Prediction and betting odds for Brian Kelleher vs Umar Nurmagomedov
It’s the age old tale of tested veteran facing the young up and comer. Brian ‘Boom’ Kelleher has been a mainstay in the UFC’s bantamweight division for 5 years now, mainly being a gatekeeper for the rankings; if you can’t beat Kelleher, you’re not good enough! For Umar Nurmagomedov, this is his second UFC appearance, and a very large step up in competition indeed.
Cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Umar is slightly flashier, bouncing on the balls of his feet and trying to take his opponent’s heads off with various kicks. If you looked at his record, you wouldn’t think he’s much of a striker, but he has a lightning fast question mark kick, and a deceptively good sense of range. One of these days Umar is going to land flush with that kick and it will be an all time great highlight.
Umar can do these wild techniques because he can always fall back on his grappling. Like most of the Dagestani fighters, Umar has an excellent wrestling base, smothering opponents on the ground. Fighters fear the mythical Dagestani ground game, so spinning kicks and question mark kicks can be performed without risk of being taken down.
Where does this leave Brian Kelleher?
One thing is for sure, Kelleher has an excellent guillotine choke, so Umar can’t go for any naked takedowns. Kelleher will have the power advantage and will need to be respected on the feet. However, Kelleher tends to win his fights with dominant wrestling, top pressure, and ground and pound. It’s hard to argue against the fact that Nurmagomedov’s wrestling will probably be far superior in this fight, so does that mean Kelleher’s biggest asset is no longer there?
Well, no, he does have the experience advantage and possibly an edge in cardio. He also has the guillotine and power, but he stands 2 inches shorter than the Dagestani which means he’s primed to be picked apart by kicks. Nurmagomedov likes to play with his opponents from range with his kicks, and Kelleher won’t be able to shoot for a takedown in light of Umar’s wrestling. It’s quite safe to say that Nurmagomedov takes this fight by unanimous decision.
Brian Kelleher vs Umar Nurmagomedov Betting
Oddschecker has Nurmagomedov as a heavy 6/1 favourite. Your best pick is for Umar to win outright.
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Mathew is a UK-based combat sports journalist. He currently works for MMA Knockout, part of the Sports Illustrated FanNation network. The Fight Fanatic is Mathew’s one-man operation. His past bylines include Heavy on UFC, Sportskeeda, and MMA UK.
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