UFC 229: McGregor vs Nurmagomedov Betting Preview, Odds and Picks

by Rick Rockwell
on October 5, 2018
9

Minute Read

On Saturday, October 6th, the entire fight sports world will come together to watch UFC’s top draw Conor McGregor return to the octagon to take on the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title. McGregor is looking to reclaim the belt he was stripped of due to inactivity. The last fight Conor had was against Mayweather Jr. roughly 13 months ago. The last time he fought inside the octagon was almost two years ago.

Here are the top sites we recommend for betting on the McGregor vs Nurmagomedov fight:

The UFC 229 fight card originally had 13 scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Sean O’Malley was busted of a USADA violation earlier this week and removed from the event. His opponent Jose Quinonez was also removed from the card due to such short notice. Once this fight was canceled, the UFC bumped Holtzman vs Patrick up from the Fight Pass portion of the preliminary card to the FS1 televised portion of the event.

Not only will there be plenty of explosive action inside the octagon, but there will also be plenty of betting action on this event. For more about the UFC 229 betting odds and which fighters to wager on, check out the following fight predictions:

UFC 229 Fight Pass Preliminary Card

The following preliminary fights will air live on Fight Pass beginning at 6:30 PM ET:

Yana Kunitskaya (-210) vs Lina Lansberg (+180)

Roughly 7 months ago, Yana (10-4) made her UFC debut in a fight against the baddest woman on the planet – Cyborg Justino. And, just like the majority of women before her, Yana lost to arguably the sport’s greatest female fighter of all time. Now, Kunitskaya is taking on a lesser quality opponent than Cyborg, in an opportunity to get back on track with her UFC career.

Lansberg (8-3) has gone 2-2 inside the octagon and also lost to Justino in her UFC debut 2 years ago. Lina is coming off a UD win over Mazany in May and is looking to move her way back up the food chain. However, that ascension is probably going to have to wait another fight. Although Lina will put up a good fight and does have the skills to make this fight go the distance, there’s something about Yana’s demeanor heading into this fight that has me thinking she’s going to stop this fight early.

UFC Bet: Yana Kunitskaya (-210)

Nik Lentz (-250) vs Gray Maynard (+210)

There was a time when the name Gray Maynard meant something in the UFC. Unfortunately, that time has come and gone. Maynard (13-6-1) has gone 2-5 in his last 7 fights and is hoping that a return to lightweight is what he needs to rebuild his career. This is Maynard’s first fight since July 2017. Will he be rusty or will he look like a new man?

If Lentz (28-9-2) has anything to say about it, Maynard is going to look rusty. Despite giving up a couple of inches in reach, Lentz has had the better career as of late. He’s 3-2 in his last 5 fights and 7-4 in his last 11 fights. Both of these men need a solid win to gain some traction and hopefully return to the main card of a UFC event.

It’s hard to feel confident in either fighter, but Lentz appears to be sharper in the fight game than Maynard. With that said, I’m going with the oddsmakers here and taking Lentz to win via Unanimous Decision. 10 of his 28 wins have come via Decision. 13 of Maynard’s 20 pro fights have gone the distance including the last 4 straight.

UFC Bet: Nik Lentz (-250)

Ryan LaFlare (-133) vs Tony Martin (+113)

LaFlare (14-2) comes into this fight as the slight favorite and has tallied a 7-2 record since joining the UFC. His last fight in April saw him come away with a UD win over Garcia. It was a solid bounce back win after getting KO’d by Oliveira last year, which was a highlight reel knockout.

Tony Martin (13-4) isn’t known for his punching power so LaFlare should be safe in that department. Martin has 8 wins via submission and 5 via decision. He’s won 4 of his last 5 fights with the last 4 going the distance. The question is how effective will Martin be at 170 pounds especially against LaFlare who is accustomed to grinding it out in this weight class.

With that said, I have to give the advantage to LaFlare here. I believe Ryan will take control of this fight after the opening round and either finish Martin late or win via UD.

UFC Bet: Ryan LaFlare (-133)

UFC 229 FS1 Preliminary Card

The following preliminary fights will air live on FS1 beginning at 8 PM ET:

Scott Holtzman (+225) vs Alan Patrick (-265)

Patrick (15-1) comes into this fight as a big favorite. He’s riding a 3 fight win streak with all of them coming via Unanimous Decision. Since joining the UFC in 2013, Patrick is 6-1. Alan has a two inch height advantage and five inch reach advantage over Holtzman, which will come in play during this fight.

