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.”

 

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.