UFC 205 PREVIEW: The UFC makes its long awaited debut in New York in the small hours of Sunday morning and all eyes will be on Conor McGregor as his bids to become the first two weight World Champion in the promotions history. He will face a huge challenge though from Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez who defends his title for the first time since a brutal first round stoppage of Rafael Dos Anjos. There is much more to this card than the main event; we will also see fights for the Welterweight and Strawweight titles as well as a slew of contests between top contenders.

Eddie Alverez (2.5) vs Conor McGregor (1.65) – Lightweight Championship

4.30am UK/Irish time The rise of Conor McGregor in the sport has been well documented, from being a two weight world champion in the Cage Fighter promotion, to blowing through the UFC’s Featherweight division which culminated in a 13 second knockout of Jose Aldo to stepping up two weight classes to take on the iron-chinned Nate Diaz in a two fight classic. He now moves back down to Lightweight in an attempt to emulate his cage warrior achievement of holding two belts simultaneously and at 1.65 on BETDAQ many fancy him to do so.

Alverez has trodden a very different path to this point, fighting in Mixed Martial Arts since 2003, he has only been in the UFC since September 2014. A winner of three of his four fights in the promotion, he shocked the world stopping 155lb champion Rafael Dos Anjos with a flurry of vicious punches in July. He is known for having outstanding cardio, a heavy right hand and a strong chin. He has predominantly worked as a stand-up practitioner in the Octagon but has a very strong wrestling background which he will likely turn to against the longer reach of McGregor.

It is there that the contest will be won and lost, McGregor has shown in the past a devastating ability to catch opponents that charge at him with devastating effect (ask Jose Aldo). However, if Alverez can break the first line of defence and get McGregor’s back to the cage this could be very interesting. This is an area that “The Notorious” has worked hard on since his fight with Chad Mendes and he showed definite improvement in his second bout with the much bigger Diaz but it does remain a significant weakness in his game.

If Alverez is to win he needs to get through the first two rounds where McGregor is at his most explosive and gradually wear him down with grappling and takedowns. If McGregor is to win, he needs to connect with the left as Alverez charges and put him away early. In the end, McGregor is taken to connect with his famous cross left and make history in the sport.

BET 10pts McGregor Win – Round Two (6.0)

Tyron Woodley (2.64) vs Stephen Thompson (1.48) – Welterweight Championship

st4am UK/Irish time The second of the three title fights at UFC 205 is for the Welterweight Title which was held for so long by “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. His run came to an unceremonious end when Tyron Woodley knocked him out with devastating punches in the first round. Woodley now wears the Welterweight crown and will face a daunting challenge in the form of Stevie “Wonderboy” Thompson.

This is a classic matchup between the one-punch-power of Woodley against the technical striking of former kickboxing champion Thompson. Thompson (pictured) has a slight reach advantage and will look to keep Woodley on the outside with his kicks but the explosive power of Woodley is undeniable and the 2.64 available on BETDAQ looks an insult to the champion.

BET 8pts Woodley to win (2.64)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk (1.22) vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz (4.0) – Strawweight Championship

3.30am UK/Irish time A battle between two Polish fighters with a combined record of 22-0, they are both out and out strikers so this is going to be a barnstormer. Jedrzejczyk is one of the most dominant champions in the sport right now and her work rate is second to none. Kowalkiwicz will be the most talented striker she has faced but the sheer volume of output the champion can produce should be too much for the challenger to handle.

Chris Weidman (1.53) vs Yoel Romero (2.48) – Middleweight Division

3am UK/Irish time Former Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman has been one of the leading figures in bringing the UFC to New York and the NYC native will be looking to produce a big performance for his home fans against Yoel Romero. Romero has had a sketchy past with PEDs, which is no surprise when you see his cartoon like physique, he brings a lot of power but has quite a limited fuel tank. Provided Weidman can survive the early exchanges he should be capable of wearing down the big Cuban and getting the win.

Frankie Edgar (1.28) vs Jeremy Stephens (3.6) – Featherweight Division

1.30am UK/Irish time Another New York native and former UFC champion Frankie Edgar will look to get his career back on track after a lacklustre display against Jose Aldo for the interim Featherweight belt last time. He faces the hard hitting Jeremy Stephens who is probably best known for being humiliated by Conor McGregor at the initial press conference for UFC 205 and faces the toughest test of his career in the form of Edgar. Stephens’ one punch power makes him a danger but the class of Edgar should win the day.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (1.33) vs Michael Johnson (3.25) – Lightweight Division

1am UK/Irish time Originally rumoured to be facing Alverez for the title on this card Nurmagomedov is sure to be out to prove a point here on the undercard. Possibly the most feared contender in the Lightweight division, Nurmagomedov has incredible grappling power that has overwhelmed his opponents so far. Johnson has good punching power but is very much a journey-man fighter and this is a horribly tough match-up for him.


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