UnderGround Forums Breaking Down Justin v. Khabib

5/29/20 5:10 PM
4/20/08
Posts: 23485

Al seemed to befuddle Khabib a bit, I think Gajthe and even guys like Gillespie can give Khabib fits. 

5/29/20 5:42 PM
2/17/03
Posts: 15389
Bobby Lupo - 
wiggum - 
Bobby Lupo - Great thread.

Justin was an All-American wrestler 12 years ago. That likely has little bearing on this fight considering it's a skill he hasn't shown at all in high level MMA. His wrestling is a question mark and fans should assume anything.

It should be noted that Khabib loses a lot of steam after the first two rounds. If he's chaining takedowns together and fighting at a hard pace, he will likely gas first.

As much as Khabib's wrestling will limit Justin's striking, Justin's counter hook will limit Khabib's wrestling. IMO, Khabib has a brick for a chin, but that's not a solid strategy for closing the distance. Khabib can't grab Justin with reckless abandon or try to close the gap with goofy floppy jabs b/c Justin will counter the shit out of him. If I'm Khabib's coach, I'm working on Fedor-esque power punch to clinch. Throw kill shots, make just react, grab a hold of him, take your time and make sure you get the TD. If he happens to land, good. Khabib hits hard AF and is the bigger, much stronger man in this fight. Khabib is bigger than GSP and fighting a mid-sized LW.

Justin looked incredible in the Ferg fight, but how much of that was Tony being a shell of himself who was unable or unwilling to get out of the way of punches? Justin showed really clean, technical boxing, with snap in his shots. There's a very good chance that through footwork and quick, clean punches, Justin will turn Khabib into a Frankenstein punching bag for a period of time. Justin showed that he's willing to keep it technical and not overextending himself hunting for a KO. If Khabib is getting hammered standing, he's going to become very predictable, and through distance management and footwork, Justin should be able to have at least McGregor levels of success playing matador.

This might be an opportunity to see what Khabib does when he's behind in a fight and things aren't going his way. I'd bet that he's even better and more determined when he's behind and will eventually overwhelm Justin.


Good stuff.

It makes me think, too, that another skill that Justin has that none of Khabib's opponents outside of Conor has: the ability to take 'just one step' out of range and then to re-engage.

Say Khabib goes for a flying knee to engage the clinch. Most fighters, even as the highest level, either get clinched from there, or they completely disengage and reset. I can imagine Justin taking just one step back and throwing two punches before reseting. He might punish Khabib in a way that no other fighter has, because only Conor has that skill, but Conor's TDD and clinch work was not good enough to use it.


Agree. Justin has that spatial awareness that's really rare in MMA. I'd discourage leg kicks early, just so he's able to keep moving out of Khabib range and disrupting the clinch and maul game and landing and moving.

I wonder what the speed gap will look like. I thought Conor would have been much quicker than Khabib, but it wasn't so pronounced. He looked like dogshit whether it was lack of preparation or because he spent the whole camp clinch wrestling and resisting the urge to get off his back. I think Justin's technical advantages on the feet: movement, evasiveness, and short, clean punches might make him look like the much quicker man.

I can envision a tired, frustrated Khabib down 2-0 on the cards, coming out for the third like a relentless monster.

IMO, the guy who disrupt the other guy's gameplan early in the fight will have a huge advantage. If Justin's checking Khabib's forward march with tight hooks, it's going to be a very interesting fight. I kind of hope Justin feints and shoots early just to see how Khabib reacts.

My gameplan for Justin would be similar, but I offer one key alternative.

I'd start throwing calf kicks with a minute left in the first (assuming that he's standing.) That would allow him to see whether Khabib has the speed to close in off those kicks early in the fight. Kicks are one of Justin's best weapons and if he learns that he can throw them with a level of impunity, it might be a rough night for Khabib. By throwing them with a minute to go, the risks just aren't that great. Worst comes to worst, he gets taken down with short time left.

5/29/20 5:43 PM
2/17/03
Posts: 15390
Non N00B - 

Al seemed to befuddle Khabib a bit, I think Gajthe and even guys like Gillespie can give Khabib fits. 


I thing with Gregor and Kevin Lee is that I'm not convinced that their standup is on Khabib's level. That's where those matchups were always a bit out of sorts.

Gaethje should have the standup advantage.

5/30/20 3:59 PM
10/4/02
Posts: 5959
wiggum - 
androushka - 

Justin's ability to move laterally is excellent and could be key to avoiding the td. For what it's worth, that was a big part of chuck liddell's sucess in keeping it standing with Randy back in the day. I was really impressed with Justin's ability to control distance and timing and deliver quality strikes. Great toolbox against Khabib imo


-I rewatched the Dustin fight. Dustin's in-and-out footwork and lack of lateral movement really, really cost him. Justin looked entirely different in the Tony fight.

I've helped a bunch of kickboxers/boxers make the transition to MMA over the years. The ones who found success were the ones who utilized lateral movement to stymy wrestlers. Those who couldn't struggled mightily with TDD. IMHO, too many MMA coaches focus on teaching sprawling techniques. Most defensive MMA wrestling comes from footwork.

-That said, after watching the Dustin fight, I have to concede that Khabib's shots have become much faster over the years and it's probably no longer fair to say that he lacks a power double.


Ye I was exclusivly in muay thai the last 8 years or so of my active days. lateral footwork is just one of those things we all, always try to get fighters to do. Regardless of guys who have that habit is always hard to catch and dangerous with angles. I'm glad to see MMA-striking become more qualitative, for the longest time it seemed to be just about throwing strikes. I love Tony but that was beautiful work by Justin Gaethje

5/30/20 4:36 PM
2/17/03
Posts: 15404
androushka - 
wiggum - 
androushka - 

Justin's ability to move laterally is excellent and could be key to avoiding the td. For what it's worth, that was a big part of chuck liddell's sucess in keeping it standing with Randy back in the day. I was really impressed with Justin's ability to control distance and timing and deliver quality strikes. Great toolbox against Khabib imo


-I rewatched the Dustin fight. Dustin's in-and-out footwork and lack of lateral movement really, really cost him. Justin looked entirely different in the Tony fight.

I've helped a bunch of kickboxers/boxers make the transition to MMA over the years. The ones who found success were the ones who utilized lateral movement to stymy wrestlers. Those who couldn't struggled mightily with TDD. IMHO, too many MMA coaches focus on teaching sprawling techniques. Most defensive MMA wrestling comes from footwork.

-That said, after watching the Dustin fight, I have to concede that Khabib's shots have become much faster over the years and it's probably no longer fair to say that he lacks a power double.


Ye I was exclusivly in muay thai the last 8 years or so of my active days. lateral footwork is just one of those things we all, always try to get fighters to do. Regardless of guys who have that habit is always hard to catch and dangerous with angles. I'm glad to see MMA-striking become more qualitative, for the longest time it seemed to be just about throwing strikes. I love Tony but that was beautiful work by Justin Gaethje


100%.

5/30/20 6:22 PM
11/16/09
Posts: 4654
Non N00B -

Al seemed to befuddle Khabib a bit, I think Gajthe and even guys like Gillespie can give Khabib fits. 

Al fought specifically not to get taken down though. He fought in squat so deep you'd be forgiven for thinking he was talking a dump. 

That's why Khabib was doing silly shit like he was some sort of showtime boxer lol.

Al basically said "I'll let you dadangadadang my head" because I'm putting 100% effort into not getting taken down. So Khabib speed bagged his head.

5/30/20 6:37 PM
4/2/20
Posts: 89

I think this fight looks just like Khabib vs Porier, and Khabib vs McGregor fight. Eventually Khabib gets his takedown and has his way and ends it via gnp or sub. 
 

If this fight even happens bc if Khabib’s dad being so gravely ill. I have a feeling Khabib is going to step out of the picture, and we are going to see Dana making Justin fight Conor for the interim title, or undisputed depending on Khabib’s disposition.

