Conor McGregor is back. Almost two years on from his TKO of Eddie Alvarez to claim the UFC Lightweight Championship, he returns to the Octagon to take on the undefeated belt holder, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In what is billed as one of the biggest UFC events ever, there is bound to be plenty of action, and our MMA expert is on hand to guide you through the best bets from UFC 229.
Lewis v Volkov
As well as the main event, this card has plenty of depth, and the heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov should be an absolute war.
Volkov enters the fight after a stunning knockout of Fabricio Werdum in March, whilst The Black Beast is maybe not the most mobile fighter, but if he hits you then you stay down.
Both boast excellent MMA records, and Volkov enters as an obvious favourite due to his excellent technical skills.
However, he is yet to face anybody who can hit quite like Lewis, and I think that could be a real test for him. Lewis to win by KO, TKO or DQ is 2/1 with Grosvenorsport.com, and I think that offers excellent value in what should be a great test for both men.
Ferguson v Pettis
In the night’s co-main event, Tony Ferguson fights Anthony Pettis in what can only be an elimination fight for the right to face the winner of McGregor/Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson can be slightly aggrieved to not be facing Khabib, but injuries have taken their toll on a few of his fights recently, and he hasn’t fought since UFC 216.
‘Showtime’ Pettis has had a tough couple of years fighting the top talent in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions, but a good win against Michael Chiesa has put him in good stead for Ferguson.
Ferguson is quite rightly the comfortable favourite, but it wouldn’t be outside the realms of possibility that Pettis catches Ferguson unawares at 13/5. However, I think a much more likely outcome is a Ferguson win by decision, which can be found at 6/4.
McGregor vs Khabib
The main event should be an absolute treat for UFC fans, with two contrasting styles matching up, and the two guys genuinely hate each other, which takes the intensity up another notch.
Much has been written about the dynamite in McGregor’s fists, but Khabib is no walkover. There is video footage of him wrestling a bear as a kid – make no mistake about it, Nurmagomedov is one bad man.
I think the fight will be over quickly, either through a McGregor KO or a Khabib submission, but it is sure to have plenty of fireworks.
Two years out from the Octagon will affect the Irishman’s already questionable engine, and Khabib’s wrestling style is incredibly sapping to defend against, so I think having Nurmagomedov as a comfortable favourite is fair.
I am, however, going to stick my neck out and say Nurmagomedov will win by submission in round two, which can be found at 10/1. And if anybody would like a prop bet, the fighters to touch gloves before the fight starts is 1/4 for ‘no’, which is not great odds, but a certainty.