On Saturday, October 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena, two legendary figures in the world of mixed martial arts will do battle inside the octagon. In what is going to be the most popular fighting event since the last time “The Notorious One” threw down against the greatest boxer of this generation, Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor makes his long-awaited return to the cage to challenge the man who has held the title of undisputed lightweight champion since April of this year, the undefeated, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov. UFC 229 also boasts four solid fights to lead up to the enormous extravaganza that is Conor vs. Khabib, so let’s talk about them. 

Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig

Kicking off the main card, “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson looks to continue her good form against the gritty Felice Herrig in Strawweight action. 

Waterson, coming off of a hard-fought split decision win over Cortney Casey, will look to show that she’s not quite done yet, and may very well have one more run in her at the belt in the future. 

Herrig, on the other hand, is looking to bounce back after her four-fight win streak was snapped back in April of this year by Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a close contest. Herrig will look to show that her last fight was a minor setback in her eventual plan for getting the strawweight belt wrapped around her waist. 

These two seasoned veterans will look to put on a show, and given the fact that they have similar styles, there is a high chance that we will see a great display of striking between the two, as well as some wrestling getting thrown into the mix.  Don’t look for this one to finish any sooner than the allotted fifteen minutes, as both girls have amazing endurance, and don’t seem to carry any vicious power that could put either woman away. This will likely be a close contest that could very well come down to who can leave more of a lasting impression on the judges. 

Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov

Don’t blink, or you might miss this one. Two of the best knockout-artists the UFC’s Heavyweight division has to offer collide as Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis squares off against Alexander ‘Drago” Volkov. 

This is a huge fight for both men, but more so for Lewis. A statement victory on Saturday could very well propel the behemoth to a title shot down the line, in what is an up-in-arms heavyweight division, now that Daniel Cormier owns the gold strap and has his eyes set on a major pay-day against Brock Lesnar. A win for Lewis would be three in a row and make nine of his last ten. One thing is for sure, after his cold-war like bout with Francis Ngannou back in July, a knockout would reaffirm Lewis’ position at the top of the division. 

As for Alexander Volkov, “Drago” looks to continue his undefeated run in the UFC, vying for his fifth win in a row, as well as seeking his third straight performance bonus. Coming off of a dominant win and knockout of the former heavyweight kingpin Fabricio Werdum, Volkov will look to once again prove that he is the future of the heavyweight division. 

Expect Volkov to keep range and try to chop down the heavier Lewis, with plenty of leg and body kicks. Expect Lewis to do what he does best, try to send people crashing down to the canvas. If Volkov can avoid that looming right hand for fifteen minutes then he should see out a victory, but if Lewis manages to get ahold of the jaw of Volkov, it’ll be lights out. expect fireworks in this one. 

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes

Up next in a match between one of the mainstays of the light heavyweight division and a fiery newcomer, it’s Ovince “OSP” Saint Preux vs Dominick Reyes. 

Stepping into the octagon for the third time in 2018, OSP plans on becoming the first man to defeat Dominick Reyes professionally. OSP is coming off of a performance of the night victory over Tyson Pedro, a fight in which he secured yet another submission win, that time via armbar. This is a big fight for OSP, if he is able to shut down the hype train that Reyes is coming in on, it would make five of his last six fights victories. In a weak light heavyweight division it really only takes a few consecutive wins to loom towards a title shot, but it seems that Jon Jones will be making his return at the beginning of 2019, likely running it back with Alexander Gustafsson for the strap, so if anyone wants to make their case, they better do it soon, so this is a great opportunity for OSP. 

Dominick “The Devastator” Reyes has an opportunity to make a name for himself on Saturday. OSP is without a doubt the biggest challenge he has faced so far in his young career. this is only Reyes’ tenth professional fight, so this is an amazing opportunity for the twenty-eight year old. All three of Reyes’ victories in the octagon have been impressive, so it’s fair to say that he has earned the right to fight someone with the prestige of Ovince Saint Preux. 

