The Las Vegas sportsbooks have released their opening lines on the October 6showdown between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former two-division world champion Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas.
According to Westgate, McGregor opens as a +150 underdog to Nurmagomedov being nearly a 2 to 1 favorite at -180.
Opening odds per Westgate for McGregor’s return fight at UFC 229:
Khabib Nurmagomedov -180
Conor McGregor +150
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkesESPN) August 3, 2018
Online betting outlets also have Nurmagomedov as a sizable favorite. 5Dimes lists the Russian at -165 to McGregor’s +135 while Bovada has Nurmagomedov at -175 with the former champion sitting at +145.
Nurmagomedov (26-0) has never lost a fight in his mixed martial arts career that began in 2008. He made his UFC debut in 2012 and has won nine fights in a row since joining the mixed martial arts promotion. He won the vacant UFC lightweight championship back in April when he defeated Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. He was initially slated to face then-interim champion Tony Ferguson, but a knee injury just days before the fight removed him from the card and the title was declared vacant.
As for McGregor (21-3), he hasn’t competed in the Octagon since November of 2016, when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in the second round to claim the UFC lightweight title. McGregor – who was also featherweight champion – decided to take his talents to the boxing ring and squared off with Floyd Mayweather in a blockbuster showdown last August. He would lose the fight by 10thround TKO. His hiatus led to being stripped of both his featherweight and lightweight titles. He will look to reclaim the title he never lost in a fight when he faces Nurmagomedov on October 6 at T-Mobile Arena.
The probable reason for the current line is that Nurmagomedov has remained active while McGregor has been out of action. The Russian’s smothering wrestling has brought doom to all of his opponents and is the one area that McGregor has holes. The Irishman was taken down repeatedly by Chad Mendes when the two met for the UFC interim featherweight title back in 2015. McGregor was also submitted by Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March of 2016.
The great equalizer, however, has been McGregor’s striking ability. His vaunted left hand has knocked many opponents senseless, including a shocking 13-second knockout of former featherweight champion and top 2 pound for pound fighter Jose Aldo at UFC 194. Few have been able to withstand McGregor’s punching power – 18 of his 21 victories have come by knockout – and it will be an interesting contrast of styles when the two enter the Octagon for what is expected to be a record-breaking PPV.