6/2/20 5:24 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 60161
androushka - 
wiggum - 
androushka - 

Justin's ability to move laterally is excellent and could be key to avoiding the td. For what it's worth, that was a big part of chuck liddell's sucess in keeping it standing with Randy back in the day. I was really impressed with Justin's ability to control distance and timing and deliver quality strikes. Great toolbox against Khabib imo


-I rewatched the Dustin fight. Dustin's in-and-out footwork and lack of lateral movement really, really cost him. Justin looked entirely different in the Tony fight.

I've helped a bunch of kickboxers/boxers make the transition to MMA over the years. The ones who found success were the ones who utilized lateral movement to stymy wrestlers. Those who couldn't struggled mightily with TDD. IMHO, too many MMA coaches focus on teaching sprawling techniques. Most defensive MMA wrestling comes from footwork.

-That said, after watching the Dustin fight, I have to concede that Khabib's shots have become much faster over the years and it's probably no longer fair to say that he lacks a power double.


Ye I was exclusivly in muay thai the last 8 years or so of my active days. lateral footwork is just one of those things we all, always try to get fighters to do. Regardless of guys who have that habit is always hard to catch and dangerous with angles. I'm glad to see MMA-striking become more qualitative, for the longest time it seemed to be just about throwing strikes. I love Tony but that was beautiful work by Justin Gaethje


This is great insight. I haven't trained a day of MMA and although I only have local level experience in wresting and judo, I could see from day 1 that shooting tds in MMA is different with the distance and upright stances. From Amaury Bitetti vs Don Frye...sure Frye had a good sprawl but Bitetti couldn't get anywhere close to good td range.

Its what made Machida's and CC's TDD so good - they were out of range most of the time and their opponents also feared their striking. Same with Connor vs Alvarez...Alvarez was never a great MMA wrestler but he never got in close to make a good td attempt on Connor.

6/2/20 5:28 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 60162
wiggum - 
Bobby Lupo - 
wiggum - 
Bobby Lupo - Great thread.

Justin was an All-American wrestler 12 years ago. That likely has little bearing on this fight considering it's a skill he hasn't shown at all in high level MMA. His wrestling is a question mark and fans should assume anything.

It should be noted that Khabib loses a lot of steam after the first two rounds. If he's chaining takedowns together and fighting at a hard pace, he will likely gas first.

As much as Khabib's wrestling will limit Justin's striking, Justin's counter hook will limit Khabib's wrestling. IMO, Khabib has a brick for a chin, but that's not a solid strategy for closing the distance. Khabib can't grab Justin with reckless abandon or try to close the gap with goofy floppy jabs b/c Justin will counter the shit out of him. If I'm Khabib's coach, I'm working on Fedor-esque power punch to clinch. Throw kill shots, make just react, grab a hold of him, take your time and make sure you get the TD. If he happens to land, good. Khabib hits hard AF and is the bigger, much stronger man in this fight. Khabib is bigger than GSP and fighting a mid-sized LW.

Justin looked incredible in the Ferg fight, but how much of that was Tony being a shell of himself who was unable or unwilling to get out of the way of punches? Justin showed really clean, technical boxing, with snap in his shots. There's a very good chance that through footwork and quick, clean punches, Justin will turn Khabib into a Frankenstein punching bag for a period of time. Justin showed that he's willing to keep it technical and not overextending himself hunting for a KO. If Khabib is getting hammered standing, he's going to become very predictable, and through distance management and footwork, Justin should be able to have at least McGregor levels of success playing matador.

This might be an opportunity to see what Khabib does when he's behind in a fight and things aren't going his way. I'd bet that he's even better and more determined when he's behind and will eventually overwhelm Justin.


Good stuff.

It makes me think, too, that another skill that Justin has that none of Khabib's opponents outside of Conor has: the ability to take 'just one step' out of range and then to re-engage.

Say Khabib goes for a flying knee to engage the clinch. Most fighters, even as the highest level, either get clinched from there, or they completely disengage and reset. I can imagine Justin taking just one step back and throwing two punches before reseting. He might punish Khabib in a way that no other fighter has, because only Conor has that skill, but Conor's TDD and clinch work was not good enough to use it.


Agree. Justin has that spatial awareness that's really rare in MMA. I'd discourage leg kicks early, just so he's able to keep moving out of Khabib range and disrupting the clinch and maul game and landing and moving.

