Before Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez square off, a number of important fights will be taking place with major title implications. Here is our UFC 205 prelim betting guide.
Rafael Natal vs. Tim Boetsch
A middleweight showdown between two veterans of the fight game will take place on the Fox Sports 1 UFC 205 prelims. Both men have had lengthy tenures inside the UFC, but have never quite been able to reach the top 10 of their divisions.
Rafael Natal first signed with the UFC in September of 2015. Over eight fights, he went 5-2-1 with notable wins over Sean Spencer and Paul Bradley, but was eventually matched up with Tim Kennedy and got knocked out towards the end of the first round. After another loss to Ed Herman, Natal went on to win four straight fights, and appeared to be edging towards the title discussion. In his most recent fight, he was defeated by Robert Whittaker, and has been relegated back to gatekeeper status.
Boetsch has had a similar career thus far in the UFC in alternating wins and losses. He was cut from the UFC in 2009, but quickly returned after some good wins in the regional scene. His career since that time has involved some great wins and devastating losses. Boetsch snapped a three-fight losing streak in his most recent outing by finishing the late Josh Samman via TKO in the second round.
This fight might not have any serious title implications, but it should be a good brawl between two experienced fighters. The general consensus from most online sportsbooks in Ireland is that Boetsch will hold the striking advantage, and Natal will have the advantage on the ground. The American is the UFC 205 prelim betting underdog in this one according to NetBet Sportsbook (maybe the best betting website in Ireland) with odds of 6/5, and Natal is the slight favorite with odds of 20/33.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson
This fight could easily headline a UFC event, but because UFC 205 is such a massive event, it is part of the preliminary card. This fight could very well be to determine who is the next UFC lightweight title challenger.
Khabib Nurmagomedov holds the best win streak of the sport, with 23 straight wins and 7 straight UFC victories. His elite wrestling and unorthodox striking game has been too much for all of his opponents to handle, and a victory here should almost guarantee he gets the next shot at the winner of McGregor and Alvarez.
Michael Johnson erased the memory of his two losses to Beneil Dariush and Nate Diaz by finishing Dustin Poirier with a devastating knockout in the first round. The performance was perhaps the best of his career, proving to the world that he deserves to be listed in the top 10 of the division. Johnson has a well rounded game with tremendous striking and solid wrestling.
It’s no surprise that Khabib is the serious UFC 205 prelim betting favorite heading into this fight. A 23 fight win streak can’t be luck, and if Khabib can make it 24 he will almost be guaranteed the title shot. His NetBet Sportsbook odds to win currently sit at 20/67. Johnson might be the best betting underdog on the card. He has all the skills to get the victory here, but it won’t be easy. His odds to win are currently at 9/4.
Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens
The last UFC 205 prelim betting fight we’ll take a look at is a pivotal featherweight matchup between Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens. Edgar has been at the top of the division for years, but fell short in his attempt to capture a title at UFC 200. Stephens will be looking to inch his way closer to the money fight against Conor McGregor.
The featherweight division has been stuck in the mud since McGregor won the title in December of 2015. While Conor was fighting Nate Diaz at welterweight, Edgar was fighting Jose Aldo for the interim belt. He lost that fight by decision, but is being thrown back in the cage against Stephens.
Stephens is stepping up to the plate on this one. He is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division with his KO power, but he has been defeated time and time again by fighters with strong ground games. If he can get the win against Edgar, he may be just one fight away from a shot at the belt.
This is another great UFC 205 prelim betting option for NetBet Sportsbook members. Edgar is one of the biggest favorites on the entire card with odds of 1/4 to win, and Stephens is one of the biggest underdogs at 13/5.
Will you be taking part in UFC 205 prelim betting? Who do you think wins these three fights? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below, and make sure to check out GamingZion’s Irish gambling news page to stay up to date on everything related to betting on UFC 205!