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'Devastated' John Kavanagh Lays Out Failed Plan To Stop Khabib

'Devastated' John Kavanagh Lays Out Failed Plan To Stop Khabib
By Eoin Lyons Updated

Conor McGregor was found out on Saturday night against Khabib Nurmagomedov, with the Dagestani lightweight putting on a dominant performance against the Notorious, exerting his gameplan of tiring the Dubliner out through wrestling and also rocking him with a right hand in the second round.

McGregor would be submitted by his opponent in the fourth round to bring the hype train to a shuddering halt, but the 30-year-old already signalled his intent to fight Khabib again.

McGregor's coach John Kavanagh is no doubt another man who would like to see McGregor given a second bite of the cherry. The 41-year-old  appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast this evening and gave an insight into his fighter's preparations for the bout as well as his gameplan to stop Khabib.

Kavanagh divulged that the overall intention of their gameplan was to wait until Khabib got tired in the later rounds, in order to lessen the threat of being taken down and open up opportunities to land shots:

JK: We expected round one for sure (Khabib) getting a takedown.

The goal of round one was to get out of it still having energy, we didn't want to put a huge amount of effort into getting back up in round one. I'd seen that happen many times to his other opponents and they got back to the stool really tired.

So round one, make him pay, do our best on the way in. Fight it as hard as we can, but if we do end up down against the fence stay seated up, if we end up on our back, just try to play guard until the bell. Accept that it will be a 10-9 round.

For round two again same plan. Do as much damage as we can but if we end up on our back don't put a huge amount of effort into getting back up again, he's an absolute master at regrounding people. That turned out to be a 10-8 round he got some good shots there, he landed the great right hand, that wasn't what we had hoped for.

Round three we saw it turning a little bit in our favour, he did a lot better at keeping it in the middle, defending the takedown.

JR: So the plan was to slow him down a little and watch him slow down a little bit in the third fourth and fifth?

JK: Yeah exactly. I think at the beginning the consensus was Conor knocks him out in the first or Khabib takes him from two on. For us to win the third round was  probably a little bit of a surprise to people but you know the Al Iaquinta fight from round three on he wasn't able to get any takedowns.

So we hoped we'd get a go in round three, we could defend the takedowns a lot easier and start landing our shots. And that did happen for round three, not as well as we'd planned, and then round four he hit another great takedown, we made a mistake giving up the overhook, exposed our back and that was all she wrote.

Later in the podcast Kavanagh admitted that perhaps the mindset against Khabib was too defensive and that more focus should have put on the offensive side of things, but it is interesting to hear Kavanagh's words about focusing on the later rounds to get into the fight, especially with the question marks around McGreor's cardio.


The Dubliner looked off in his return to the octagon for the first time in two years, and whether it was Khabib's dominance or some ring rust for the Crumlin man, his team might have to alter the plan for the rematch.


See Also: What McGregor/Khabib Camps Are Saying After Fight-Night In Las Vegas

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