Holtzman (11-2) has won his last 2 fights, but is only 3-2 over the last 2 ½ years. His last 5 fights have all gone the distance where he’s come out on both sides of the decision. It’s been almost 10 months since Holtzman last fought, so there is a chance that he comes into this bout with a sharper fight game. However, unless Holtzman has improved his takedown defense and his ground game in general, Patrick is going to take Scott down numerous times and ride out a victory.

It may end up being a boring fight because Patrick is dominant when controlling his opponents on the mat, and that’s what he will do in this fight. Patrick is not a stand up striker, but does have excellent takedown and grappling skills. With 9 of Patrick’s 15 wins coming via Decision and 8 of Holtzman’s 13 fights going the distance, there’s no doubt that this bout will see the scorecards. Patrick easily wins via Unanimous Decision.

UFC Bet: Alan Patrick (-265)

Vicente Luque (-950) vs Jalin Turner (+650)

We are either going to have the biggest upset of the night or the knockout of the night. I’m going with the latter and so are the oddsmakers who have Luque listed as the biggest favorite on the entire card. Vicente (13-6-1) has gone 6-2 in his UFC career and is a solid young prospect with plenty of power in his hands. 3 of his last 4 wins have come via KO in the 1st round. And, I see that happening in this fight.

Turner (7-3) might have the height advantage here, but he’s in over his head against Luque. It’s almost as if the UFC is punishing Jalin for some reason. With only 1 fight under a UFC banner (DWTNC), Turner is going to need a miracle to win this fight.

Although I do believe in miracles, I don’t believe it’s going to happen here. Turner is going to eat fists until he’s knocked out by one. Luque will win this fight in the 1st round and possibly earn the KO of the night in the process.

UFC Bet: Vicente Luque (-950)

Aspen Ladd (-175) vs Tonya Evinger (+150)

Aspen Ladd (6-0) returns to the octagon after almost a year off. Ladd’s debut fight in Oct. 2017, saw her defeat Lina Lansberg via TKO in the 2nd Round. The 23 year old Ladd has shown a great deal of promise in her young career, going 5-0 in Invicta before making the jump to the UFC. In this fight, she’s going up against a more experienced fighters in Evinger (19-7).

Tonya hasn’t fought since July 2017, when she lost in her UFC debut to Cyborg Justino. However, Evinger did make it almost the full fight against Justino before succumbing to a TKO near the 2 minute mark of the final round. Evinger is 37 years old and returns to the 135 pound weight class where she hopes to see similar success as she saw during her run in Invicta.

Evinger does have a solid resume with many respectable wins over fighters like Kunitskaya. However, she’s going up against a younger, more athletic fighter in Ladd that might prove to be too much for her to handle. I believe Ladd is going to push the action and set a pace that will ultimately wear down the veteran Evinger. Either Tonya withstands the pressure and forces the fight to go the full 3 rounds or she eats enough strikes causing the ref to stop the fight in the latter rounds. Either way, Ladd will add an impressive win to her promising career.

UFC Bet: Aspen Ladd (-175)

Sergio Pettis (-156) vs Jussier Formiga (+136)

Pettis (17-3) has gone 5-1 in his last 6 fights, which includes an impressive win over the returning Joseph Benavidez back in June. That was a nice bounce back win after losing via UD to Henry Cejudo in December 2017. Formiga (21-5) also lost to Cejudo a few years ago, but has gone 3-1 since then. Jussier comes into this fight having won his last two contests.

Like the Patrick vs Holtzman fight, Formiga is highly proficient in taking his opponents down and keeping them down on the mat. This often means the fight can get boring to watch. But, it’s what will most likely happen in this contest.

Pettis has shown a vulnerability for getting taken down. However, he has been able to survive and turn the tide in most of these contests. With that said, 12 of his 20 pro fights have gone the distances and I expect this one to see the scorecards as well. However, unlike his last 5 wins coming via decision, I believe Sergio is going to come out on the losing side of this one.

Formiga is a formidable opponent and will control the fight from the ground. With the majority of this bout taking place on the ground, it’s easy to see why the judges will give Formiga the UD win. In 11 of 21 wins and 14 of 26 pro fights, Jussier has gone the distance. In his other 10 wins, Formiga has gotten a submission victory. I don’t think Pettis will be sloppy enough to tap out, but I do believe he’s prone to being controlled for the majority of 3 rounds.

