Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is a battle of styles that the game of MMA was made for. Perhaps the best striker at the game vs the best grappler in the game is a dream struggle for UFC fans and Nurmagomedov, the existing UFC lightweight winner, is favored to succeed at -170 with McGregor coming back at +140. The mega-fight will occur tonight in Las Vegas in UFC 229.
From a promotional standpoint, making that the battle is a dream come true for the UFC since it will undoubtedly be among the most profitable events in their own history, and by a betting standpoint, there’s plenty of money to be produced too. McGregor fans will probably be foaming at the mouth to put a bet about the Irishman, particularly at plus-money, however is that a wise bet vs the 26-0 Nurmagomedov, whose smothering grappling design has been completely unsolvable?
McGregor’s grappling skills are probably in the typical range and that is an area where he’s been cared for before. A considerably smaller Chad Mendes readily took McGregor into the mat whenever he wanted to at UFC 189 (yes, I know McGregor won the fight), and he had been choked out by Nate Diaz at UFC 196.
He can have a significant disadvantage when it comes to wrestling, however, there are other areas where McGregor would have a definite upper hand, most notably with his hands. Eighteen of his 21 professional wins have come via T/KO and he has an extremely impressive hit list which includes endings of Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier and, of course, Paulie Malignaggi (insert smiley face emoji here).
Line Movement (or lack thereof)
In the event the quantity of betting action McGregor obtained vs Floyd Mayweather is some indicator, some bettors certainly don’t care how he matches stylistically — after launching at +950 vs Mayweather, McGregor closed at +265 because of an avalanche of bets placed on him.
Many, such as myself, assumed we would have seen far more movement on the line due to plenty of public money coming in around McGregor, but this has not been the case however. On the afternoon Khabib vs McGregor has been announced, Nurmagomedov opened -200 with McGregor at +160. With the champ currently at -170 and Conor at +140 on the day of the struggle, there is still pretty excellent value on McGregor as a puppy and those that are convinced in Khabib should feel great about getting him in a much better number than his starting chances.
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