I wonder what the speed gap will look like. I thought Conor would have been much quicker than Khabib, but it wasn't so pronounced. He looked like dogshit whether it was lack of preparation or because he spent the whole camp clinch wrestling and resisting the urge to get off his back. I think Justin's technical advantages on the feet: movement, evasiveness, and short, clean punches might make him look like the much quicker man.

I can envision a tired, frustrated Khabib down 2-0 on the cards, coming out for the third like a relentless monster.

IMO, the guy who disrupt the other guy's gameplan early in the fight will have a huge advantage. If Justin's checking Khabib's forward march with tight hooks, it's going to be a very interesting fight. I kind of hope Justin feints and shoots early just to see how Khabib reacts.

My gameplan for Justin would be similar, but I offer one key alternative.

I'd start throwing calf kicks with a minute left in the first (assuming that he's standing.) That would allow him to see whether Khabib has the speed to close in off those kicks early in the fight. Kicks are one of Justin's best weapons and if he learns that he can throw them with a level of impunity, it might be a rough night for Khabib. By throwing them with a minute to go, the risks just aren't that great. Worst comes to worst, he gets taken down with short time left.


Nice suggestion. Would you think standard leg kicks (on the thigh) run the risk of getting caught for the td? I guess I need to watch more of Gaethje to assess his footwork.

I think Khabib's performance vs Connor and of late should really give him credit as a top notch TD set up guy as well as his footwork. Even if Connor might not have been his best version, watching the Weasel's post fight breakdown showed a lot of how Khabib's footwork baited and kept himself out of striking danger or even baited to draw Connor's left so that he could move out the other way (from Khabib's right to drawing Connor's left to moving out to Khabib's left).

6/2/20 5:29 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 60163

Khabib also looked incredibly fast vs Connor. From the 1-2 against the octagon fence pillar before the fight to the right hand he caught Connor with, he showed some vastly improved speed on his feet and striking.

6/4/20 3:57 AM
10/4/02
Posts: 5961

Khabib is fast, no question about it. I just watched some of his pad work yesterday and while not particularly refined the speed looks good

6/4/20 9:37 AM
2/17/03
Posts: 15423

I agree that he's very fast.

On JRE, Justin said that he's almost exclusively calf kicking now and I think that's great.

6/4/20 9:41 AM
4/22/20
Posts: 276
wiggum - 

I agree that he's very fast.

On JRE, Justin said that he's almost exclusively calf kicking now and I think that's great.


I don't think it's a good idea in this particular matchup. Leg kicks invite legkicks and Gaethje chews up legs.
6/4/20 10:30 AM
2/17/03
Posts: 15424
Colby Covid19ington - 
wiggum - 

I agree that he's very fast.

On JRE, Justin said that he's almost exclusively calf kicking now and I think that's great.


I don't think it's a good idea in this particular matchup. Leg kicks invite legkicks and Gaethje chews up legs.

No, I think Justin should throw calf kicks. Not Khabib.

6/4/20 10:42 AM
4/22/20
Posts: 279
wiggum - 
Colby Covid19ington - 
wiggum - 

I agree that he's very fast.

On JRE, Justin said that he's almost exclusively calf kicking now and I think that's great.


I don't think it's a good idea in this particular matchup. Leg kicks invite legkicks and Gaethje chews up legs.

No, I think Justin should throw calf kicks. Not Khabib.


I misread. I thought conversation was still on Khabib
6/4/20 11:09 AM
2/17/03
Posts: 15425

^^I wasn't super clear. My first point was about Khabib and my second was about Justin.

13 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 16570

ttt now that this fight is upon us!

13 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 16571

I almost made a new thread breaking the fight down and thankfully my cookies showed that I already made it, lol.

12 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 16595

After re-watching some key Justin and Khabib fights, I have a couple additional thoughts:

(1) Justin is very, very good at scrambling after being taken down. If I were coaching him, I'd provide the following guidance.

