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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:54 PM

UFC 249: Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson Betting Outlook

Editor's Note: Per reports on Friday April 3, 2020 -- The UFC 249 main event hasn't been canceled and Khabib Nurmagomedov said he is willing to travel to any location, when the venue is decided. Until an official announcement is made, the bout continues to receive action at sportsbooks.

UFC 249: Still taking Action!

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has booked lightweight champion Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov to fight Tony Ferguson four times. Now a global pandemic has threatened the fifth booking, but Dana White continues to insist that UFC 249 will indeed take place on April 18.

However, the venue is no longer Barclays Arena in Brooklyn. In fact, the UFC President says he’s 99.9 percent sure he has the venue, but White is unwilling to reveal it yet. He hasn’t even told the fighters about the location and said on a podcast this past week, “The less the media knows, the better.”

There have been reports that Florida is a likely spot and the show could go down in Orlando, Jacksonville or Tampa. Other reports have indicated somewhere in the Middle East, with Abu Dhabi as a potential destination.

UFC 249 Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson Odds Analysis

Odds provided by Fan Duel (IN, NJ, PA & WV only)
Subject to Change - T&C's Apply, 21+

Khabib Nurmagomedov -290
Tony Ferguson +230

Total Rounds:
Over 2.5 -122
Under 2.5 +100

As of March 29, FanDuel had Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) installed as a -290 favorite. ‘El Cucuy’ was a +230 underdog. The total was 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -122, ‘under’ +100).

If you want to get greedy and take a shot at some extra plus money with a prop bet on either fighter, those options are certainly available in abundance at FanDuel. For instance, bettors can take Nurmagomedov to win by KO/TKO for a +460 return, to win by decision for a +195 payout and to win via submission for a +270 return.

On the flip side, gamblers can back Ferguson (25-3 MMA, 15-1 UFC) to win by KO/TKO for a +750 payout, to win via decision (+850) or by submission (+500). The odds for the scrap to end in a draw are 50/1.

Nurmagomedov has 10 wins by decision, 10 via submissions and eight by KO/TKO. Meanwhile, Ferguson has 12 knockouts, eight submissions and five victories that went to the judges’ scorecards. The 36-year-old Ferguson has only been finished once in 2009, when he lost to Jamie Toney by technical submission (triangle choke) midway through Round 1 in a welterweight match under the National Fight Alliance MMA promotion.

UFC 249 - Reasons to bet Nurmagomedov:

Obviously, there’s that ‘never-ever-lost thing’ represented by that zero in the ‘L’ column of his career record. With the potential exception of Georges St-Pierre, the 31-year-old Nurmagomedov is the most dominant wrestler to ever step into the Octagon.

The Dagestani product was literally wrestling bears as a child. Nurmagomedov has lost only one out of 36 rounds in his UFC career. All three judges gave Conor McGregor Round 3 in his fourth-round submission loss to ‘The Eagle’ at UFC 229.

Unlike many fighters on the UFC roster, Nurmagomedov is a legit religious man (unlike one who claims to be but gets arrested constantly). I only point this out to put emphasis on the fact that he doesn’t party. Nothing goes into his system – zero alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, etc. – that will potentially compromise his body ahead of a fight of this magnitude.

Finally, as noted by only one lost round during his UFC tenure, Nurmagomedov doesn’t just win. He dominates. In his words, he “mauls people.”

UFC 249 - Reasons to bet Ferguson:

Ferguson’s stand-up game is superior to Nurmagomedov’s. Also, unlike many of Nurmagomedov’s previous victims, Ferguson has options when put on his back by takedowns. He’s a threat with submissions from the bottom, he’s slick, slippery and versatile with transitions and escapes on the ground and he’s capable of landing sharp elbows and upkicks.

I’m not implying cardio is an issue for Nurmagomedov, who has an outstanding gas tank. However, Ferguson’s cardio is at an elite level comparable to that of The Diaz Brothers and Clay Guida. I do believe Ferguson has an edge in the conditioning department.

There’s also a 12-fight winning streak that has come against tougher competition that Nurmagomedov has faced in his 12 UFC wins. Ferguson has a Performance of the Night win over Josh Thomson, who is the former Strikeforce lightweight champion and the only fighter to finish Nate Diaz unless you include the doctor in Diaz’s recent scrap with Jorge Masvidal. That was in 2015 when Thomson was still a force.

