The main event at UFC 223 in New York on Saturday night got a late change with Max Holloway replacing Tony Ferguson. What has not changed is that Khabib Nurmagomedov is a heavy favorite to win this UFC lightweight championship bout on Saturday night. Holloway deserves a lot of credit for taking this fight with less than a week’s notice, but he faces a very difficult task in going against Nurmagomedov. This fight is one of five on the main pay-view-card. Let’s look at the bout and also consider the co-main event between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas.
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Nurmagomedov -510 vs. Holloway
Holloway is 19-3 in his career, including 15-3 in the UFC. He is the current UFC featherweight champion. He has nine knockout wins in his career and two wins by submission. He is a very talented fighter who can win in a variety of ways, but he will be facing a fighter in Khabib who is undefeated.
Nurmagomedov is unbeaten in his career at 25-0, including 9-0 in the UFC. He has eight knockout wins in his career and eight wins by submission. He has 10 first round finishes.
Nurmagomedov was almost a 3-1 favorite against Ferguson and he is a bigger favorite against Holloway. The odds may be too high, considering Holloway brings some different problems than Ferguson would have. Holloway has a lot more speed than Ferguson and he can win in more ways.
The price on this fight is simply too high to take Nurmagomedov. He has more power, but Holloway has more speed. There is no doubt that Nurmagomedov could impose his will and pound out a win, but Holloway is definitely capable of winning this fight and at odds of 5-1 he is worth a shot.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk -125 vs. Rose Namajunas
The co-main event is a rematch between Jedrzejczyk and Namajunas. It was Namajunas pulling off the upset the last time these two met to win the title. She comes into this bout at 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the UFC, while Jedrzejczyk is 14-1 overall and 8-1 in the UFC.
Jedrzejczyk has said a weight cut was the reason she lost that first fight. “She was my big challenge last time, but my weight cut impacted my body. I don’t care if people are going to say if it was my excuse. Only me and my team know what happened that night and how I felt in the Octagon.”
I am a little surprised that Jedrzejczyk is not more of a favorite in this fight. Very few people thought Namajunas could win their first fight, but she pulled off the upset. I don’t see lightning striking twice and now we get a great price on Jedrzejczyk. I will take Jedrzejczyk to get the win.
UFC 223 takes place on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. There are five fights on the main per-pay-view card featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Max Holloway. There are eight preliminary bouts, with four on FS1 and four on UFC Fight Pass.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View)
Lightweight – Khabib Nurmagomedov -510 vs. Max Holloway
Women’s Strawweight – Joanna Jedrzejczyk -125 vs. Rose Namajunas
Featherweight – Calvin Kattar -135 vs. Renato Moicano
Lightweight – Michael Chisea -135 vs. Anthony Pettis
Lightweight – Al Iaquinta -115 vs. Paul Felder
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Women’s Strawweight - Karolina Kowalkiewicz -185 vs. Felice Herrig
Flyweight – Ray Borg -275 vs. Brandon Moreno
Lightweight – Joe Lauzon -170 vs. Chris Gruetzemacher
Lightweight – Evan Dunham -125 vs. Oliver Aubin-Mercier
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Featherweight – Alex Caceres -140 vs. Artem Lobov
Women’s Flyweight – Ashlee Evans-Smith -190 vs. Bec Rawlings
Light Heavyweight – Devin Clark -115 vs. Mike Rodriguez
Featherweight – Zabit Magomedsharipov -800 vs. Kyle Bochniak
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