Firas Zahabi believes Conor McGregor using flashy kicks against Eddie Alvarez could be a recipe for disaster
Tri-Star head coach Firas Zahabi doesn't think we'll see much of Conor McGregor's kicking game at UFC 205.
The Notorious will fight for the lightweight strap at the promotion's highly-anticipated New York debut in November. If he wins, he'll make UFC history by becoming the first ever fighter to hold two belts in two separate divisions simultaneously.
In order to achieve that momentous feat, he has the small matter of defeating veteran brawler Eddie Alvarez, a man who has been a champion in pretty much every promotion he's fought for.
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One technique we've become accustomed to seeing from the Notorious is the use of taekwondo-style kicks. He utilised his kicking game very effectively in the Chad Mendes and Denis Siver fights in particular, but Zahabi explained in his pre-fight breakdown that he doesn't think he's going to showcase these weapons against the Underground King in Madison Square Garden.
"I don't think he's going to use too many taekwondo-style kicks. Of course he could always land a spinning-hook kick on the jaw and knock anybody out. You see Vitor do it to Luke Rockhold. We've seen Edson Barboza do it. That's a powerful kick. A wheel-kick to the chin would knock out anybody."
He pointed out that these type of high-risk strikes not only cause fighters to gas quicker, but they also make them more susceptible to the takedown. He explained that this didn't matter all that much in the Mendes fight because he had a considerable size advantage over "Money" and was able to use his strength to get back to his feet.
"If he does those kind of spinning-kicks he has a big chance of getting taken down. Big chance. Number one they take a lot of power. Those spinning kicks, those jumping kicks - they're plyometrics, you're jumping off the ground. Does he really want to waste his legs? Does he really want to tire out his legs?"
"When you jump like that a double-leg takedown will take you down. Against Chad Mendes he did a scissor-knee. Three seconds into the fight he was on the ground. He was fighting a shorter fighter, makes sense, and he got taken down."
However, if he allows himself to get taken down as easily against Alvarez, Zahabi believes he's in for a world of hurt against the highly-respected wrestler.
"Does he want to take that risk against Eddie Alvarez? Conor's bigger than Chad Mendes, he's stronger, he's more physical. He can work his way back up to his feet, but if he gets taken down easily by Eddie Alvarez, that's a recipe for disaster because he's much bigger than Chad Mendes. He'll have a lot more weight on top of Conor."
"I don't think he's going to play high risk stuff like that. He learned after the first Diaz fight because in the first fight he was throwing those kicks and he realised those cost a lot of energy. I think he's learned his lesson not to waste too much energy. This is a five-round fight."
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