UFC 223 Title Fight (Khabib vs Ferguson and Rose vs Joanna) Betting Picks

UFC 223 is a loaded card with two exciting title fights headlining the PPV event.  Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will battle it out for the interim lightweight belt and likely the chance to fight Conor McGregor for to unify the belts later in 2018.  The co-main event features a rematch between women’s strawweight champ Rose Namajunas and the longtime champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk who was beaten by Rose at UFC 217 this past November.

On this page I will give my picks for both of these fights.  I will be using the odds from Bet365.com, our top rated betting site for my picks.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson is the interim champ at lightweight, but he’s the real champ in my eyes.  He’s beaten Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee, three of the top fighters in the lightweight division, and is riding a 10 fight winning streak in the UFC dating back to 2013 to get to this point.  Conor has one fight at lightweight and it was a win over Eddie Alvarez, who is barely a top 10 fighter in my estimation.

Even though Tony has the big wins and the big winning streak, it’s Khabib Nurmagomedov who is the favorite in this fight.  The main reason for that in my opinion is the way he wins his fights.  He absolutely dominates guys, getting them to the mat and then controlling the fight for it’s entirety.  That said, he is not the best finisher and he can get lit up on the feet with his striking defense leaving a lot to be desired.

Khabib could very well get this fight to the mat and dominate rounds, but I really don’t see him finishing Tony on the mat.  Every round starts standing and it could only take a couple big shots from Tony to get Khabib to force a poor takedown attempt and leave his neck open, which Tony is an absolute master at taking advantage of.  Even though Khabib might be in control in the grappling exchanges, I think Tony is the guy who is far more likely to end this fight with a submission.  He can get subs from anywhere, he’s long and dangerous on the feet and he’s been in bad spots in fights in the past before digging in, relying on his toughness and will to win to find a way to take control and get a finish.

At these odds I think Ferguson is a great play.

Play: Ferguson +200

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas

Joanna was considered to be almost unbeatable heading into her last title fight with Rose.  Joanna closed at around a -750 favorite heading into that fight and for good reason considering she had absolutely dominated everyone who got in there with her outside of Claudia Gadelha.

Rose was the big underdog, but she had a great gameplan and was able to catch Joanna with a lead left hook on multiple occasions, including the final knockdown that lead to the TKO.  It wasn’t just a single knockout punch that finished that fight either.  Rose caught Joanna multiple times and knocked her down earlier in the round as well, which is definitely cause for concern if you’re betting Joanna in this fight.

That said, I still think Joanna is the better striker.  She had her moments in that fight as well where she caught Rose and if she can shore up that defense on the lead left hook that kept landing flush I think she should be able to get the better of Rose in a stand up battle.  I also think Joanna is underrated on the ground.  She was able to get up fairly easily when she was knocked to the mat earlier in the fight and I do not think Rose will be able to get this fight to the mat with takedowns, but will need to once again get the better of the striking.

It was not a lucky win for Rose at all in that first fight, but when it comes to rematches I think the advantage goes to the loser of the first fight because they can game plan and adjust for what went wrong.  That’s even more true when it wasn’t just a lucky punch or a simple mistake, but an actual flaw in the defense, which was the case for Joanna in that fight.

Play: Jedrzejczyk -138

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