Reyes will look to use his speed and athleticism to try and get one by the wiley veteran. Who knows what submission OSP will try and pull out if the fight gets to the ground. OSP also carries around some heavy hands, and if he gets his jab working early, it could spell the end for the young up and comer. This is a big one at 205. 

Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis

Next up in the co-main event, we get a clash of elite lightweights and former champs in what could possibly be a title eliminator, it’s Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson vs Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. 

It’s very fitting that Khabib and Tony Ferguson are fighting on the same card, but not against each other. Ferguson is coming back from a freak accident injury that caused him to not be able to compete against Khabib back in April, the fourth time that the scheduled bout between the two has fallen through. Tony now has a totally different opponent in front of him in Showtime Pettis. The showdown on Saturday will almost exactly mark one year since the last time Ferguson fought, going back to when he first captured the lightweight title against Kevin Lee at UFC 216. El Cucuy is back to prove why he is one of the very best in the world, he will look to take Pettis down and do what he does best. Tony hasn’t lost since May of 2012, and surely a win will get him a crack at the winner of the main event. 

This is arguably the biggest fight of Anthony Pettis’ career. Coming off of a great submission win against Michael Chiesa back in July at UFC 226, Showtime has somehow found himself in a position where a win could propel him to a title opportunity. Back in April of 2016, all seemed lost for Pettis, as he suffered his third straight defeat, and it seemed like the show was over. He then was granted a shot at the interim featherweight championship after a win at the end of 2016, but he failed to make weight for the fight and was then starched by long-reigning champion Max Holloway. Now here we are, Pettis is battle tested, and he knows that he is capable of becoming a champion once again, we’ll see if he can yet again put on another show in front of a sold-out Vegas crowd against one of the toughest opponents he’s ever faced. 

This fight has a lot riding on it for both men. If Ferguson can win, he’ll be right back into the fray of the fight for the lightweight title. If Pettis can score a victory, there’s no doubt that 2019 will be his opportunity to make a run at once again becoming a champion. If the fight finds it’s way to the mat, don’t expect to see Pettis coming out on top, but if showtime can pull out all the stops on the feet like he did against Benson Henderson, he’s definitely got a chance. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 20: UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (L) and Conor McGregor (R) face off after the UFC 229 press conference at Radio City Music Hall on September 20, 2018 in New York, NY. The two will meet in the main event on October 6, 2018 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

And now for the main event of the evening, one of the most anticipated mixed martial arts fights of all time, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor looks to recapture the lightweight crown against the dominator from Dagestan, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov. 

Conor McGregor is an enigma. He has soared into superstardom and never slows down. It’s been quite some time we’ve last seen McGregor in the octagon, going back to November of 2016 when he became the “Double Champ” by beating Eddie Alvarez in dominant fashion. He then pursued a mega-fight for the ages against Floyd “Money” Mayweather, arguably the best boxer of all time. McGregor fell short against Mayweather in August of last year, but now he’s back to reclaim what he feels is rightfully his. This is personal, Conor wants to shut Khabib up once and for all and prove why he is one of the greatest to ever step foot inside the octagon. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov is quite simply a killer. There is yet to be anyone who has taken Khabib to deep water, let alone hurt the guy. It’s quite simple, if Khabib gets you to the ground then your night is going to be a living hell. What Khabib has done to amazing fighters, the likes of Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, and most recently Al Iaquinta is astonishing. There have been brilliant fighters in the past who can do work on the ground, but Khabib is on another level. Khabib just wants to fight, he knows that he can maul McGregor on the mat, and he truly thinks that he is the better fighter. 

The best part about this matchup is it is hard to tell what kind of fighter Conor McGregor is going to be like in that cage. If the fight goes to the ground there is a solid chance that it will be curtains for Mac. Conor McGregor is one of the best strikers in the UFC, and his left hand can put just about anyone out to sleep. McGregor’s conditioning could be put to the test, as will khabib’s chin. WHO KNOWS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. 

Barring any freak accidents or weigh-in mishaps, Saturday is set to be a historic day for the UFC and fight fans alike. 

Hunter Shelton
About Author

Hunter Shelton

Journalism major at the University of Kentucky. Sharing my love of sports and writing with the world.