Opening Odds: Khabib Nurmagomedov Favored Over Conor McGregor And Tony Ferguson

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Whether you’re looking at the rankings or the opening odds, one thing seems clear: Khabib Nurmagomedov is the new king of lightweights.

This past Saturday in UFC 223’s pay-per-view headliner, Nurmagomedov (26-0 MMA, 10-0 UFC) was crowned undisputed UFC 155-pound champion after defeating Al Iaquinta (13-4-1 MMA, 8-3 UFC) – a replacement for Max Holloway, who was a late replacement for injured Tony Ferguson – and awarded the belt that was stripped from Conor McGregor.

Now, Nurmagomedov, who moved to No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, has opened at the sports books as the favorite over two of his possible next opponents: No. 3-ranked McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and No. 2 Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC).

That’s according to noted MMA oddsmaker Joey Oddessa, who’s told MMAjunkie he’s set “The Oddessa Line” as follows:

Khabib Nurmagomedov -165 (1.61)

Conor McGregor +135 (2.35)

Khabib Nurmagomedov -200 (1.5)

Tony Ferguson +165 (2.65)

(Note that the fights must happen in 2018, and depending on the sports book, the odds may have shifted slightly since their initial opening.)

As those current odds, a winning $100 bet on Nurmagomedov over McGregor would result in a net profit of $60.61 (implied win probability of 62 percent) whereas as a winning bet on McGregor would score you $135 in profit. Against Ferguson, winning $100 bets would result in $50 profit for Nurmagomedov (win probability of 67 percent) and $165 for Ferguson.

>Related>Khabib Nurmagomedov 'a little bit scared' by UFC title fame: 'I don't want to change'

Oddessa said the odds – and potential bets on the fights – could be affected by the Iaquinta victory, though he wouldn’t put much stock in Nurmagomedov’s performance when it comes to judging how he’d fare against others.

“If you look at social media, fans are divided on how high a favorite Khabib would be against either fighter (McGregor or Ferguson) – or a favorite at all,” Oddessa told MMAjunkie. “People just watched Khabib in a stay-busy fight that he won by a blowout on all the scorecards. But he didn’t finish. Big deal.

” … The fight against Iaquinta was just provided more information for someone to try to sort out on a path to losing money. Nothing changed. You think Khabib’s looking to fight Conor or Tony the same way he fought Iaquinta? No shot.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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