McGregor, Holm big favorites on UFC 196 odds at Sportsbooks

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( — Holly Holm will be looking to improve her professional MMA record to a perfect 11-0 on Saturday when she defends her UFC Women’s Bantamweight crown for the first time at UFC 196, taking on Miesha Tate as a heavy -340 betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by

The 34-year-old Holm ascended to the Women’s Bantamweight championship with a stunning second-round victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, ending the previously undefeated Rousey’s night with a flurry of head kicks and punches and paying out as a +900 underdog.

Holm brings a wealth of combat sports experience into Saturday night’s matchup at UFC 196 in Las Vegas, previously winning world title belts in both kickboxing and women’s boxing before launching her professional MMA career in 2011.

“The Preacher’s Daughter” made her UFC debut at UFC 184, picking up a split decision victory over Racquel Pennington as massive -900 chalk, following up with a unanimous decision victory over Marion Reneau as a much narrower -210 favorite at UFC Fight Night 71.

Currently pegged as the No. 2 contender among Women’s Bantamweights in the OddsShark MMA Fighter rankings, “Cupcake” Tate is a +260 underdog in her second bid for the title, having previously lost by submission to Rousey as a +650 underdog at UFC 168.

Tate has won four straight fights since, all by decision, most recently getting past Jessica Eye as a solid -200 favorite to improve her pro MMA record to 17-5.

Saturday night’s co-main event has sparked considerable interest as UFC Featherweight champion Conor ( takes on Lightweight Nate Diaz in a Welterweight division contest as a strong -380 favorite at the sportsbooks.

McGregor had originally been scheduled to battle Rafael dos Anjos in a bid for the UFC Lightweight crown before dos Anjos was forced to withdraw due to a foot injury, replaced by Diaz, who sports +290 odds in Saturday night’s unusual matchup.

“The Notorious” McGregor made UFC history in his last outing, ending Jose Aldo’s night, and lengthy reign as UFC Featherweight champ, with a knockout just 13 seconds into their bout at UFC 194, rewarding bettors as -170 chalk, and improving his record to 19-2 with a 15th straight victory, and fifth straight inside the distance.

Diaz returns to the Welterweight division as a +290 underdog after contesting seven of his past eight fights as a Lightweight, most recently stunning Michael Johnson with a unanimous decision win as a +375 underdog at UFC on Fox 17, marking just his second victory in his last five fights.

Floyd Mayweather to start MMA training ‘soon’

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Floyd Mayweather beat Conor McGregor in the boxing ring back in August. Now, Mayweather is eyeing a turn in the octagon.

The 41-year-old Mayweather, who retired from boxing following his win over McGregor, confirmed to TMZ Sports that he would “soon” begin training with UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.

Mayweather thinks it will take him less than a year to acclimate to MMA.

“Even if it takes six-to-eight months, whatever it takes, we want to make sure that everything is done correctly, is done the right way,” Mayweather said.

Mayweather doesn’t believe his skill-set will require extensive improvement. He graded his wrestling skills as “probably a seven” out of 10, but he could “take it up to a nine if possible.” His real weakness is kicking, which Mayweather graded as just a four. But his hand game? “On a scale of 1-10, it’s 100.”

Mayweather was hesitant to say who he would face in his MMA debut, though he was asked directly about a rematch with McGregor.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “We can’t say. That’s why I pause, you know?  I can’t really say, you know? I have to talk to my team, speak with my father and then see how it’s gonna play out.”

Like his boxing match with McGregor, Mayweather and his team want “the right numbers and we would make it happen.”

Tony Ferguson betting favorite against Kevin Lee in UFC 216 main event

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A nine-fight win streak and fight fans’ preference to see strikers win out over grinders might be why Tony Ferguson is such a big favorite against Kevin Lee at UFC 216.

Ferguson is the -225 betting favorite with Lee coming back at +175 as they meet for the interim lightweight title at UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by

As noted, Ferguson has won his last nine bouts, ending six early for a nice 66.7 percent rate. For his part, Lee has won five consecutive bouts, ending four early.

Ferguson prefers to work at distance with jabs and kicks, gradually chipping away at his opponent. The 33-year-old is a more well-rounded fighter than the 25-year-old Lee, so laying chalk is justifiable since this bout could go either way.

There is a good case to take Lee and the plus money, though. Lee is far beyond the typical lightweight in how often he attempts takedowns and how often he winds up gaining control. Succeeding in that strategy would leave Ferguson unable to use his best assets.

Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (-1200) is a massive favorite against Ray Borg (+700). Johnson is simply too complete a fighter to lose against a boxer-wrestler type such as Borg, but Borg has a great ability to get off of his back and will make Johnson work for the win. Eleven of the last 14 UFC fights (78.6 percent) in which one fighter was a favorite of -1200 or more ended with a stoppage, and based on form Johnson should extend the trend.

The potential upset on the main card involves the heavyweight tilt between former champion Fabricio Werdum (-260) and Derrick Lewis (+200). Werdum’s weakness is his striking defense and Lewis has secured 16 of his 18 career MMA wins via knockout, which seems like a lethal combination in Lewis’ favour. Werdum’s chances of winning likely rest on him wearing Lewis down or getting a takedown that sets up a submission.

As well, Beneil Dariush (-240) is favored against Evan Dunham (+190) on the UFC 216 odds in a lightweight bout that is likely to be heavy on grappling, increasing the possibility of it going the distance. Four of Dariush’s last eight fights were decided by a decision, while Dunham’s four-fight win streak consists entirely of victories by decision.

As long as Dariush stays aggressive in the stand-up game – and he likely won’t have to worry about walking into a devastating punch against a grinder like Dunham – he should be able to get the win.

And Kalindra Faria (-200) is favored against UFC newcomer Mara Romero Borella (+160), a replacement opponent who took the fight after  Andrea Lee was pulled out for not having an up-to-date anti-doping clearance.

Faria is the more seasoned fighter and her ability to throw combinations has helped her score knockouts in more than half of her 18 career professional wins. Romero Borella is undefeated in her last six fights, but prior to that was finished by strikes in three consecutive fights, so there’s potential for an early ending.