UFC 196

McGregor, Holm big favorites on UFC 196 odds at Sportsbooks

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(OddsShark.com) — Holly Holm will be looking to improve her professional MMA record to a perfect 11-0 on Saturday when she defends her UFC Women’s Bantamweight crown for the first time at UFC 196, taking on Miesha Tate as a heavy -340 betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com

The 34-year-old Holm ascended to the Women’s Bantamweight championship with a stunning second-round victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, ending the previously undefeated Rousey’s night with a flurry of head kicks and punches and paying out as a +900 underdog.

Holm brings a wealth of combat sports experience into Saturday night’s matchup at UFC 196 in Las Vegas, previously winning world title belts in both kickboxing and women’s boxing before launching her professional MMA career in 2011.

“The Preacher’s Daughter” made her UFC debut at UFC 184, picking up a split decision victory over Racquel Pennington as massive -900 chalk, following up with a unanimous decision victory over Marion Reneau as a much narrower -210 favorite at UFC Fight Night 71.

Currently pegged as the No. 2 contender among Women’s Bantamweights in the OddsShark MMA Fighter rankings, “Cupcake” Tate is a +260 underdog in her second bid for the title, having previously lost by submission to Rousey as a +650 underdog at UFC 168.

Tate has won four straight fights since, all by decision, most recently getting past Jessica Eye as a solid -200 favorite to improve her pro MMA record to 17-5.

Saturday night’s co-main event has sparked considerable interest as UFC Featherweight champion Conor ( takes on Lightweight Nate Diaz in a Welterweight division contest as a strong -380 favorite at the sportsbooks.

McGregor had originally been scheduled to battle Rafael dos Anjos in a bid for the UFC Lightweight crown before dos Anjos was forced to withdraw due to a foot injury, replaced by Diaz, who sports +290 odds in Saturday night’s unusual matchup.

“The Notorious” McGregor made UFC history in his last outing, ending Jose Aldo’s night, and lengthy reign as UFC Featherweight champ, with a knockout just 13 seconds into their bout at UFC 194, rewarding bettors as -170 chalk, and improving his record to 19-2 with a 15th straight victory, and fifth straight inside the distance.

Diaz returns to the Welterweight division as a +290 underdog after contesting seven of his past eight fights as a Lightweight, most recently stunning Michael Johnson with a unanimous decision win as a +375 underdog at UFC on Fox 17, marking just his second victory in his last five fights.

Nate Diaz is already calling out Conor McGregor on Twitter

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UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor was scheduled to challenge lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos for his title at UFC 196 on March 5th, but dos Anjos was forced to pull out of the fight after breaking his foot during a training session.

The injury presented UFC president Dana White with a conundrum. Who would be up for the challenge of facing one of the hottest fighters in the industry on short notice?

After a day long search, White announced that Nate Diaz will replace dos Anjos and the fight will be bumped up to welterweight (170 lbs) because Diaz will not have the proper amount of time to complete a weight cut.

It didn’t take very long for Diaz to begin talking trash on Twitter.

Back in December, McGregor called out essentially everyone in the UFC with this tweet:

Diaz clearly didn’t forget about this:

For Diaz this is an opportunity to not only jump to the front of the line for a rematch with dos Anjos – Diaz lost to RDA in December of 2014 – but a chance to become the first man to defeat McGregor in the UFC.

One thing is for certain, the trash talk over the next 10 days is going to be insane. Buckle up.

Twitter: @ScottDargis