UFC 205 betting lines: Alvarez an underdog vs. McGregor in New York

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The UFC 205 main card for Saturday night at Madison Square Garden includes three title fights, including a lightweight showdown where Conor McGregor will be spotting some size to the grinding grappler Eddie Alvarez.

McGregor is listed at -175 to win with Alvarez at +145, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, in what is the first champion vs. champion fight in the UFC since 2009. McGregor is more lethal in the stand-up game, but it’s well-documented that his wrestling is just adequate. Alvarez is good at getting a match to the ground.

As the featherweight champion who’s moved up a weight class, McGregor might not have the experience with having to get out of clinches with a heavier opponent who excels at the ground-and-pound game.

Ahead of their welterweight title bought, Stephen Thompson has moved to a -205 favorite (after opening at -170) and Tyron Woodley is now pegged at +165. That stems from the fact Thompson, the five-time world kickboxing champion, has never been finished off early in his MMA career.

Unlike most strikers, he also avoids leaving himself vulnerable to punches. Woodley has lost three of his four bouts that have gone past the third round.

Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is listed at -400 in her title defense against Polish compatriot Karolina Kowalkiewicz (+300). The two have similar styles, but Jedrzejczyk strikes more frequently and with more confidence. It will be tough for Kowalkiewicz to beat someone who is essentially her double, but with more firepower.

Also on the main card, Donald Cerrone is listed at -165 to defeat Kelvin Gastelum (+135) as he looks for his fourth consecutive early stoppage win since moving up to the welterweight division. Gastelum has split his four fights since the start of 2015. Cerrone also has more potential to end a match early, making him a safe form pick.

Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman is listed at -185 against Yoel Romero (+150) in his comeback fight in his hometown. Weidman is the more durable fighter, but Romero bides his time and picks his spots to attack, which creates potential for him to finish a foe quickly. The price on Romero is also tantalizing.

And Miesha Tate is a -170 favorite on the UFC betting lines against Raquel Pennington (+140) in what profiles as a redemption fight for the former bantamweight champion. Given that Tate once coached Pennington on The Ultimate Fighter, she should have some anticipation for her opponent’s tactics. Tate also has the stamina if the bout goes the distance.

Conor McGregor arrested in South Florida

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MIAMI — Mixed martial artist and boxer Conor McGregor has been arrested in South Florida for stealing the cellphone of someone who was trying to take his photo, authorities said.

According to a Miami Beach police report, the 30-year-old McGregor was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with robbery and criminal mischief. An attorney for McGregor called the altercation “minor” and said the popular fighter would cooperate with authorities.

McGregor was leaving the Fontainebleau Miami Beach shortly after 5 a.m. Monday when a 22-year-old man attempted to take a picture of McGregor, the police report said. Police said McGregor slapped the phone out of the man’s hand and then stomped on it several times. McGregor then grabbed the phone and left the area, the report said. Police later found McGregor at his local address.

McGregor was being held on $12,500 bail.

“Last evening Conor McGregor was involved in a minor altercation involving a cellphone that resulted in a call to law enforcement,” Samuel J. Rabin Jr., a Miami-based attorney representing McGregor, said in a statement. “Mr. McGregor appreciates the response of law enforcement and pledges his full cooperation.”

McGregor, who’s from Ireland, is the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion and one of the biggest draws in MMA. He returned to UFC last fall after a hiatus during which he made his boxing debut, a loss to Floyd Mayweather. He was suspended from UFC for six months and fined $50,000 for a brawl after his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October.

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

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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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