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Conor McGregor a no-show, and off of UFC 200

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LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor’s seat was vacant, and so now is his spot headlining the big UFC 200 card this summer.

The Irish fighter was a no-show at a press conference Friday promoting the card, and UFC President Dana White said he would not meet Nate Diaz in a rematch on top of the July 9 card in Las Vegas.

“You have to show up to promote the fight,” White said. “It’s part of the job. It’s what we do here.”

Not to be outdone, McGregor tweeted that he respected the fact other fighters traveled to the press conference “but not everyone up there made the company ($)400 million the last 8 months.”

The dispute over promotional duties means UFC’s biggest card of the year will be without McGregor, the wildly popular fighter who lost to Diaz last month in a major upset. Diaz indicated he might not fight, either, though White said he was looking for an opponent for him.

“If it doesn’t happen I’m going on vacation,” Diaz said.

White left a seat on the dais vacant at a press conference at the MGM Grand, though McGregor made it clear earlier this week that he wouldn’t be attending. McGregor posted on Facebook that he couldn’t afford the time he would need to leave his training camp in Iceland for a series of promotional appearances for the card.

But White noted the fight was nearly three months away, and that UFC is spending $10 million to promote the card and needed McGregor to participate in the promotion.

“People (other fighters on the card) came from Poland and Brazil. Is that fair?” White asked. “It sets a bad precedent. These guys came in from all over the world and they’re here.”

McGregor had asked for a quick rematch with Diaz, after moving up in weight to lose to him in a fight he dominated early. The two signed contracts, but McGregor disrupted plans when he refused to travel to Las Vegas from Iceland to promote the bout.

White said he is not angry with McGregor and expects him to fight again, just not on the landmark UFC 200 card that will be held at the new T-Mobile arena on the Las Vegas Strip. He said McGregor could fight the winner of the bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, which is on the UFC 200 card.

Also on the card is Miesha Tate, who upset Holly Holm last month and will meet Brazil’s Amanda Nunes. White said it is also possible that light heavyweight Jon Jones could meet Daniel Cormier on the card if Jones wins his fight Saturday against Ovince Saint Preux.

McGregor is the biggest pay-per-view attraction the UFC has, but White said the card will have plenty of attractive fights. He said he understands fans want to see McGregor on UFC 200, but that he had to take a stand.

“It’s an unpopular decision, but it’s the right decision,” White said.

The press conference took place before the weigh-in for UFC 197, which features Jones vs. Saint Preux for the light heavyweight title and Demetrious Johnson against Henry Cejudo in a flyweight title bout.

Darren Till favored against Tyron Woodley on UFC 228 odds

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Simply put, Darren Till has exhibited more pathways to victory lately than Tyron Woodley, which is why it’s not a surprise to see a UFC champion listed as an underdog.

Till has shifted to being the -140 favorite on the UFC 228 odds with welterweight champion Woodley coming back at +110 in the co-main event for Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The card takes place at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Till is 17-0-1 in his career with 10 victories by knockout or TKO, and has shown he can win by counter-attacking with his kickboxing or by forcing the issue and using his reach, as he did during an October 2017 win against Donald Cerrone.

Woodley, whose last three bouts have all gone the full five rounds, has fallen back on a safe approach during his most recent posts, trying to control the pace and set up his powerful overhand right. Staying in his comfort zone against Till might prove easier said than done.

In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko (-1400) offers little value as an overwhelming UFC 228 betting favorite against women’s flyweight title-holder Nicco Montano (+750).

Shevchenko is thriving now that the creation of a flyweight division means she can pick on people her own size, instead  of spotting size to bantamweights. While underdogs have won 35 percent of fights in the UFC in 2018, Montano’s so-so takedown defense (50 per cent to Shevchenko’s 55%) recommends looking elsewhere for someone to take at plus money.

Coming into their women’s strawweight match, Jessica Andrade (-450) is on a run of four fights in a row going to a decision, while Karolina Kowalkiewicz (+325) has had eight of her last nine end up in the judges’ hands. Andrade is the higher-volume fighter and that might put her in good stead if this bout also goes the distance

Welterweights Abdul Razak Alhassan (-145) and Niko Price (+115) are each knockout artists, with the former having all nine of his wins via first-round knockouts or TKOs. Trusting in Alhassan’s power and strength is understandable, but Price is the somewhat more multi-dimensional fighter with his jiu-jitsu grappling background and that could help him pull the mild upset.

Rising featherweight contender Zabit Magomedsharipov (-1400) takes on Brandon Davis (+750), who is an injury substitution on the card. The Achilles heel for Davis is his wrestling defense and that could literally play into the hands of the aggressive Magomedsharipov, who has finished two of his three most recent victories by submissions in the second round.

Meantime, light heavyweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (-170) is an early favorite on the UFC 229 Khabib vs. McGregor odds against Conor McGregor (+140), with that card scheduled for October 6 at T-Mobile Arena.

On form, Nurmagomedov is the grappler with the edge in cardio over the striker McGregor, who hasn’t stepped inside the Octagon in nearly two years. However, with McGregor’s capabilities and his savvy at psychological warfare, he offers great value as an underdog.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Conor is back: UFC says McGregor will fight Oct. 6 in Vegas

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Conor McGregor will return to mixed martial arts on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas with a bout against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The UFC dramatically announced the matchup Friday to close a news conference promoting the slate of fight cards for the rest of 2018.

McGregor won the featherweight and lightweight championships during his meteoric MMA career, but he hasn’t fought in the UFC since taking the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez in November 2016.

McGregor hasn’t competed at all since losing his incredibly lucrative boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August 2017.

McGregor also has resolved his legal troubles after throwing a hand truck at a bus containing UFC fighters last April. Nurmagomedov was the intended target of his misbehavior after a previous spat between the fighters’ camps.