Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is a clash of styles that the game of MMA was created for. Perhaps the best striker in the match vs the best grappler in the game is a dream struggle for UFC fans and Nurmagomedov, the existing UFC lightweight champion, is preferred to succeed at -170 with McGregor coming back at +140. The mega-fight will occur tonight in vegas at UFC 229.
From a promotional standpoint, making that the fight is a dream come true for the UFC as it will undoubtedly be among the most lucrative events in their own history, and by a gaming perspective, there’s plenty of money to be made also. McGregor fans will be foaming at the mouth to put a bet on the Irishman, especially at plus-money, however is that a smart wager versus the 26-0 Nurmagomedov, whose smothering grappling design was completely unsolvable?
McGregor’s grappling skills are probably in the average range and that’s a place where he has been cared for before. A much smaller Chad Mendes easily took McGregor into the mat if he wanted to at UFC 189 (yes, I understand McGregor won the fight), and he had been choked out by Nate Diaz at UFC 196.
He can have a significant drawback when it comes to wrestling, however, there are different areas where McGregor would have a certain upper hand, most especially with his hands. Eighteen of his 21 professional wins have come through T/KO and he’s got a very impressive hit list which includes endings of Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier and, needless to say, Paulie Malignaggi (insert smiley face emoji here).
Line Movement (or lack thereof)
In the event the quantity of gambling action McGregor obtained vs Floyd Mayweather is any indication, some bettors clearly don’t care how he matches up stylistically — after launching at +950 vs Mayweather, McGregor closed at +265 because of an avalanche of bets placed on him.
Many, such as myself, presumed we would have seen much more movement on the line due to plenty of public money coming in around McGregor, but that hasn’t been the case however. On the day Khabib vs McGregor was declared, Nurmagomedov opened -200 with McGregor in +160. Together with the champ currently at -170 and Conor in +140 on the day of the struggle, there’s still pretty excellent value on McGregor as a dog and people who are convinced in Khabib should feel good about getting him at a much greater number than his starting odds.
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