What the Khabib-McGregor Post-Fight Brawl Means for Bettors
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days -- and even then you still may have heard -- things got a little crazy over the weekend at UFC 229.
After submitting Conor McGregor in the biggest fight in UFC history, Khabib Nurmagomedov flew off the handle and into the crowd, attacking McGregor’s teammate, Dillon Danis, and sparking a melee.
That brawl led to three men being escorted out of the T-Mobile Arena in handcuffs (McGregor did not want to pursue charges, though), and Nurmagomedov staring down the barrel of a long suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
But what does all this mean for the avid MMA betting fans? Well, a lot.
What Will Be Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Punishment
At the moment, the NSAC is withholding Nurmagomedov’s $2M fight purse while it conducts an investigation into the brawl, and the end result of that will likely include at least some length of suspension for Nurmagomedov.
And with a high profile incident like this, top sportsbooks, such as 888Sport, will likely roll out a few prop bets for fans to place wagers on, including if Nurmagomedov will be suspended, how long he will be out of action for and if the UFC will strip him of his title.
Given the profile of the event and the egregiousness of Nurmagomedov’s infraction, the NSAC will be incentivized to make an example out of “The Eagle,” meaning there is a fairly decent chance Nurmagomedov is out for an extended period and the UFC will strip him, so if you can get a good price on that, you should hammer it.
Who Will Conor McGregor Fight Next?
Similarly, as is always the case with McGregor, a host of bets are sure to arise surrounding when he will return and who he will fight next.
The favorite for that would have to be a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, regardless of the outcome of Diaz’s fight with Dustin Poirier next month. A rematch with Nurmagomedov may be the best bet.
There’s no such thing as bad publicity, and this event brought a massive amount of it. Plus, McGregor has been known to get an immediate rematch coming off a loss, and “Notorious” has already hinted at wanting just that.
At the end of the day, even though the fight wasn’t very competitive, a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor is the biggest fight the UFC can make. And in this day and age, that means it is probably going to happen. It just might have to wait until after Khabib comes off his suspension.
5 Things We Learned From UFC 229
Khabib Is Who We Thought He Was
Somewhat lost in the chaos that came after the fight is how thoroughly Nurmagomedov outclassed McGregor. Conor was a game opponent but ultimately offered up very little resistance, even losing some of the striking exchanges with Nurmagomedov.
Whenever Khabib does fight again, he will be entrenched as a heavy favorite after this showing, and with good reason. He’s the best lightweight in the world and has been for several years.
McGregor May Be Undervalued Now
On the other side of that coin, McGregor’s next fight will probably see him undervalued as people will remember how badly Nurmagomedov dominated him.
That will be a bettor’s dream as Conor is still an elite lightweight he just happened to face the worst fight in the division for him. That being said, it bears mentioning that McGregor has now been seriously hurt in four of his last five fights.
His time at the top, while not over, could be rapidly approaching.
Could Tony Ferguson Take Down Khabib?
Is Tony Ferguson, who outlasted Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 229, the man to finally hand Nurmagomedov a loss? Barring a McGregor rematch, Ferguson is the likely next opponent for Khabib but what we saw on Saturday doesn’t bode well for “El Cucuy” in a fight with the champion.
Ferguson showed off his trademark toughness, pace and creativity to wear down Pettis but he was also dropped and nearly finished by the former champion, who got stalled out in grappling exchanges with Ferguson and was unable to capitalize.
Pettis is no slouch on the floor but Nurmagomedov is an entirely different animal in that world. The man who will beat Khabib isn’t someone who can defend his takedowns, it’s someone who can outgrapple him, and Ferguson likely won’t be able to do either. When the odds come out, bet Khabib early because that number will only rise.
Derrick Lewis Truly Tough
Derrick Lewis improbably put himself on the cusp of a title shot with an incredible comeback KO of Alexander Volkov. Volkov should have absolutely won that fight but “The Black Beast” is tougher than a two-dollar steak and knows how to win ugly.
Those two skills are arguably the most important ones to have at heavyweight and so Lewis is officially a guy to never bet against.
Bet Against Jussier Formiga
Jussier Formiga probably earned himself a long overdue title shot against either Henry Cejudo or Demetrious Johnson. Whenever he gets it, hammer the other side as hard as possible. Formiga is a great and crafty fighter but he has absolutely nothing to offer either Cejudo or Mighty Mouse. Take the free money.
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