Now that we have the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight, we also now have a betting favorite.
No. 1-ranked UFC lightweight Nurmagomedov has opened as favorite over No. 2-ranked contender Ferguson. The UFC’s top two lightweights are scheduled to square off for the interim UFC lightweight title in the co-headliner of UFC 209 on March 4, 2017. The UFC confirmed the bout on Twitter on Thursday:
— #UFCPhoenix (@ufc) January 13, 2017
The announcement of the bout came after a lot of drama involving the two. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson admitted that on the path to lightweight glory the two would have to pass each other but when the negotiations started, sealing the deal was more difficult to do. Ferguson contended his fighter pay while Nurmagomedov even offered a piece of his purse to El Cucuy to make the fight happen. After all was said and done, we finally have a fight.
On Friday, Oddshark.com reported opening lines for the highly anticipated lightweight bout:
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) January 13, 2017
Now how do those odds sound for you?
Nurmagomedov is unbeaten at 24-0 and has racked up an 8-0 record (with four finishes) in the UFC. The Dagestani Sambo master is coming off an impressive three-round manhandling of Michael Johnson at UFC 205. On the other hand, Ferguson is 22-3 overall and 12-1 in the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner has won nine bouts in a row, six by stoppage. His only defeat in the UFC was a unanimous decision loss to Michael Johnson (the same Michael Johnson Nurmagomedov submitted last November) at UFC on Fox 3 in 2012. Johnson though isn’t the only common opponent of The Eagle and El Cucuy.
Both fighters beat former UFC Lightweight king Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision. Nurmagomedov did it in 2014 and Ferguson just last November. Both men have also fought Abe Trujillo and Gleison Tibau. Nurmagomedov beat both by decision while Ferguson submitted them by rear naked choke.
Both have been scheduled to fight each other twice in the previous year or s, but injuries to both fighters (one after the other) led to the cancellation of those fights. Now healthy and with the current champion Conor McGregor in hiatus, the time was right for this fight to happen and the UFC has made sure it didn’t get away this time around.