Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is a clash of styles the game of MMA was made for. Maybe the best striker at the game vs the best grappler in this sport is a dream struggle for UFC fans and Nurmagomedov, the current UFC lightweight winner, is preferred to win -170 with McGregor coming back at +140. The mega-fight will occur tonight in vegas at UFC 229.
From a promotional standpoint, making the fight is a dream come true for the UFC as it will undoubtedly be among the most profitable events in their history, and from a betting standpoint, there’s lots of money to be produced also. McGregor fans will probably be foaming at the mouth to place a wager about the Irishman, especially at plus-money, however is that a smart bet vs the 26-0 Nurmagomedov, whose smothering grappling design was completely unsolvable?
McGregor’s grappling skills are most likely in the typical range and that is a place where he’s been taken advantage of before. A considerably smaller Chad Mendes readily took McGregor into the mat whenever he wished to UFC 189 (yes, I know McGregor won the struggle ), and he had been choked out by Nate Diaz in UFC 196.
He can have a significant disadvantage when it comes to wrestling, but there are other areas where McGregor would have a certain upper hand, most notably with his hands. Eighteen of his 21 professional wins have come via T/KO and he has a very impressive hit list that includes finishes 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 amount of betting action McGregor received vs Floyd Mayweather is any indicator, some bettors certainly do not care how he matches up stylistically — after opening at +950 vs Mayweather, McGregor closed at +265 due to an avalanche of bets placed on him.
Many, such as myself, assumed we would have seen much more motion online 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 at -200 with McGregor in +160. Together with the champ now at -170 and Conor at +140 on the day of the fight, there’s still pretty good value on McGregor as a dog and those that are confident in Khabib should feel great about getting him in a much greater number than his starting chances.