It’s finally here. Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 229 this weekend at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
This bout is not just the most anticipated of the evening; it’s also one of the greatest matchups ever put together by the UFC. Nurmagomedov and McGregor will headline a relatively stacked main card that features several epic clashes between ranked UFC contenders.
We’re here to bring you all of the odds and our analysis.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
Nurmagomedov:-150, McGregor: +155
It’s been almost two years since we have seen Conor McGregor compete inside the UFC’s Octagon, and when he returns this weekend, he’ll be up against his toughest test to date. Standing across from him is the undefeated Russian lightweight, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has stormed past 26 opponents and never looked in trouble while doing so.
However, as much as this is a difficult task for “The Notorious,” it’s also a big ask for Nurmagomedov, who is yet to face a striker of McGregor’s caliber – partly because McGregor is arguably the best striker in the UFC.
Khabib’s pathway to victory in this matchup is no secret; he’ll look to secure takedown after takedown and maul McGregor on the mat with vicious ground and pound. Although his gameplan never changes, no one has been able to stop the onslaught of takedowns from Nurmagomedov to date. Nurmagomedov’s takedowns come as a result of overwhelming forward pressure that forces his opponent back to the cage. Edson Barboza’s terrifying kicks were no match for Nurmagomedov because the Russian continually pushed him backward and disallowed him from planting his feet.
It could be a different story against McGregor, however.
The Irishman is a master of pressure, as well. Although he doesn’t storm forward in the same way that Nurmagomedov does, McGregor controls the center of the Octagon due to his reach, reflexes, timing, and feints. If Nurmagomedov can’t move McGregor from the center, the Russian will have an increasingly challenging time getting McGregor to the mat.
Moreover, as long as this fight is standing, it’s in favor of Conor McGregor.
Prediction: Conor McGregor by KO/TKO – Round 2
Bet: Conor McGregor to win
Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis
Ferguson: -310, Pettis: +325
Tony Ferguson is back, and he wants to make a statement.
“El Cucuy” was stripped of his UFC Interim Lightweight Championship after an unfortunate injury caused him to withdraw from his main event title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in April this year. Now motivated to earn himself a shot at the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor, Ferguson is set on defeating Anthony Pettis at UFC 229.
Pettis’ last performance against Michael Chiesa was enough to make everyone assume he has returned to the form of his past. However, Pettis has always been a fantastic fighter, and his submission win over Chiesa shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Pettis is remarkably skilled on the mat and has picked up several major submission victories over elite grapplers in recent years alone. Moreover, on the feet, of course, Pettis’ outstanding arsenal of kicks and counter punches means that he is still as dangerous as ever.
When these two forces collide at UFC 229, it’s tough to see a scenario in which they both leave the cage unscathed.
Prediction: Anthony Pettis by KO/TKO – Round 2
Bet: Total Rounds – Under 2.5
Bet: Anthony Pettis to win
Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov
Lewis: +158, Volkov: – 172
Alexander Volkov was arguably already deserving of a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship, but he’ll now need to get through the heavy-hitting Derrick Lewis to get that opportunity.
Lewis will step into the cage after his fight with Francis Ngannou at UFC 226 that was memorable for all of the wrong reasons. A miserable total of 31 strikes were landed by both fighters through 15 minutes of “action” and led many to wonder what went wrong. Lewis came out on top almost only because Ngannou rarely attempted to engage. That victory moved Lewis to 8-1 in his last nine fights, and he now enjoys a two-fight winning streak after losing to Mark Hunt in 2017.
Although Alexander Volkov is one of the most skilled heavyweight fighters on the roster, he seems to get very little of the respect he deserves in this division. Volkov is currently on a six-fight winning streak, and four of those are in the UFC since joining in 2016. Most recently, Volkov secured a win over former champion Fabricio Werdum.
Volkov’s superb conditioning could see him outlast Lewis and take over in the second and third round. Expect Volkov to punish Lewis’ body with kicks to sap all of the energy and explosiveness from “The Black Beast.”
Prediction: Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision
Bet: Alexander Volkov to win
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes
Saint Preux: +201, Reyes: -222
Ovince Saint Preux is set to face the rising up-and-comer Dominick Reyes on the main card of UFC 229.
“OSP” is a proven veteran of the light heavyweight division and is enjoying a career rejuvenation now after winning four of his last five fights. Before this streak, Saint Preux suffered defeat against Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, Jimi Manuwa, and Volkan Oezdemir, all of whom are top-rated light heavyweight fighters. And recently, “OSP” has been scoring wins in all kinds of ways against unproven contenders and rising talent.
That’s precisely the category in which Dominick Reyes lies right now.
Unbeaten after nine fights and with three-first round victories to his name in the UFC, Reyes is storming up the ranks and is demanding attention from fans around the world. His exciting and fast-finishing style has been ultra-impressive, and he’ll be looking to put “OSP” away early in this one.
Prediction: Dominick Reyes by KO/TKO – Round 1
Bet: Dominick Reyes to win
Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig
Waterson: +110, Herrig: -118
Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig will open up the UFC 229 main card with an exciting women’s strawweight clash.
Waterson is now 3-2 in the UFC with her only losses to current champion Rose Namajunas and the super-tough Tecia Torres. Her win over VanZant is easily her most impressive, as she secured a takedown and submitted her with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Waterson narrowly avoided a three-fight losing streak by winning a closely contested battle with Cortney Casey most recently.
Felice Herrig is in a similar position to Michelle Waterson right now. With wins over Cortney Casey, Justine Kish, Alexa Grasso, and Kailin Curran, Herrig has shown she is a class above the middle-tier of the division. However, she was unable to launch herself higher into the rankings recently after losing to Karolina Kowalkiewicz by split decision.
This should be a competitive back-and-forth war, but we’re siding with Felice Herrig.
Prediction: Felice Herrig to win by unanimous decision
Bet: Felice Herrig to win
UFC 229 Fight Card
UFC 229 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, October 6.
Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)
- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
- Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes
- Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov
- Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig
FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)
- Sergio Pettis vs. Jussier Formiga
- Vicente Luque vs. Jalin Turner
- Aspen Ladd vs. Tonya Evinger
- Scott Holtzman vs. Alan Patrick
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 12:30 pm GMT)
- Lina Lansberg vs. Yana Kunitskaya
- Gray Maynard vs. Nik Lentz
- Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin