McGregor, Holm big favorites on UFC 196 odds at Sportsbooks

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(OddsShark.com) — 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 OddsShark.com

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.

UFC 214: Jones heavy favorite against Cormier in co-main event

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If one believes a long hiatus from the Octagon benefits a fighter’s mystique more than technique, then the price might be right on Daniel Cormier.

Ahead of the most fervently anticipated rematch in the company’s history, Jon Jones is a -260 favorite against the +200 underdog Cormier in the co-main event for UFC 214 on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The fight, which will top off a loaded main card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, has been in the offing since about 30 seconds after Jones won an unanimous decision against Cormier early in 2015, but Jones’ doping suspension has prevented it from happening.

The prices have moved in Jones’ favor since he opened at -150 with Cormier coming back at +120. Before the layoff, Jones was perhaps the best fighter to ever grace the UFC and it’s understandable why fans believe he’ll use his long reach to keep Cormier at bay and get him in the clinch.

Cormier backers, though, can take heart in the belief that his takedown defense could be sharper than it was against Jones 2 1/2 years ago. The bottom line is it’s rare to get a champion at such a high price.

In the co-main event, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (-205) is favored against challenger Demian Maia (+165). Maia, who is plus money for the first time since 2014 (a bout that he lost to Rory MacDonald in a unanimous decision), is singleminded about getting a match to the mat in order to work toward a submission.

If Woodley can keep his focus on his takedown defense and keep the fight on their feet, his edge in athleticism and youth might prove to be the determining factor.

The prices for the women’s featherweight title fight between Cristiane (Cris Cyborg) Justino (-1100) and challenger Tonya Evinger (+650) underscore the difficulty Cyborg has finding a foe.  Cyborg has ended her last seven fights early, five in the first round. It might be better to pore over the odds on how many rounds Evinger, a solid wrestler, can hang in for during a fight that she accepted on relatively short notice.

Robbie Lawler (-160) is a slight favorite against Donald Cerrone (+130) in a twice-rescheduled welterweight matchup. It’s hard to know what to expect from Lawler, who’s been set back by injuries since his last fight against Woodley exactly 52 weeks ago. Cerrone is often vulnerable against left-handers such as Lawler, but takes an edge in stamina into what shapes up as an all-out brawl.

The main card starts off with a light heavyweight title eliminator, where Jimi Manuwa (-190) is favored against Volkan Oezdemir (+150). Manuwa, who is on a three-fight win streak, is the more developed and technically proficient of the two strikers. That might give him the edge against Oezdemir. It could be a quick resolution either way – Manuwa has 10 first-round knockouts in 17 pro fights, while Oezdemir has a powerful left hand and ample motivation to get a knockout and score a fight-of-the-night bonus.

Mayweather and McGregor end press tour with a bang in London

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Sometime before Floyd Mayweather Jr. stole Conor McGregor’s microphone and before McGregor walked behind Mayweather and pretended to spank him, it might have been hard to understand why all this was happening.

The four press conferences in four days. The insults and posturing. The clothes. Nobody seems to be talking about the 40-year boxing legend with increasingly public financial problems getting paid to fight an MMA star in his first-ever boxing match.

And that’s the whole point.

No matter what goes down on August 26, when Mayweather and McGregor finally put on boxing gloves and start punching each other, Friday’s press conference in London will live on in sports history.

Here are some of the best moments:

McGregor calls Mayweather’s body guards “Juice Head Turkeys”

McGregor has called out pretty much every member of Mayweather’s entourage this week, including his body guards. Earlier on the press tour, Mayweather ordered his security team to surround McGregor and some minor shoving ensued.

Apparently, the incident left a mark. McGregor had some choice words for those body guards on Friday and called them “juice head turkeys” from inside the ring.

Feel free to Google that expression, unless you’re offended by Thanksgiving arts and crafts or holiday recipes.

McGregor rubs Mayweather’s head

If McGregor were fighting, say, Adrian Beltre, this wouldn’t have gone down so smoothly.

But in one of the more revealing moments of the press conference, Mayweather  tried visibly not to laugh as McGregor rubbed his head and cracked some bald jokes. His best line might have been pointing out Mayweather’s fondness for wearing hats in public and asking him “What the [expletive] were you hiding under that thing?”

Mayweather does a chokehold in front of McGregor

McGregor’s most recent loss came against Nate Diaz in 2016, as the Irish fighter tapped out when Diaz put him in a rear naked choke-hold. Mayweather didn’t plan on letting McGregor forget that on Friday. Imitating the MMA move in front of his opponent, Mayweather even had his DJ cue up a few bars of Rich Gang’s 2013 single “Tapout.”

He then asked the decidedly pro-McGregor crowd why they decided to put their faith in “this quitter,” before asking them to get Nate Diaz on the phone.

“If you quit once, you quite twice,” Mayweather said. “If you quit twice, you quit three times. But on the fourth time, I’m going to knock you the [expletive] out.”