It’s the first-ever mixed martial arts card at Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, on Saturday night with UFC 205 holding a star-studded event. MMA fighting just recently became legal in New York state. The headline bout is a lightweight title fight between champion Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor, the most popular fighter in the UFC who also happens to be the current featherweight champion. McGregor is attempting to become the first UFC fighter to hold belts in multiple divisions at the same time and he’s the betting favorite on MMA odds.
UFC 205 Eddie Alvarez vs Conor McGregor Odds & Expert Pick
The action begins in New York City at 8 p.m. ET with a four-fight prelim card. Then, at 10 p.m. ET begins the six-bout main card on pay-per- view. By the end of 2015, professional mixed martial arts was legal in every state but New York (banned starting in 1997). The UFC held multiple events in Newark, N.J., which is part of the New York metropolitan area, but competing in New Jersey simply wasn’t the same.
That’s why this card is such a big deal. It is, only four months after UFC 200 in Las Vegas, being dubbed by some as the greatest card in the sport’s history, with big names and excellent matches up and down the lineup. The card includes three championship fights for the first time ever, including women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk against Karolina Kowalkiewicz and welterweight champ Tyron Woodley against Stephen Thompson.
McGregor (20-3) will attempt to join BJ Penn and Randy Couture as the only fighters in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes at any point. McGregor won the featherweight crown in December by knocking out longtime 145-pound kingpin Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. The victory remains the fastest finish in UFC title fight history. Since then McGregor moved up in weight to twice fight Nate Diaz, being stunned in the first one — McGregor was to fight for the lightweight belt against then-champion Rafael dos Anjos but dos Anjos had to pull out with a broken foot — and winning an epic five-round majority decision rematch in July. This is the sixth consecutive fight in which McGregor has opened as a betting favorite.
Alvarez (28-4) won the lightweight title in a first-round knockout over dos Anjos in July, a pretty big upset. The 32-year- old Philadelphia native also has held a 155-pound title in Bellator MMA. After taking the title from dos Anjos, Alvarez quipped at the post-fight press conference that he was ready for an “easier fight.” The foe opponent he wanted was McGregor. McGregor has said Alvarez’s wife and kids won’t recognize him afterwards.
Being as it’s McGregor’s promotional debut at 155 pounds, it comes with questions about how he’ll handle yet another weight adjustment. He hasn’t fought at that weight since 2012. McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanagh, believes Alvarez presents less resistance than dos Anjos in McGregor’s pursuit of history.
“I think Alvarez is a little bit more straightforward,” Kavanagh said. “Dos Anjos obviously has a world- class submission game on the ground. Alvarez is more basic on the ground. He’s just going to hold you there and throw some shots, whereas dos Anjos has very slick jiu-jitsu.” McGregor laid out specific plans about how he’s going to beat Alvarez.
“He’s been through a hell of a lot of wars. He’s been dropped continuously and I can see the effects of war on his face,” McGregor said. “I’m going to toy with this man.”
UFC 205 Eddie Alvarez vs Conor McGregor Expert Pick: Conor McGregor
Take the younger McGregor to win by TKO on MMA odds.