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.

Mayweather stops Nasukawa in 1st round, flooring him 3 times

AP
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SAITAMA, Japan (AP) It took less than three minutes for Floyd Mayweather to knock down his Japanese kickboxer opponent Tenshin Nasukawa three times in a totally one-sided bout of exhibition boxing on New Year’s Eve.

Nasukawa’s father threw in the towel after 140 seconds of the first round on Monday as his 20-year-old son bravely teetered around the ring trying to get up.

It was a quick and definitive victory for the 41-year-old American. Mayweather was gracious in victory, hugging the weeping Nasukawa and calling him “still a great champion.” Nasukawa, however, barely landed a clean punch against the vastly more experienced Mayweather.

The rules for the three-round contest – organized by The Rizin Fighting Federation and held at Saitama Super Arena on the northern outskirts of Tokyo – were no kicking allowed and no official record of the match.

Mayweather said: “Tenshin is still undefeated. I’m still undefeated.”

Mayweather has won all 50 of his pro fights, while Nasukawa has an undefeated record in kickboxing and mixed martial arts.

“It’s all about having fun,” Mayweather told reporters after the fight, praising Nasukawa as a “young hungry lion.”

The Mayweather-Nasukawa bout culminated an evening of more than a dozen fights, streamed by FITE for a fee, but not in the U.S. Fuji TV was the broadcaster in Japan.

Mayweather, who hadn’t fought since beating UFC star Conor McGregor more than a year ago, said he was retired and came to Tokyo to give an opportunity to a younger fighter like Nasukawa.

“I told Tenshin to `hold your head up high,”‘ Mayweather said.

Nasukawa said after the bout that he was grateful for the experience and that he had learned a lot.

Fans – and possibly Nasukawa himself – appeared taken back that Mayweather showed little mercy in the exhibition.

“He is first class,” Nasukawa said.

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Melee at UFC 229 after Nurmagomedov chokes out McGregor

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LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor tapped out in the fourth round of his comeback fight at UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who then climbed over the cage and set off a brawl by scuffling with another fighter in McGregor’s corner on Saturday night.

The wild scene occurred after McGregor (21-4) got caught in a choke by Nurmagomedov (27-0), who defended his lightweight belt with an impressive victory over the Irish star who infamously attacked a bus carrying Nurmagomedov in Brooklyn last April.

The men in McGregor’s corner appeared to respond with taunts, and Nurmagomedov climbed over the fence and fought with Dillon Danis, a Bellator welterweight who trains with McGregor. Meanwhile, two men entered the cage and sucker-punched McGregor, who defended himself before security personnel separated everyone.

Nurmagomedov and McGregor both left the ring before the championship belt could be put around Nurmagomedov’s waist.

Before the post-fight madness, Nurmagomedov firmly asserted his grappling dominance over McGregor’s striking skill in the Irish superstar’s first MMA bout in 23 months. McGregor hadn’t been in a fight since losing his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last year, and Nurmagomedov proved an insurmountably tough opponent for his comeback.

Nurmagomedov and McGregor made no secret of their mutual loathing in the past few months, and the UFC used footage of McGregor’s attack on the bus to promote UFC 229, which could be the best-selling pay-per-view card in UFC history.

Four security guards separated the fighters while they didn’t touch gloves before the bout, and Nurmagomedov went for a takedown in the opening minute while dominating the opening round.

Nurmagomedov staggered McGregor with a right hand early in the second round, but McGregor got up and landed a flying knee. Nurmagomedov made another takedown and steadily improved his position throughout a dominant round, eventually standing and raining down blows on the prone McGregor.

Nurmagomedov decided to stand and strike with McGregor in the third round, apparently unafraid of McGregor’s famed power. McGregor landed several significant shots, but Nurmagomedov took them and eventually reasserted control against the cage.

McGregor did decent work in the fourth round before Nurmagomedov got control, climbed on McGregor’s back and finally submitted the former two-division champion.