Ferguson has victories over some of the world’s best lightweights that Nurmagomedov hasn’t faced like Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Kevin Lee, Lando Vannata, Thomson and Danny Castillo.

Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have faced five common opponents. ‘MMA Math’ is considered pointless by many fighters and analysts, but we’ll nonetheless offer up those factoids for readers to consume as they wish.

Tony Ferguson is listed as a healthy +230 underdog against Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 249 main event.
Tony Ferguson is listed as a healthy +230 underdog against Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 249 main event. (AP)

Nurmagomedov finished Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson with a second-round submission at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 of 2016. Johnson, the last person to defeat Ferguson, won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over ‘El Cucuy’ on May 5 of 2012. Ferguson hasn’t tasted defeat since then.

Both men won unanimous decisions over former UFC lightweight kingpin, Rafael dos Anjos. Nurmagomedov was more dominant, winning a three-round match by 30-27 scores across. Ferguson took on RDA in a five-round main event, winning by 48-47 scores from all three judges. Therefore, we can accurately say that Nurmagomedov was more impressive in fights with RDA and Johnson.

Ferguson finished Abel Trujillo, Gleison Tibau and Edson Barboza inside of two rounds. Nurmagomedov won all nine rounds against that trio of opponents, but each of those fights went the distance. In fact, Ferguson garnered three fight-night bonuses in those matches. He won POTN in his first-round submission win (2:37 by rear-naked choke) over Tibau and bagged an extra $100,000 with Fight of the Night and POTN bonuses in a second-round submission victory over Barboza (2:54 via D’Arce choke).

How to bet UFC 249 Nurmagomedov-Ferguson:

If it’s a pick ‘em, I’d take Nurmagomedov all day. That’s not how it works, though. As loyal readers know, I just don’t eat ‘chalk’ prices North of -200 (and anything more expensive than -150 must be a special exception).

The reason for that is MMA has too many variables. One fighter can be vastly superior to his or her foe, but that won’t help if a cut is somehow created and there’s a doctor stoppage. Injuries can occur (think Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen when Jones sustained a gnarly dislocated toe. If Jones didn’t finish Sonnen in the final minute of Round 1, Sonnen likely would’ve become champion between rounds because the doctor probably wouldn’t have let Jones continue).

There are also disqualifications. That happened to Jones in his lone career “loss” even though he left Matt Hamill a bloody mess. It happened to Greg Hardy with an illegal knee last year. It could’ve happened to Jones with the illegal knee to Anthony Smith’s head, but ‘Lionheart’ took the high road and opted to continue when he could’ve said I can’t go on and been awarded the belt.

I presented the ways to back Nurmagomedov and collect plus money above (by TKO/KO, decision or submission). Those type of bets allow you to avoid paying out big money on a -290 straight wager if Ferguson gets his hand raised.

Am I comfortable with including Nurmagomedov in a parlay? Absolutely.

With all that said, I’m not counting Ferguson out in this scrap. Not in anyway whatsoever. He can win this fight. I think this is the biggest challenge of Nurmagomedov’s career (past, present and future!), but I think he’ll rise to the occasion and find a way to come out victorious.

UFC 249 Bets on a finish for each round:

The payouts at FanDuel for Nurmagomedov to win in each stanza are as follows:

  • Round 1 (+750)
  • Round 2 (+850)
  • Round 3 (+900)
  • Round 4 (+1000)
  • Round 5 (+1700 or 17/1)

Likewise, the returns on Ferguson go like this:

  • Round 1 (16/1)
  • Round 2 (15/1)
  • Round 3 (15/1)
  • Round 4 (15/1)
  • Round 5 (18/1)

UFC 249 Alternate Odds and Props for Nurmagomedov-Ferguson:

Will the fight go the distance?

FanDuel has ‘no’ as a -196 favorite, while ‘yes’ gets +142 on the comeback.

How fight will end?

This prop has +135 odds for points (judges), +145 for submission and +260 for a KO/TKO.

There are also props for Method & Round Combo.

The smallest payout is 12/1 for Nurmagomedov to win by submission in Round 1. The largest return being offered at FanDuel is 39/1 and that price is for both Ferguson or Nurmagomedov to win by fifth-round KO/TKO.

Odds provided by Fan Duel (IN, NJ, PA & WV only)
Subject to Change - T&C's Apply, 21+

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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