrestlers in both folk and freestyle, Cary Kolat, briefly breaks down a standing switch from rear standing:

Some common themes for switches are fighting the hands, creating motion and baiting movement from your opponent.

Dustin Poirier attempted two switches against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

There were a few problems. One, he didn’t create motion first, Nurmagomedov saw the first switch coming and was already circling away. It doesn’t help whatsoever that Nurmagomedov had the tight-waist or bodylock, making it extremely difficult for Poirier to get hip separation and fully turn in.

On both attempts, Poirier’s explosive switching momentum ended with Nurmagomedov’s legs hitting the cage, where he was able to stabilize and walk right back in. Frankly, Poirier wasn’t in a very good position to pull that off, small improvements could have been more urgency in securing his posting hand on the single, but it’s much easier said than done.

More of the Same

All of these details would be irrelevant if Khabib Nurmagomedov couldn’t get to his entries in the first place. Each time, it was a matter of Dustin Poirier’s back being against the cage.

In round two, Poirier’s punching form took him out of his stance against the cage, completely compromising his base.

Late in round two, even when he could create separation, Poirier didn’t have it in him anymore to strike Nurmagomedov back to the center, he stayed put. When Nurmagomedov did throw, Poirier covered up and leaned back, leaving his hips exposed.

It was the same story in round three, Poirier gave far too much respect to Nurmagomedov’s striking entries and conceded tremendous amounts of space while covering up. At that point, he was likely broken down physically and psychologically.

That final guillotine attempt against the cage was actually the one I excuse. Nurmagomedov already had his entry and Poirier’s base was narrow, he was getting taken down either way.

Closing Thoughts

This article was pretty hard on Dustin Poirier. I enjoyed his resurgence and run to the title so thoroughly, it’s nearly impossible not to root for the Diamond. I knew coming into this matchup that he wasn’t necessarily supposed to be “the guy” stylistically to beat Nurmagomedov. However, I felt his presence and tactics on the feet could be enough to deny Nurmagomedov the situations that served him best. It was soul-crushing to watch error after error. Strategically, Poirier was never really in the fight.

On the other hand, I have not given nearly enough praise to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hopefully these articles prove how crucial it is to make the correct decisions, and quickly, against the lightweight champion. This is not a fighter you can afford to make many mistakes against. He is far from perfect, but in executing his existing skill set, he has dominated.


And this Luke Thomas video



This was nothing other than shear dominance. Tony can't beat him either. Khabib wants to fight Georges St. Pierre instead. Dana is open to it this time.

Edit: Maybe Tony can beat because he’s so unpredictable, has a lot of length and a great guard. We’ll see what direction Dana decides to go.

Anyhow, I’m interested in getting your take on the article and vid.


I can't watch the video but the article is fantastic. I've bolded some parts in there where I think (and I believe the writer would co-sign me) that the mistakes are self-inflicted. We're talking distance management, bad strategy or technical failings. I also bolded the last bit because for absolutely certain, Khabib has to be great to take advantage of the mistakes, but Poirier was making some mistakes that Khabib didn't have to do anything to force. I really love the conclusion, it's exactly how I feel. Poirier's strategy took him out of the fight before it even started, especially on the feet. None of that means Poirier would have won or anything, but it means he could have really improved his chances to win by making some tactical adjustments (adjustments I was expecting as a fan).

The thing that sticks out to me especially is talking about the distance early in the article and how a logical explanation is that Poirier was so worried about takedowns that he fought at a distance which took away his best weapons. We don't know if Poirier could have pressured Khabib more without getting taken down because he never took the chance to find out. This was definitely sheer dominance, it was Khabib at his best for sure. I give credit to Khabib but I'm also thinking Dustin should have at least been able to mimic Al Iaquinta's successful strategies and I'm not sure why he didn't at least attempt them.

I'd put it this way. The next guy to fight Jon Jones, no matter who it is, HAS to use leg kicks. Thiago Santos showed a potential kink in the armor for Jones. I don't think leg kicks will necessarily beat Jones (he's my GOAT pick point blank) but, if the next guy doesn't use those leg kicks until Jones does something in the octagon that takes away the option; then the next guy made a strategic error that took away from his optimal performance.

On Tony, I mainly trust Tony to fight to his own strengths rather than fighting from fear of Khabib's strengths. That's how you HAVE to beat a grappler imo. You can't be defensive because at best you'll lose on points. My boy Jack Slack brought up the Rousey comparison in his review too (and I stress this is not an insult, she's still the most dominant female fighter we've seen so far). Fighters were too worried about the grappling to focus on their strengths. It took someone with footwork, high level striking and an elite level gameplan to dethrone Ronda. Slack actually agrees with you that Tony isn't the one though...he thinks Prime Eddie Alvarez would do work of all people.

But fam, this is why I LOVE this sport. We can disagree and talk so much about tactics. The how and why someone won becomes this discussion chaining events from punches and kicks to closing distance to how dudes were using their hands in clinch situations...it's chess. We're watching a game of chess minus waiting your turn to act. If you wait to counter a tactic, you'll get chewed up and spit out. That's what Khabib did to Dustin 100% no denying, but it doesn't mean Dustin couldn't have done better with some adjustments to his game plan or in-fight decisions.
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SG - Booker/Z.Smith/Brown
SF - Culver/Thabo
PF - Saric/Justin Jackson/ Niang
C - Vonleh/Hartenstein

Reserve - Alize
IR - Gobert

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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#279 » by HarthorneWingo » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:54 pm

j4remi wrote:
HarthorneWingo wrote:

Just hold on a second. :D I've been doing my research. Y'all saying that Poirier lost because of mental lapses, right? Do I have that right? I'm saying that Khabib's abilities are so far superior to Dustin that it doesn't make any difference. Khabib forces his opponents into mistakes because of his vastly superior skills.

Ok, then IT'S TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME

https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2019/9/10/20857374/wrestling-breakdown-khabib-nurmagomedov-vs-dustin-poirier

Breaking down what went wrong for the challenger Dustin Poirier in his UFC 242 title bout
By Ed Gallo@EdwardGalloMMA Sep 10, 2019, 11:00am EDT

Last week, I highlighted the wrestling entries and finishes of Khabib Nurmagomedov. In his previous two title bouts, Nurmagomedov had demonstrated something resembling a system for how he incorporates his wrestling into mixed martial arts. It’s been effective, but there were several predictable and problematic areas of his game that many analysts have been able to identify.

I gave little in the way of a prediction in terms of what Dustin Poirier would be able to accomplish at UFC 242. He has never truly shown a comprehensive approach for defending takedown attempts, and his tendency to prioritize capitalizing on shots with guillotine attempts was a cause for concern.

The best Poirier could do, in my opinion, was avoid giving Nurmagomedov the positions and scenarios in the cage where his takedown entries work best. In this article, we’ll be exploring how exactly Poirier failed to do so, and the technical mistakes that followed.

How Khabib Nurmagomedov Defeated Dustin Poirier

From the opening moments of the fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov kept a considerable distance, and Poirier let him have it, only leading with long, naked kicking entries.

It’s hard to tell exactly why Poirier was so willing to stay in this range, but there are a couple of logical possibilities. The first is that he may have been concerned about Nurmagomedov’s diving single (covered in depth last week), which is performed typically from mid-range but is much easier to stuff and limp-leg out of when the distance isn’t quite right. The other reason is that Poirier could have been apprehensive about walking Nurmagomedov down, fearing a reactive shot that capitalized on his forward momentum.

There are issues with Poirier’s approach either way. Nurmagomedov usually shoots his diving single after creating a little space for himself, throwing a committed jab or combination to get his opponent to back up, feinting to get his opponent to plant or change their posture reactively, then shoot under the hands.

With this in mind, Poirier’s concern for the single isn’t logically warranted until he’s been backed off with strikes after pressuring, or after Nurmagomedov circles off the fence in the same situation. Poirier isn’t a fighter known for his pressuring footwork, but surely he’s no worse than Al Iaquinta, who was able to walk Nurmagomedov back to the cage with little difficulty. Sure, he’s eliminating a bit of risk by keeping that distance, but he’s also limiting his best weapon, counter combinations in the pocket.


As far as reactive takedowns are concerned, Khabib Nurmagomedov has shown that look literally once in his UFC career, against a sprinting Pat Healy. He is either shockingly uncomfortable shooting off his opponent’s charge, or he has ruled that out as an efficient option and is just disciplined with his shot selection.

Even when Poirier was leading with long naked kicks, Nurmagomedov caught only one, and did little to attempt to capitalize in terms of initiating grappling. There wasn’t much that Nurmagomedov actually did to dissuade Poirier from a more straightforward approach. From the start I would like to have seen Poirier pressuring with his footwork, drawing strikes from Nurmagomedov and countering.

Outfighting and Linear Retreats Spell Disaster

Perhaps it was bad intel from American Top Team, or maybe Dustin Poirier was just plain freaked out by the prospect of having to grapple with Nurmagomedov. The threat of wrestling can do strange things to consistently fearless and composed strikers like Poirier.

We’ll dive into some of the grappling-centric errors of Poirier and strengths of Nurmagomedov, but Dustin Poirier’s best shot went out the window when he sacrificed positioning.

Poirier’s commitment to playing a long game on the outside allowed Nurmagomedov to pressure without throwing a meaningful strike, early in the first round. Nurmagomedov was bothered enough by the outside kicking game to begin to close in on Poirier, who backed up to retain that distance. This was a major strategic blunder, Dustin Poirier has the craft to meet that forward pressure and clash, or to strike and step his way to an angle, circling his back to the center once again. Instead, Poirier allowed Nurmagomedov to put his back near the cage, where he could shoot with relative impunity.

Poirier finally stood his ground, refusing to go all the way to the cage, but it was close enough where Nurmagomedov’s shot pinned him. In between rounds, to ATT’s credit, Mike Thomas Brown did warn Poirier about backing up, imploring him to hold center.

Hope

Not long into round two, after being backed up to the cage, Poirier once again stood his ground and returned fire, tagging Nurmagomedov.

The difference this time was that Nurmagomedov hesitated to shoot after backing Poirier up with his initial combination, he was in Poirier’s range and there to be hit when he attempted to pressure back in to finish the job. From there on it was constant pursuit.

In the post-fight press conference, Poirier noted that during his mad flurry, the only thing on his mind was the threat of the takedown. But as we pointed out in last week’s Khabib Nurmagomedov breakdown, reactive takedowns are not a tool of his. If Poirier missed out on the finish for fear of an element of Nurmagomedov’s game that does not exist, that’s a huge letdown from Poirier and/or ATT.

Despite this, things were looking up for Poirier until, due to either fatigue, a potential ankle injury, or just plain desperation, Poirier began to put himself wildly out of position on his combinations, giving Nurmagomedov an easy entry against the cage.

Poirier could have held position anywhere and forced Nurmagomedov to open up in his range, I suppose there is more certainty and predictability for a counter fighter when their back is to the cage. It’s not all that dissimilar to what we’ve seen time and time again from Tyron Woodley. Just like when Woodley fought a fighter who thrives when pinning his opponent against the cage, it was ill-advised.

That’s all for commentary on how Poirier approached this fight on the feet, let’s take a look at grappling-specific situations.

The First Takedown

In the first round, after successfully backing Poirier to the cage, Nurmagomedov shot a double, dropping to one knee and bending at the waist, keeping his back straight. Last week there was some criticism of Nurmagomedov’s form for select wrestling techniques, but he presses well and has solid posture on the double.

When defending double legs against the cage, it’s essential to have a wide base, even if your opponent gets their hands below your hips, it’s still incredibly difficult to crunch the legs together and work on a finish. Poirier took more of a side-on stance and began to dig with his right arm to the side Nurmagomedov’s head was on. This is a good start, creating space would keep Nurmagomedov’s head off Poirier’s hip, as well as give him room to straighten up Nurmagomedov with an underhook.

Two things went wrong.

First, Poirier was essentially inactive with his left hand. The angle of his stance didn’t give a lot of room to pummel but he could have whizzered on the attacking arm and pulled. He could have attempted to fight the wrist, at the very least. Poirier looked uncertain, never committing to any one action with that free hand.

With his right arm, he did successfully dig past Nurmagomedov’s face and under his arm. But instead of sliding in a strong underhook beneath the elbow, Poirier reached for the neck. If you watch it back, he was clearly going for the neck from the start.

There wasn’t a lot to work with in terms of predicting how Dustin Poirier would defend against Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wrestling attack, but one recurring image was Poirier pulling guard multiple times on guillotines against the doubles of Eddie Alvarez. More optimistic fans proposed that with against a more dangerous top player, Poirier would prioritize separation and avoid compromising his position with guillotines.

But there it was, less than two minutes into the first round.

What is the issue with going for a guillotine? In this circumstance, Poirier’s stance is side-on, he’s in no position to pull full guard with urgency, and with Nurmagomedov pressing against the cage, leaving little room, there isn’t space to fish for a standing choke. On top of that, given that Poirier was doing nothing about Nurmagomedov’s other arm, committing to the guillotine gave Nurmagomedov free use of both arms.

Of course, he used them. Nurmagomedov switched and locked hands for a head inside single, a position where he is consistently able to lift and trip out the base leg. Indeed Nurmagomedov stood with the leg, but there was no lift attempt and the finish did not materialize just then. Nurmagomedov reset in the clinch.

Poirier kept his side-on stance, finally utilizing an underhook...with both arms. For a short maneuver, many fighters can get away with this. You commit both arms to jack up the underhook and interrupt the shot, then you use your other arm for something else, you change the position. Poirier held.

Logically, Nurmagomedov switched to a single on the unguarded side, retracted his then-underhooked arm and locked his hands, head inside once again. This time, he was able to lift and trip out the base leg.

Continued Troubles Against the Cage

In a similar scenario, Dustin Poirier is held against the cage once again, this time his feet are parallel and he has his shoulder facing Nurmagomedov.

Even for a few seconds, this is an awful position to be in, if you don’t have one or both arms of your opponent secured, you have absolutely no base to defend a shot with.

To his credit, Poirier turned in to get his back on the cage. On the other hand, he committed both arms to underhook the same side once again, if Nurmagomedov had dropped to a single, it would have been the same story as before.

Instead we got a bit of brilliance from Nurmagomedov, as Poirier turned toward him, putting weight on his left leg, Nurmagomedov timed the exact moment, when Poirier was still unstable, and tripped it out.

In the second round, Nurmagomedov pressed in from the clinch with Poirier’s feet parallel once again. Poirier made a habit in this fight of standing sideways against the cage, mostly by virtue of having cage-walked in that general position and Nurmagomedov pinning him once he rose up.

This time Nurmagomedov did change levels and drop to the leg, Poirier’s arms were free at the time and he went with both arms for the underhook on his strong side as usual. But, because he caught Nurmagomedov in transition, the near-underhooking arm effectively blocked the head of Nurmagomedov and stifled the shot.

Poirier was able to use that newfound space to underhook both arms on both sides, squaring his stance while still keeping his base wide. Finally!

Feeling the underhooks, Nurmagomedov began to posture back up, and Poirier couldn’t help himself, he tried to grab the neck and lock his hands. Thankfully, the attempt was denied and Poirier got back to his underhooks, straightening Nurmagomedov after subsequent level changes.

This was some of Poirier’s best work in the fight, from a grappling perspective.

He would eventually concede the takedown after losing control of Nurmagomedov’s left arm, while his opposite undertook had devolved into a more of a barrier between the two, not being used to attack the limbs of Nurmagomedov.

Other Various Tactics

Poirier showed a few other interesting looks that were clearly drilled for this fight.

One was a response to the threat of the bodylock against the cage, an old Nurmagomedov favorite that hadn’t shown itself for some time.

I believe that Poirier’s camp wanted to simplify their defensive grappling strategies for this fight. They clearly worked a ton in preparation for Nurmagomedov on his back, likely more from what you’d call “rear standing” in wrestling rather than a back mount with hooks in.

Poirier’s defense to the bodylock was pretty simple. Once Nurmagomedov got there, he squirmed and pummeled enough to make space, then turned. He gave up rear standing, essentially, because it was a more defensible position given his training.

