Many people feel that the third fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor will be the closest of their trilogy. Yet Firas Zahabi seems to think that there is only one main way for the Irishman to get the win in this bout.
Zahabi is one of the best minds in the history of MMA. He has coached a wide array of successful fighters, but he is by far known best for his role in the career of Georges St-Pierre.
In a recent video to his YouTube channel, Firas directed his attention to breaking down the upcoming trilogy fight between McGregor and Poirier. While Poirier easily won the second fight, he seems to think this third fight will be a lot closer, with each man having three main paths to victory.
“I think (McGregor) needs to, number one, take the leg kicks off the table. I hope for him, he is training around the clock not to get leg kicked. Then after that, he has to keep the volume low. He doesn’t have to throw as many punches as Poirier. He has to keep the volume low,” Zahabi said.
“He has 25 minutes to get a killshot or he most likely loses a decision… If he gets into a trench war with Poirier, I think Poirier’s going to win. I gave the official odds, in my opinion this is a 50-50 fight.
“The three things I think Conor McGregor needs to do to win: one, take the leg kicks off the table. He’s fighting a southpaw, that’s going to be a tricky thing. He hasn’t fought many southpaws in his career, so you have that power leg kick that’s usually not there when two fighters are in an open stance,” Zahabi continued.
“Two, he’s gotta control the volume. He doesn’t have to try to keep up with Poirier in the pocket. If Poirier lands ten shots to five, I wouldn’t be worried for Conor. Conor’s going to win via killshot, knockout, or he’s going to lose via decision.”
Firas Zahabi Gives Keys To Victory For Dustin Poirier
As for Dustin Poirier, Firas Zahabi says that there are certainly some avenues to victory for him as well. In fact, he feels like Dustin is the one who has less to adjust, in order to be victorious.
For the coach, Dustin’s easiest paths to victory revolve around him mixing it up with McGregor like he did in the first fight. This, combined with his toughness and cardio will allow him to work through the fight and end up on top.
“What are the keys for Poirier to win? Well one, I love what he did in the second fight. He got a takedown early. Even if he doesn’t get it… who cares? Keep Conor clinching, keep Conor in the clinch war, knee him, elbow him, tie him up, pull on his neck, pull on his arms, make him work,” Zahabi said.
“Take away that natural explosivity. Take away his ability to land a killshot and knock you out. If you get close to a double leg, do it… Of course, if he can get on top of Conor and hold him down, that’s the safest place to have Conor McGregor. Conor’s so dangerous on his feet.
“The other thing, set up those leg kicks,” Zahabi added. “That’s an easy one, we all know that one. Conor McGregor didn’t react well to the leg kicks. And in my opinion, take the fight into the later rounds. That would be the big number three for Poirier.
“In my opinion, Poirier’s the best at trench wars. If you’re in round three, maybe round four, things get more fatiguing. Obviously fatigue accumulates and you’re less explosive. It’s hard to keep the distance. It becomes really difficult to keep the distance. Conor needs that distance.”
This is an interesting assessment from Firas Zahabi ahead of this highly anticipated trilogy fight. Time will tell how this bout goes, when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor face off for a third time at UFC 264.