Formiga wins via UD and takes another step up the flyweight ladder.

UFC Bet: Jussier Formiga (+136)

UFC 229 Main Card

The following Main Card fights will air on PPV beginning at 10 PM ET:

Michelle Waterson (-105) vs Felice Herrig (-115)

In the 3rd women’s fight of the night, Michelle Waterson (15-6) will take on Felice Herrig (14-7) in a battle of two Top 10 strawweights. Both fighters have plenty of professional experience and sport winning records inside the octagon. However, Herrig will have the size advantage in this contest.

I’m actually surprised that this fight is on the Main Card considering that neither fighter are even one victory away from fighting the top women in the weight class. In fact, the victor in this fight will most likely need to win two more fights before even being considered for a title shot. I would’ve preferred the Ladd vs Evinger fight on the Main Card instead of this one. At least we get a young prospect skyrocketing up the ladder rather than two fringe fighters at best.

With that said, I’m going with “The Karate Hottie” in this one. I believe that Waterson has a better all-around game than Herrig. Felice might be the bigger of the two, but she doesn’t have any other advantage in this matchup. In fact, this fight will most likely come down to one of two things: either someone lands a huge punch or Waterson gets more takedowns and takes the UD victory. I’m going with the latter in this one.

16 of Herrig’s 21 fights have gone the distance, which means she definitely has the skills and the endurance to last the full three rounds. However, 7 of those 16 decisions have resulted in a loss for her. I believe Waterson will outwork and outpoint Herrig in this contest, earning the UD victory.

UFC Bet: Michelle Waterson (-105)

Derrick Lewis (+149) vs Alexander Volkov (-169)

Volkov (30-6), the former Bellator heavyweight champ, is 4-0 in his UFC career and is considered by many to be within a win or two from earning a UFC heavyweight title shot. Depending on his performance against Derrick Lewis (20-5) on Saturday, Volkov’s title shot could come in his next fight. What’s exciting about this matchup, is that both fighters will be looking to take the other man out and not afraid to push the action.

Volkov has the height advantage and reach advantage, but he will give up at least 25 pounds to Lewis. With that said, as long as Volkov doesn’t end up on his back, he should be able to control this fight with his proficient striking range.

Lewis will love to exchange big shots with Volkov, preferably with his hands than kicks as I believe Volkov has the advantage in the kicking department. However, Volkov will throw some kicks that Lewis might be able to catch. And if he does, then Alexander is in trouble.

If Lewis gets Volkov down on the mat, he will use his weight advantage to keep control as he looks to ground and pound his way to victory. However, if Volkov can connect with some of his vicious kicks then we could see Lewis in trouble.

With a potential title shot on the line, the intensity and excitement for this fight increases. It’s going to be a hard hitting heavyweight battle. I would love to see them go the distance and give us action packed rounds the entire fight.

Ultimately, this fight comes down to Volkov’s endurance and technical prowess against Lewis’ raw power. With that said, I have to go with Volkov’s technical skills and striking power over Lewis’s raw explosiveness. Either way, this fight ends in a TKO/KO and provides UFC fans with plenty of action.

UFC Bet: Alexander Volkov (-169)

Ovince Saint Preux (+195) vs Dominick Reyes (-230)

Ovince Saint Preux (21-11) might be on the down side of his career at age 35, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a threat to win this fight. However, OSP hasn’t been a contender in the light heavyweight division for a while now. In the last 2 ½ years, OSP has gone 4-4 inside the octagon. This UFC veteran has won 4 of his last 5 fights, but they have been against lesser quality opponents.

Reyes (9-0) will be more of a challenge for OSP than the veteran has seen in a while. However, this will also be a step up in competition for the 28 year old who is 3-0 in the UFC. Reyes has finished 8 of his 9 fights in the 1st round and has 6 finishes via KO/TKO.

I expect Reyes to try and close the distance early, while looking to take OSP’s head off. However, Dominick will need to be cautious as OSP has been known to make an opponent tap out by pulling a submission hold out of thin air like a magician.

In my opinion, this is Reyes’ fight to lose. OSP is ripe for the picking and I believe Dominick is going to finish him off in the 1st round. Reyes is too good of a striker and too heavy of a hitter for OSP to withstand a barrage or two.

