It’s not the best card in the world, but UFC 216 (October 7th) offers a little something for everyone. We’ll get to see heavyweight contenders Fabrício Werdum and Derrick Lewis make their case for a title shot, while Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee settle their beef in an interim lightweight title fight. The main event of the evening has the biggest stakes, featuring flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson aiming to break the UFC record for most title defenses, assuming challenger Ray Borg manages to make weight this time.
Let’s take closer a look at the two title bouts and find some value for you savvy bettors to use at your sportsbook of choice.
An interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson (22-3) and Kevin Lee (16-2) is a strange decision by the UFC, and if it weren’t for their widely broadcasted spat on FOX, this fight probably would never have materialized.
It all started when Lee appeared on FOX following his controversial win against Michael Chiesa. Ferguson, who was working as a FOX analyst, found himself in a war of words against Lee and the UFC has chosen to cash in on the drama that ensued.
Lee really hasn’t done enough to earn a fight against the best of the lightweight division. Michael Chiesa is the only top-ten fighter he’s faced and the official UFC rankings place Lee seventh, below a handful of more deserving lightweights.
Ferguson, on the other hand, has defeated former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos and the fourth-ranked Edson Barboza. He’s on a nine-fight win streak and has won his last few fights convincingly. He’s an unorthodox fighter and his unpredictable style is both incredibly effective and a joy to watch.
We can’t write Lee off entirely. He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s on a five-fight win streak of his own, and he has shown himself to be a well-rounded fighter. However, he hasn’t fought a top-level fighter yet. Against Ferguson, he is a little out of his depth. Take the favorite with confidence.
At +800 odds, we’d really like to be able to make the case for Ray Borg (11-2). That would be a nice payout. But we’re struggling to find anything that suggests he stands even a puncher’s chance against Johnson. Borg is a one-trick pony; he likes to take his fights to the ground and submit his opponents. Of the seven fights he’s stopped, six have been by way of submission. But even if he manages to convince Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1) to take the fight to the canvas, he still probably won’t have the upper hand. DJ is a supremely talented grappler, himself, and a renowned submission artist.
The 24-year-old Borg is outmatched in pretty much every way. He’s slower, he’s less technical, and he’s much less experienced. On top of that, he’s had serious issues making weight in the past. Meanwhile, DJ is regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC and has run through the best of the flyweight division multiple times.
There’s a reason why DJ hand-picked a fighter like Borg to mark his (potentially record-breaking) 11th title defense. There’s not much value with the champ, but there’s even less with Borg.
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