Tony Ferguson betting favorite against Kevin Lee in UFC 216 main event

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A nine-fight win streak and fight fans’ preference to see strikers win out over grinders might be why Tony Ferguson is such a big favorite against Kevin Lee at UFC 216.

Ferguson is the -225 betting favorite with Lee coming back at +175 as they meet for the interim lightweight title at UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

As noted, Ferguson has won his last nine bouts, ending six early for a nice 66.7 percent rate. For his part, Lee has won five consecutive bouts, ending four early.

Ferguson prefers to work at distance with jabs and kicks, gradually chipping away at his opponent. The 33-year-old is a more well-rounded fighter than the 25-year-old Lee, so laying chalk is justifiable since this bout could go either way.

There is a good case to take Lee and the plus money, though. Lee is far beyond the typical lightweight in how often he attempts takedowns and how often he winds up gaining control. Succeeding in that strategy would leave Ferguson unable to use his best assets.

Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (-1200) is a massive favorite against Ray Borg (+700). Johnson is simply too complete a fighter to lose against a boxer-wrestler type such as Borg, but Borg has a great ability to get off of his back and will make Johnson work for the win. Eleven of the last 14 UFC fights (78.6 percent) in which one fighter was a favorite of -1200 or more ended with a stoppage, and based on form Johnson should extend the trend.

The potential upset on the main card involves the heavyweight tilt between former champion Fabricio Werdum (-260) and Derrick Lewis (+200). Werdum’s weakness is his striking defense and Lewis has secured 16 of his 18 career MMA wins via knockout, which seems like a lethal combination in Lewis’ favour. Werdum’s chances of winning likely rest on him wearing Lewis down or getting a takedown that sets up a submission.

As well, Beneil Dariush (-240) is favored against Evan Dunham (+190) on the UFC 216 odds in a lightweight bout that is likely to be heavy on grappling, increasing the possibility of it going the distance. Four of Dariush’s last eight fights were decided by a decision, while Dunham’s four-fight win streak consists entirely of victories by decision.

As long as Dariush stays aggressive in the stand-up game – and he likely won’t have to worry about walking into a devastating punch against a grinder like Dunham – he should be able to get the win.

And Kalindra Faria (-200) is favored against UFC newcomer Mara Romero Borella (+160), a replacement opponent who took the fight after  Andrea Lee was pulled out for not having an up-to-date anti-doping clearance.

Faria is the more seasoned fighter and her ability to throw combinations has helped her score knockouts in more than half of her 18 career professional wins. Romero Borella is undefeated in her last six fights, but prior to that was finished by strikes in three consecutive fights, so there’s potential for an early ending.

UFC 249 live stream, start time, schedule tonight: How to watch Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, PPV price, TV channel, more

UFC 249
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As live sporting events start to creep back onto the calendar, one will be eagerly awaited by MMA fans: UFC 249.

The event was supposed to be on April 18, but will be in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. No fans will be in attendance.

The main card — originally a showdown between perhaps the world’s best fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson — has changed from the initial plan. Travel restrictions prevent Nurmagomedov from fighting. So Justin Gaethje will be vying against Ferguson.

Also on the card are Henry Cejudo, who will defend his title against former champion Dominick Cruz. Additionally, some of the top Heavyweight fighters in the world, Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, will face off in the octagon.

How do I watch UFC 249?

It will be air live as a pay-per-view event on ESPN+.

How much is it?

Given you have to subscribe to ESPN+, there are a few options. You can sign up for a free trial, then purcahse the event for $64.99. (A membership is $4.99/month.) Or you can do a bundle for new subscribers. That would be $84.98 and includes UFC 249.

What time is UFC 249 tonight?

Early Prelims (Airing on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Vicente Luque vs Niko Price
  • Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa
  • Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey

Prelims (Airing on ESPN and ESPN+, starting at 8 p.m. ET)

Main Card (Airing on ESPN+, starting at 10 p.m. ET)

  • Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz
  • Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
  • Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar
  • Greg Hardy vs Yorgan De Castro

Check back here on Saturday night and Sunday morning for more on UFC 249.

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.