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UFC 229: Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis Betting Odds

UFC 229: Tony Feguson vs Anthony Pettis Betting Odds

The wind was taken out of the sails for many fight fans ahead of UFC 223 when the news broke that Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson had torn a ligament in his knee and was out of the fight for the lightweight belt against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Just six months removed from surgery, Ferguson will be back in action to take on Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. The former interim champion Ferguson has opened as a -300 favorite with former champion Pettis coming back at +230.

Both of these fighters are extremely creative as Pettis is known for his famous “Showtime kick” in which he pushes off from the cage and throws a flying kick. Meanwhile, Ferguson has flashy strikes and a fantastic ability to seek submissions with his unorthodox jiu-jitsu game. Pettis has been riding a win-one, lose-one streak over his last six fights, coming off a second-round submission over Michael Chiesa that earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. However, Ferguson’s last win for the interim belt set a new record of 10 straight wins within the lightweight division.

Bovada has the -300 odds for Ferguson and they are higher than I was expecting. He definitely should be the favorite, but coming off a significant knee injury there should be some skepticism. However, I’m not saying to throw money at Pettis at +230, because he simply hasn’t shown his brilliance of years past recently, but I do anticipate this line to tighten up a little bit closer to the fight.

Breaking Down Ferguson vs Pettis

Ferguson (-300) won The Ultimate Fighter 13 and has only stumbled once in his 13 fights since then, including setting a record with an ongoing 10-fight winning streak with six of those fights ending by submission. El Cucuy has freakish cardio in which he pushes the pace either on the feet or on the mat, seeking the submission or raining down a vicious ground and pound. Ferguson has outstruck his opponents by double digits five times during his current streak.

The former interim champ doesn’t typically search for the takedown but rather looks to knock his foes down and sink in a submission, or if he is taken down he attacks off his back. Ferguson averages 5.09 significant strikes per minute while absorbing just 3.48 significant strikes per minute and he attempts an average of 1.59 submissions per fight which is fifth-most in the lightweight division.

Pettis (+230) claimed the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 164 in 2013, stopping Benson Henderson with a first-round submission, and defended his belt with a second-round submission vs Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181. Showtime lost his strap in his next bout with Rafael dos Anjos, which began a three-fight losing streak, and he hasn’t won back-to-back fights since. The 31-year-old is extremely creative in his standup game, throwing strikes from many different angles, including using the cage to jump off of.

Similar to Ferguson, Pettis has a deadly ground game that has earned him four submission victories inside the Octagon and he averages 1.33 submission attempts per fight. He doesn’t just go swinging for the fences in his fights, though, as he looks for his opportunities to land flashy strikes, averaging 2.78 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 2.8 significant strikes per minute.

A win for Ferguson puts him directly in line for a shot at the belt that will be up for grabs later on this same card between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, a win for Pettis puts him back in the conversation to reclaim the title he lost over three years ago. El Cucuy has so many different weapons to get his opponents out of the cage, but most importantly his cardio is such that he can mentally defeat his foes with his all-out pressure. Pettis can be dangerous backing up, by throwing some spinning attacks that he has found success in. I anticipate a great standup battle with two creative strikers that will surely entertain and set the table for the main event.

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