This may seem like a really bad look, considering the manner in which Poirier was finished, but I like the sentiment from his camp. Do you try to train your fighter to defend competently in multiple scenarios, or do you get them as good as you can in one scenario and prepare them to default to it when they’re in trouble? It’s a risk either way, and it was probably the right decision for this version of Dustin Poirier.

Of course, while Poirier was attempting to fight hands, Nurmagomedov’s bodylock had become what you’d call a tight-waist, and he was able to step around the left leg of Poirier and drag him back down.

On the subject of rear standing, Poirier utilized what freestyle wrestlers call the “quad pod”, keeping his legs straight with a wide base and posting on both hands. In freestyle, a takedown isn’t complete until there’s control and a knee hits the ground, wrestlers often stonewall from this position, less often they have sneaky counters off their opponent’s breakdowns.

Poirier had drilled and prepared to his a switch, essentially sitting out and turning in to your opponent who has a rear standing or referee’s position, usually attacking a single leg. One of the most talented American wrestlers in both folk and freestyle, Cary Kolat, briefly breaks down a standing switch from rear standing:

Some common themes for switches are fighting the hands, creating motion and baiting movement from your opponent.

Dustin Poirier attempted two switches against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

There were a few problems. One, he didn’t create motion first, Nurmagomedov saw the first switch coming and was already circling away. It doesn’t help whatsoever that Nurmagomedov had the tight-waist or bodylock, making it extremely difficult for Poirier to get hip separation and fully turn in.

On both attempts, Poirier’s explosive switching momentum ended with Nurmagomedov’s legs hitting the cage, where he was able to stabilize and walk right back in. Frankly, Poirier wasn’t in a very good position to pull that off, small improvements could have been more urgency in securing his posting hand on the single, but it’s much easier said than done.

More of the Same

All of these details would be irrelevant if Khabib Nurmagomedov couldn’t get to his entries in the first place. Each time, it was a matter of Dustin Poirier’s back being against the cage.

In round two, Poirier’s punching form took him out of his stance against the cage, completely compromising his base.

Late in round two, even when he could create separation, Poirier didn’t have it in him anymore to strike Nurmagomedov back to the center, he stayed put. When Nurmagomedov did throw, Poirier covered up and leaned back, leaving his hips exposed.

It was the same story in round three, Poirier gave far too much respect to Nurmagomedov’s striking entries and conceded tremendous amounts of space while covering up. At that point, he was likely broken down physically and psychologically.

That final guillotine attempt against the cage was actually the one I excuse. Nurmagomedov already had his entry and Poirier’s base was narrow, he was getting taken down either way.

Closing Thoughts

This article was pretty hard on Dustin Poirier. I enjoyed his resurgence and run to the title so thoroughly, it’s nearly impossible not to root for the Diamond. I knew coming into this matchup that he wasn’t necessarily supposed to be “the guy” stylistically to beat Nurmagomedov. However, I felt his presence and tactics on the feet could be enough to deny Nurmagomedov the situations that served him best. It was soul-crushing to watch error after error. Strategically, Poirier was never really in the fight.

On the other hand, I have not given nearly enough praise to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hopefully these articles prove how crucial it is to make the correct decisions, and quickly, against the lightweight champion. This is not a fighter you can afford to make many mistakes against. He is far from perfect, but in executing his existing skill set, he has dominated.


And this Luke Thomas video



This was nothing other than shear dominance. Tony can't beat him either. Khabib wants to fight Georges St. Pierre instead. Dana is open to it this time.

Edit: Maybe Tony can beat because he’s so unpredictable, has a lot of length and a great guard. We’ll see what direction Dana decides to go.

Anyhow, I’m interested in getting your take on the article and vid.


I can't watch the video but the article is fantastic. I've bolded some parts in there where I think (and I believe the writer would co-sign me) that the mistakes are self-inflicted. We're talking distance management, bad strategy or technical failings. I also bolded the last bit because for absolutely certain, Khabib has to be great to take advantage of the mistakes, but Poirier was making some mistakes that Khabib didn't have to do anything to force. I really love the conclusion, it's exactly how I feel. Poirier's strategy took him out of the fight before it even started, especially on the feet. None of that means Poirier would have won or anything, but it means he could have really improved his chances to win by making some tactical adjustments (adjustments I was expecting as a fan).