UFC Bet: Dominick Reyes (-230)

Tony Ferguson (-320) vs Anthony Pettis (+270)

In the semi-main event of the night, two Top 10 contenders in the lightweight division will go to war with aspirations of a title shot against the winner of McGregor and Nurmagomedov. Coming into this fight, Ferguson (23-3) is a big favorite and on 10 fight winning streak with some big wins along the way. If he wins, then he’s definitely in line for a title shot. However, if he loses then it could knock him down the ladder a few rungs.

For Pettis (21-7) a win over Ferguson might not put him in line for a title shot in his next fight, but it would signal that “Showtime” is back and in contention for the lightweight crown once again. At age 31, one would think that Pettis still has another run left in him. Unfortunately, over the last 3 ½ years, Pettis has gone 3-5, losing to all of the division’s top names. In this particular matchup, it’s hard to imagine Ferguson being sloppy enough for Pettis to capitalize and win the fight.

Tony has all of the tools to win this fight. I see him closing the distance and showing no concern for Pettis’ striking power. Ferguson will be relentless in his pressure and takedown attempts, which will ultimately put him in a position to either ground and pound his way to victory or make Pettis tap out. 43% of Ferguson’s wins have come via KO/TKO and 35% of his wins have come via submission. 4 of Tony’s last 6 wins have been the result of submission.

I believe Pettis will be susceptible to multiple takedowns and eventually leave himself open for a submission hold perhaps a brabo choke or a rear-naked choke. Either way, Khabib and Conor better get ready for Ferguson next because he’s coming for the title.

UFC Bet: Tony Ferguson (-320)

(c) Khabib Nurmagomedov (-175) vs Conor McGregor (+150)

Since the fight was announced, I’ve spent a great deal of time dissecting the potential outcomes and advantages of each fighter. Recently, I examined the betting possibilities of how this fight will end. I also took a look at how Nurmagomedov could win this fight and how McGregor could win this fight. With that said, I’m not going to rehash those arguments here.

Simply put, I’m picking Conor McGregor to win the fight. I believe McGregor’s speed, confidence and striking skills will be enough to win this fight. I’m not confident in Nurmagomedov surviving a barrage of strikes from McGregor. I also think that Khabib’s straight ahead style and takedown attempts could leave him prone to a fight changing punch. Ultimately, I see McGregor either ending the fight in the 1st round or being patient for a few rounds before he sees an opening and stops the fight with his left hand.

UFC Bet: Conor McGregor (+150)

UFC 229 Betting Value

The majority of these fights at UFC 229 don’t offer any real value. However, I do see at least two fights that provide betting value if you believe in the fighters. The first fight that has value is the Pettis vs Formiga bout. Jussier is too good of a grappler for Pettis to handle. He should have no problem taking down Pettis and outworking Sergio for control and points. With that said, Jussier Formiga is the underdog in the fight with a moneyline of +136. I believe Formiga should’ve been closer to Pettis in the moneylines and that the oddsmakers are presenting us with a nice option to bet on here.

The other fighter that offers betting value is Conor McGregor. “Notorious” has moved to a +150 underdog, which is a nice little payout for a fighter that can end the lightweight title fight in one punch. Nurmagomedov might be undefeated and a fantastic ground fighter, but his striking skills and chin will be put to the test. With that said, McGregor presents solid betting value as I believe he will win the fight.

UFC 229 Final Thoughts

With Conor McGregor on the card, a UFC event goes from exciting to must-see. And, that’s exactly what UFC 229 is – a must see event. I’m very excited to see McGregor back inside the octagon. I expect a very entertaining fight for however long it lasts.

I’m also intrigued with a few other fights on the card. In particular, I’m really looking forward to the heavyweight fight between Lewis and Volkov. It has the potential to be a war with bombs being dropped from fists and kicks. I’m also looking forward to Tony Ferguson’s strategy against Anthony Pettis. I think Ferguson is a powerful grinder and has the tools to hang with either McGregor or Nurmagomedov if he gets the chance to fight either one.

In the end, UFC 229 is going to be a memorable event for the company and most likely approach the 2.5 million PPV buys mark.

UFC 229 Betting Recap

  • Yana Kunitskaya (-210)
  • Nik Lentz (-250)
  • Ryan LaFlare (-133)
  • Alan Patrick (-265)
  • Vicente Luque (-950)
  • Aspen Ladd (-175)
  • Jussier Formiga (+136)
  • Michelle Waterson (-105)
  • Alexander Volkov (-169)
  • Dominick Reyes (-230)
  • Tony Ferguson (-320)
  • Conor McGregor (+150)
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