Early UFC 209 Betting Picks

UFC 209 is still over a month away, but it’s the UFC card I’m really looking forward to in the first quarter of the year.  We are treated to a Tyron Woodley vs Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson rematch for the welterweight belt and a fight that’s been a long time coming between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.  These are the two fights that have odds available at this time and they will be the focus of this article.

I will be using odds from Bet365.com, our top rated sportsbook.

Woodley vs Wonderboy

  • Tyron Woodley 2.10
  • Wonderboy Thompson 1.72

The champ is once again the underdog to defend his belt against Stephen Thompson.  This is somewhat of a surprise considering many people felt Woodley won the last fight and almost finished Wonderboy on a couple of occasions in the fourth round.

That said, I saw that fight quite differently than most.  I thought Wonderboy actually won the fight 3-2 on rounds and I did not give a 10-8 in the fourth because Wonderboy was able to escape and actually end up on top throwing punches to finish the round.

I also think that Woodley gave Thompson his best shots and still couldn’t finish the fight, which is a huge problem for Tyron in a rematch.

Wonderboy did not bring his best stuff in that original fight.  It may have been the fact it was his first title fight or perhaps the fact his brother-in-law Chris Weidman was knocked out a fight earlier may have had something to do with it.  All of that said, I do think Wonderboy will come out much better in this next fight and throw more techniques to do damage rather than just score points, which is what it looked like he was focusing on in the last fight.

Wonderboy has far better wins on his record and a much better resume than Woodley who simply sat out two years until he got a title shot and KO’d a shop worn Robbie Lawler.  Woodley is still far from proven and I think Wonderboy exposes him in this fight.

Play: Wonderboy 1.72 @ Bet365.com

Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson

  • Khabib 1.53
  • Ferguson 2.62

I think Ferguson is being overlooked in this fight.  Yes, Khabib is undefeated and he often destroys his opponents through utter domination, but I still think he’s relatively untested in his career.  He did beat Rafael dos Anjos back in 2014, but that fight and a wildly swinging Michael Johnson most recently are really his only two wins over truly big names.

Ferguson also beat dos Anjos in his most recent fight, winning a 5 round decision, and also has a big win over Edson Barboza.  Outside of those two wins Ferguson really doesn’t have many big wins over currently ranked opponents either.

Both fighters beat Tibau and Trujillo, with Ferguson finishing both guys and Khabib grinding out decisions, but neither fighter is currently ranked.  It’s amazing to me that Ferguson has won 9 straight in the UFC and Khabib has won all 8 of his UFC fights, but neither guy has beaten more than 2 guys in the top 15 of the Lightweight Division.  In contrast, Conor McGregor has beaten 3 fighters in the top 15 (Alvarez, Diaz and Poirier) and he only has 1 fight in the division!

Anyways, back to the fight.  I do think Ferguson is being overlooked in this fight.  Nurmagomedov did not look great on the feet against Michael Johnson and if Tony can keep the distance he has a real chance at piecing Khabib up and possibly even getting a TKO.  Ferguson is also a very dangerous submission fighter so if Khabib does get him to the ground it’s no guarantee that Tony doesn’t find a way to get on top or find a submission from a scramble.

In my eyes this fight could go either way so I’ll gladly take the odds and pick Ferguson to win.

Play: Ferguson 2.62 @ Bet365.com

Those are the two fights with odds currently available.  The card is continuing to develop, but I know where I will be on March 4th.

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