Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is a battle of styles the game of MMA was created for. Perhaps the best striker in the game vs the best grappler in this sport is a fantasy fight for UFC fans and Nurmagomedov, the existing UFC lightweight winner, is preferred to succeed -170 with McGregor coming back in +140. The mega-fight will occur tonight in Las Vegas at UFC 229.
From a promotional standpoint, making the fight is a fantasy come true for the UFC since it will definitely be one of the most lucrative events in their history, and from a betting standpoint, there’s lots of money to be produced also. McGregor fans will probably be foaming at the mouth to put a wager on the Irishman, especially at plus-money, however is that a wise wager versus the 26-0 Nurmagomedov, whose smothering grappling design was completely unsolvable?
McGregor’s grappling skills are probably in the typical selection and that’s a place where he has been taken advantage of before. A much smaller Chad Mendes readily took McGregor into the mat if he wished to UFC 189 (yes, I know McGregor won the struggle ), and he was choked out by Nate Diaz in UFC 196.
He can have a substantial drawback when it comes to wrestling, but there are other areas where McGregor would have a certain upper hand, most notably with his palms. Eighteen of his 21 professional wins have come via T/KO and he’s got an extremely impressive hit list that includes finishes of Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier and, of course, Paulie Malignaggi (insert smiley face emoji here).
Line Movement (or lack thereof)
If the amount of betting action McGregor obtained vs Floyd Mayweather is any indication, some bettors certainly don’t care how he matches up stylistically — after launching at +950 vs Mayweather, McGregor closed at +265 because of an avalanche of stakes placed on him.
Many, including myself, assumed we would have seen far more movement on the line due to lots of public money coming in on McGregor, but that has not been the case however. On the afternoon Khabib vs McGregor was declared, Nurmagomedov opened -200 with McGregor at +160. With the champ now at -170 and Conor in +140 on the afternoon of the fight, there is still pretty excellent value on McGregor as a puppy and those who are confident in Khabib should feel good about getting him at a much better number than his starting chances.
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