McGregor favored to defeat Diaz at UFC 202 despite earlier loss

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Since their rematch was rescheduled, Conor McGregor has shifted from being the slight underdog at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com to being the favorite against Nate Diaz, who handed him his first UFC loss in March.

Ahead of their welterweight bout at UFC 202, which takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, McGregor is listed at -130 to get the win while Diaz rates an even-money shot. Initially, Diaz was the -125 favorite.

McGregor has focused his training on building up his cardiovascular capacity, since a fight against Diaz always has a high likelihood of going the distance. McGregor clearly stands to lose more face with a loss, but bettors should also recall that Diaz was able to win their first showdown after taking the bout on only 10 days’ notice.

Diaz, with his Jiu-Jitsu background, has the capability of forcing the match to ground and grappling, which will force McGregor to divert energy he would prefer to use attacking.

In the co-main event, Anthony (Rumble) Johnson is listed at -200 on the UFC 202 betting lines to defeat Glover Teixeira, who is listed at +160, in a matchup of light heavyweight strikers. It’s a tough matchup for Teixeira, who tends to be willing to trade punches, which is highly unlikely to work against  someone with Johnson’s power.

Teixeira’s chances likely rest on making sure he can use his grappling ability. The winner will take a big jump in the light heavyweight rankings.

In a featured welterweight matchup, Donald Cerrone is listed at -250 against +195 underdog Rick Story. In his last fight, Cerrone, with his reach and Muay Thai background, did what some considered impossible when he became the first fighter to defeat Patrick Côté by TKO. Story is also very durable and has a chance to win ugly.

Also on the main card, welterweight contender Hyun Gyu Lim is listed at -285 against +225 underdog Mike Perry, who is making his debut in UFC. Both are knockout specialists, so Perry has the quintessential puncher’s chance at an upset.

Lim is a physical force, but has shown that he will lower his guard to attack, which makes this matchup a more dangerous one than it might initially appear to be.

The biggest favorite on the card is Tim Means, who is -450 to defeat +325 underdog Sabah Homasi. Means is motivated after a six-month fight to win reinstatement after a positive drug test, and Homasi is stepping in with only two weeks’ preparation.

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.