-Don't make the mistake Conor made in round 1 and lose the opportunity to disengage after defending a takedown. The moment you can stuff Khabib's head and break his lock, take it and get the fuck out. Don't try to get a reversal.

-Scramble the moment you are taken down. You're good at it and you've been doing it your whole life. (Watch when Eddie briefly took him down).

-HOWEVER, learn from the Dustin fight. If you are solidly taken down, adopt a defensive BJJ guard ala Conor v. Mendes and Anderson v. Chael/DC. You are doing to eat a lot of shots, but you won't exhaust yourself.

(2) Justin's hooks are going to be dangerous.

(3) If Justin is going to attempt any takedowns himself, they should exclusively be high singles (ideally, head outside) and knee taps. He does not want to be in Khabib's incredibly underestimated guard. However, landing some standing GnP and just throwing Khabib off balance is always good. No doubles or high commitment take downs.

(4) Justin comes under after a lot of his strikes. It serves him very well. However, Khabib might try to throw some knees and catch him.

(5) Aldo and Henricks used to randomly throw knees and uppercuts when in the middle of the cage and fighting wrestlers. No reason for Justin not to adopt this. (Don't do it against the cage, though.) It's a great way to get someone thinking twice about TDs.

12 days ago
5/26/03
Posts: 714

Great thread Wiggum I can't wait for this fight and the co-main.

Whitman needs to tell Gaethje that the floor is lava outside that black line. He has a much greater chance of victory if he never steps outside of that inner zone.

But it won't matter when Khabib strikes, and then Justin does his heavy stance, cover up and counter technique. this will allow Khabib to grab one of those legs and send him into the lava zone.

12 days ago
6/14/12
Posts: 7539

Just reread the whole thread. 

I cant wait for this fight 

12 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 16617
cab - 

Great thread Wiggum I can't wait for this fight and the co-main.

Whitman needs to tell Gaethje that the floor is lava outside that black line. He has a much greater chance of victory if he never steps outside of that inner zone.

But it won't matter when Khabib strikes, and then Justin does his heavy stance, cover up and counter technique. this will allow Khabib to grab one of those legs and send him into the lava zone.


I smiled at the idea of Trevor reminding Justin mid-fight, "the floor is lava, man!"

12 days ago
2/17/03
Posts: 16618
wiggum - 
cab - 

Great thread Wiggum I can't wait for this fight and the co-main.

Whitman needs to tell Gaethje that the floor is lava outside that black line. He has a much greater chance of victory if he never steps outside of that inner zone.

But it won't matter when Khabib strikes, and then Justin does his heavy stance, cover up and counter technique. this will allow Khabib to grab one of those legs and send him into the lava zone.


I smiled at the idea of Trevor reminding Justin mid-fight, "the floor is lava, man!"


Also, with Justin's new found ability to weave and get angles using his hooks, I'm not sure he'll use a high cover.

The biggest thing for Justin is easily that his feet can never stop moving.

Edited: 12 days ago
7/30/03
Posts: 9311

I like what you say about the lateral movement. If I were Justin I would not follow Khabib around the cage. Either blitz him with a quick combo that ends with a power strike or a takedown such as 1,2,1,shoot or 1,2, 3, then circle out or make Khabib follow him so he can plant and attack when the opportunity is there.

 

I kinda like Justin's mindset as in bring the pain, go to war etc. But the mindset of defensive wrestling is going to hurt him imo. I would rather see a mindset of I am going to attack. Then he needs to go in there and attack, at first with offensive wrestling imo and then let that open up the striking opportunities. Khabib stays offensive because he carries this I am going to attack mindset but he fights smart. He needs to fight like Khabib imo.

 

I won't comment on what I would like to see once he gets to the ground because I have no idea what he is capable of. Khabib on top is a nightmare and his bottom game is great too. Can Justin spend time in his guard and do a little damage? I don't know the answer to that. Can Justin stand back up if he is on top? He should be able to. If he stays down though Khabib does have submissions and setups though so be careful. 

12 days ago
7/30/03
Posts: 9312

I still have Khabib as a solid favorite in this fight. 

 

It is fun to think how I would plan if I were in Justin's shoes though. I think the plan I have given gives him his best chance though.