UFC 205 marks an important milestone in the mixed martial arts event – it’s the first time it’s ever been held in New York. Madison Square Garden will host an array of fighters over the stretch of the tournament, but the match every fan is looking forward to is the Champion vs Champion match between current UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and current UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor.
In an exciting twist, the latter is challenging Alvarez for the heavier title on Sunday night. This is only the second time in the entire history of the UFC that champions in different classes have fought for the same belt. The first was back in 2009, when former Lightweight Champion BJ Penn fought against the then-Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre.
Many of the top online betting sites are being swayed by the charms of the Irish MMA champion, with Coral favouring McGregor at 8/13 and offering an Alvarez win at 5/4. Netbet shares a similar story, offering the same odds for Alvarez to win and putting a McGregor victory at 5/9. Of course, these numbers may be down to statistics alone.
Both men have an amazing record, though Alvarez pips McGregor in terms of fights won: 28 compared to the Irishman’s 20. Alvarez has drawn four matches to McGregor’s three and neither has ever been beaten. The American defending champion also has four years on McGregor; at 32, many may feel that McGregor’s youth may be a deciding factor in how they bet.
When comparing the significant strike statistics, on paper McGregor seems the more worthy winner, with an 85% KO/TKO rate, compared to Alvarez at 61%. McGregor is also considerably faster, landing 6.02 strikes per minutes – nearly double his opponent’s at 3.64. In fact, the only statistic Alvarez beats McGregor on is defence – defending 59% compared to his rival’s 56.2%.
One of the most evenly-matched fights is the Middleweight event between "The All-American" Chris Weidman and Cuban fighter Yoel Romero, who goes by the moniker "Soldier of God". They have similar wins, Weidman edging it with 13 over Romero’s 11, with each having one draw apiece. However, Romero’s KO rate is almost double that of his American rival, which is possibly why the bookies are favouring him. Coral has him at 11/8, while Weidman is sitting at 4/7.
There are three female bouts during UFC 205 that are definitely worth a punt. The first, taking place during the early prelims, is Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche vs. "Blonde Fighter" Katlyn Chookagian. While Chookagian is the lower ranked of the two Americans – 14th compared to Carmouche’s 9th – she has yet to draw or lose a game, having won all of her eight matches.
The second event is between another pair of Americans, Miesha Tate and Raquel Pennington, or Cupcake and Rocky as they are affectionately known. Tate is ranked number one in the Bantumweight class, and with 18 wins compared to Pennington’s eight, she’s a strong bet to win.
The main female ticket event will be between two Polish fighters, current Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and number two Karolina Kowalkiewicz. According to recent interviews, Jedrzejczyk is aiming to retire soon so she can start a family, so she will be hoping to retain the title and retire undefeated.
Tyron Woodley is defending his Welterweight belt against Stephen Thompson, who has been on a winning streak ever since he lost his unbeaten run to legendary fighter Matt Brown at UFC 145. Add to that his form against Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks and the spectators soon realised where he earned his nickname "Wonderboy". A bet of Thompson winning by KO has odds of 11/8.
Another well balanced match in the Welterweight division takes place between Kelvin Gastelum and Donald Cerrone. The bookies are favouring Cerrone, who has earned his nickname "Cowboy" thanks to his showmanship style and impressive record with 31 wins, 7 draws and no loses. Most were gained in the lower lightweight class, before he moved up to welterweight in 2016.
Given that he was the first fighter to ever TKO Rick Story, earning a Performance of the Night bonus in the process, Cerrone suddenly looks worth a punt. Coral have him at 4/7, or 10/3 by KO. If you think you know who’s going to emerge victorious from the rage cage, then you should visit Coral today; if you join now, the bookmaker is offering a £20 free bet!