Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 223 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 4/7/18
Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson
UFC: Saturday, April 7, 2018 (Barclays Center)
The Line: Ferguson +205 / Nurmagomedov -245 -- Over/Under: 3.5 See the Latest Odds
Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov fight Saturday during UFC 223 at the Barclays Center.
Tony Ferguson enters this fight with a 25-3 record and has won 44 percent of his fights by knockout. Ferguson has won his last 10 fights and is coming off an October win over Kevin Lee. Ferguson is averaging 5.09 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 42.9 percent. Ferguson is averaging 0.64 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 42.8 percent. Ferguson hasn’t lost since his 2012 fight with Michael Johnson and is fresh off the biggest winning of his career, winning the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship. Despite being taken down multiple times and eating several strikes, Ferguson managed to force a third round submission. Ferguson is an exciting, balanced fighter who is a volume striker with knockout potential in his hands and is very comfortable on the canvas with nine submission victories despite his low takedown numbers on the UFC level. Five of Ferguson’s last six fights have earned performance of the night or fight of the night honors. Ferguson has a background in wrestling and boxing, so he’s confident wherever the fight goes. Ferguson is also one of the better well conditioned fighters and has finished seven of his last 10 fights. This will be Ferguson’s first career fight in New York.
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Khabib Nurmagomedov enters this fight with a 25-0 record and has won 36 percent of his fights by decision. This will be Nurmagomedov’s fourth fight since 2016, and he’s coming off a December win over Edson Barboza. Nurmagomedov is averaging 4.11 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50.3 percent. Nurmagomedov is averaging 5.85 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45.7 percent. Nurmagomedov is now 9-0 under the UFC banner and is coming off a contest that earned him performance of the night honors. Nurmagomedov won by decision, but it was a complete performance in which he landed 154 strikes and produced four takedowns. Nurmagomedov has just one fight under his belt in about a year and a half, but his most recent performance is a clear sign that he’s still the dangerous, balanced fighter he’s always been. Nurmagomedov is an accurate striker with great takedown ability and he’s arguably the best grappler in the sport currently. Nurmagomedov is always a threat to force a submission, he’s well conditioned to be effective for all rounds, and he lands accurate strikes to hold his own standing up. This will be Nurmagomedov’s second career fight in New York.
This is going to be a hell of a fight between two proven veterans who simply don’t lose. Nurmagomedov has yet to lose in his career and has proven himself on the UFC stage, while Ferguson hasn’t lost since 2012 and has been finishing guys with ease. Usually I’m that guy who likes to pick fighters who haven’t given us a reason to bet against them, and Nurmagomedov is one of those guys currently. However, this line is quite insane if we’re being honest. Ferguson has the ground game to hang with Nurmagomedov and his aggressive takedown ability, and he’s a slippery fighter who usually gains position when on the canvas. Not to mention he just found a way to beat one of the hotter fighters on the planet despite probably losing on the cards. Ferguson will also have the advantage standing up and has pure knockout power with a higher chance to end this thing at any moment. Sure, Nurmagomedov has been on a roll and nobody has been able to handle his wresting up to this point, but we’re getting two times our money with a guy who has improved drastically since the Michael Johnson loss.
I have to back Ferguson based on the value.