The thing that sticks out to me especially is talking about the distance early in the article and how a logical explanation is that Poirier was so worried about takedowns that he fought at a distance which took away his best weapons. We don't know if Poirier could have pressured Khabib more without getting taken down because he never took the chance to find out. This was definitely sheer dominance, it was Khabib at his best for sure. I give credit to Khabib but I'm also thinking Dustin should have at least been able to mimic Al Iaquinta's successful strategies and I'm not sure why he didn't at least attempt them.

I'd put it this way. The next guy to fight Jon Jones, no matter who it is, HAS to use leg kicks. Thiago Santos showed a potential kink in the armor for Jones. I don't think leg kicks will necessarily beat Jones (he's my GOAT pick point blank) but, if the next guy doesn't use those leg kicks until Jones does something in the octagon that takes away the option; then the next guy made a strategic error that took away from his optimal performance.

On Tony, I mainly trust Tony to fight to his own strengths rather than fighting from fear of Khabib's strengths. That's how you HAVE to beat a grappler imo. You can't be defensive because at best you'll lose on points. My boy Jack Slack brought up the Rousey comparison in his review too (and I stress this is not an insult, she's still the most dominant female fighter we've seen so far). Fighters were too worried about the grappling to focus on their strengths. It took someone with footwork, high level striking and an elite level gameplan to dethrone Ronda. Slack actually agrees with you that Tony isn't the one though...he thinks Prime Eddie Alvarez would do work of all people.

But fam, this is why I LOVE this sport. We can disagree and talk so much about tactics. The how and why someone won becomes this discussion chaining events from punches and kicks to closing distance to how dudes were using their hands in clinch situations...it's chess. We're watching a game of chess minus waiting your turn to act. If you wait to counter a tactic, you'll get chewed up and spit out. That's what Khabib did to Dustin 100% no denying, but it doesn't mean Dustin couldn't have done better with some adjustments to his game plan or in-fight decisions.



Why can't you watch the video? It goes into a lot of things you're discussing. Luke slow motions parts of the fight - frame by frame - in order to see what's going on. I think you'd really like it.

Yeah, I agree that the strategy was worse than bad. It seems like, by now, we know that backing up against the cage is not a good strategy. So maybe Tony does stand a chance.

Thanks for engaging. :D
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Re: Official MMA discussion thread pt 2: UFC 242 preview how Poirier might beat Khabib 

Post#280 » by j4remi » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:39 pm

HarthorneWingo wrote:Why can't you watch the video? It goes into a lot of things you're discussing. Luke slow motions parts of the fight - frame by frame - in order to see what's going on. I think you'd really like it.

Yeah, I agree that the strategy was worse than bad. It seems like, by now, we know that backing up against the cage is not a good strategy. So maybe Tony does stand a chance.

Thanks for engaging. :D


I only mean as of posting, my bad for lack of clarity there. I love Luke's breakdowns, so I'm definitely gonna dive in on it when I'm home with time to fully digest and take notes.

On a side note about these guys all backing up to the cage, I think it's a trip to see. Chuck Liddell was my favorite fighter during his era and the wall walk was basically his answer to wrestlers and a lot of dudes built strategies to defend wrestlers that way. But this new generation is loaded with wrestlers who use the cage to limit defense instead and most guys are still habitually trying to use the cage to stand. Usman, Khabib and Colby all have belts (one interim to be fair) off using the cage to their advantage and they've beaten elite guys that just didn't have an answer for it. I'm dying for Islam to have to fight Ryan Hall so I can get a look at that style vs someone who actively looks to fight on the mat in open space (and also I'm just curious about leg locks against these guys since that became the wave in the BJJ world for a minute).
PG - Morris/Caruso
SG - Booker/Z.Smith/Brown
SF - Culver/Thabo
PF - Saric/Justin Jackson/ Niang
C - Vonleh/Hartenstein

Reserve - Alize
IR - Gobert

Ex A. Kaba J. Obiesie, Gafford

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