Ted: Conor McGregor round one TKO
If Conor McGregor returns from this injury looking anything like his former self, I think Michael Chandler is the perfect matchup to get him a highlight reel comeback KO. Of all the lightweights currently ranked in the top 10 Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje are the only two that are going to willingly play Conor’s game. Guys like Beneil Dariush, Mateusz Gamrot, and Arman Tsarukyan would make easy work of Conor McGregor on the floor, and for what it’s worth also can’t sell a fight like Michael Chandler. As we’ve seen him do time and time before, Michael Chandler will quickly abandon his wrestling background when the bright lights hit that Octagon and give the fans the fist fight they want. Chandler is known to come out aggressive and swing big, and when you swing big you miss big. When you miss big on Conor McGregor you eat a perfectly placed counter left hand to the chin that has removed consciousness from countless men before Chandler. We so often see Chandler have a wild first round just to recompose in the corner and fight to a more disciplined game plan in the second round, but if Conor has the same spark on his punch, I fear Chandler doesn’t even see the second round. I predict the Mac is back.
Nader: Michael Chandler round two KO
Just about every MMA fan in the world was begging the UFC to make this fight. Not only did they deliver, but on top of it, they made Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler the two head coaches of what should be an amazing TUF season. “Iron Mike” Chandler is known as one of the most electric entertainers in all of the UFC and the “Notorious One” needs no introduction. Dana White, Sean Shelby, and Hunter Campbell did us all a service and I cannot wait for fight week.
While there isn’t necessarily a clear winner this early, I think one guy should be clearly favored. Who is that you ask? Michael Chandler. People may make the argument that Chandler is 2-3 since his debut in 2021, but you must look at his resume. He’s lost to three of the best LWs of all time and was inches away from beating Poirier and Oliveira, if he had made smarter decisions. As much as I hate to bet against McGregor, you must take his situation into account. He’s won one fight since 2018 and has spent an unbelievably large amount of time out of the Octagon. At a certain point, Money Mac is going to start losing the physical attributes that make him who he is, and with the lack of good tape on him the last couple of years, who knows where he stands? Chandler is powerful, has an insane chin, and knows that his career is in jeopardy if he loses this fight. He must control his impulses, and if he does, expect a quick night at the office for the former Bellator champion.