Previews and picks for UFC 229

Updated October 5, 2018 - 6:11 pm

A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC 229 on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:

Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3)

Class: For Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title

Line: Nurmagomedov minus 160

Storyline: The sport’s biggest star (McGregor) meets its most dominant force (Nurmagomedov). It’s a fight that McGregor was never expected to take because it’s such a terrible style matchup for him and he can bank massive pay-per-view numbers regardless of the opponent. But McGregor always has done the unexpected, and now he gets a chance to prove naysayers wrong again. Nurmagomedov overwhelms his opponents with smothering pressure from the opening bell. He’s relentless with takedowns and looks to move forward in the standup so opponents have no room to operate. McGregor works best as a counter-striker, and Nurmagomedov has proven hittable, even though he never has lost a round in the UFC. McGregor’s best chance is to keep the fight standing, and he probably doesn’t have the cardio to be effective after the second round. That left hand is lethal, though.

■ Hill’s pick: Nurmagomedov by fourth-round submission

■ Fang’s pick: McGregor by third-round knockout

Tony Ferguson (25-3) vs. Anthony Pettis (21-7)

Class: Lightweight

Line: Ferguson minus 350

Storyline: Ferguson has won 10 consecutive fights and will be the unquestioned top contender with another victory. The biggest question is whether his surgically repaired knee holds up to the rigors of a fight. He’s returning to competition several months before he was expected to but insists the knee is stable. Pettis is one of the division’s most explosive athletes. The former champion went through a difficult stretch, but appears back on track after a brief experiment at featherweight. His speed and power should be a good test for Ferguson.

■ Hill’s pick: Ferguson by decision

■ Fang’s pick: Ferguson by decision

Ovince Saint Preux (22-11) vs. Dominick Reyes (9-0)

Class: Light heavyweight

Line: Reyes minus 230

Storyline: Reyes has finished eight of his nine opponents in the first round, including all four since signing with the UFC. He has immense power and has stopped opponents before any of them exposed flaws in his game. Saint Preux is a perennial contender who will serve as a true measuring stick to see how close Reyes is to fighting at the highest level of the division. Saint Preux, who went the distance with Jon Jones, has won four of his last five fights. The former Tennessee football player might look to get Reyes off his feet early and wear him down.

■ Hill’s pick: Reyes by first-round knockout

■ Fang’s pick: Reyes by second-round knockout

Derrick Lewis (20-5, 1 No Contest) vs. Alexander Volkov (29-6)

Class: Heavyweight

Line: Volkov minus 170

Storyline: There’s never much mystery to Lewis’ fights — he’s a slugger looking to land a big shot. He has been hampered by a back issue, but he still has won his past two fights. Volkov has worked his way into contention with four straight wins since signing with the UFC.

■ Hill’s pick: Volkov by second-round knockout

■ Fang’s pick: Volkov by decision

Michelle Waterson (15-6) vs. Felice Herrig (14-7)

Class: Women’s strawweight

Line: Herrig minus 125

Storyline: Both fighters are trying to remain among the contenders in the division. Waterson snapped a two-fight losing streak with a split-decision win over Cortney Casey in April. Herrig lost a split decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in April, but the loss might have been more impressive than any of her four previous wins because of the level of competition. Both are well-rounded, but Herrig might have an edge on the ground and Waterson can be more dangerous as a distance striker.

■ Hill’s pick: Herrig by decision

■ Fang’s pick: Waterson by decision

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Adam Hill Las Vegas Review-Journal

Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
UFC donates $240,000 to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
UFC presents Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada with $240,000 donation and promises to grant more wishes as the partnership goes forward.
Benavidez on his new contract, future of the UFC flyweight division
UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, who is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN Plus, discusses his role as an alternate for the title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, his new 4-fight contract and the future of the 125-pound division.
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing