The bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov (-275) and Tony Ferguson (+200) is sure to be one for the ages. It is projected to be so good that sportsbooks have favored Khabib but have lower odds for exactly how he is going to win since his opponent is one of the best arguably Khabib has ever faced. Odds are also projected from 8.5 to 1 to go the distance.
*odds subject to change – via William Hill
Justifying The Distance Odds
If you take a look at the stats, you see that Khabib has an average fight time of 13:56. So you can already tell from his track record and resume that he has 10 decision victories and has figured out how to last all through the rounds when needed. Khabib takes his time and turns the fight into his favor.
Ferguson has an average fight time of 10:04. His fights usually last until about the second or third rounds and he has five decision victories. With his quick and aggressive style, he has finished fights in a blink of an eye. If the fight goes his way, odds are this fight will not go the distance.
By averaging both fighters’ length of fight time together for this one, it comes out to 12 minutes. With this in mind, you can expect to see this fight make it at least to the third round. Khabib can make it that far for sure, but can Ferguson last that long?
Factors That Impact Going The Distance
With the odds the way they are now, you have about a 8.5 to 1 chance that it will go the distance. Digging deeper into it, it is projected that Khabib will win most likely in the form of a decision victory with odds at +200 for that scenario. Vegas seems to favor Khabib with the distance and the decision victory. Rightfully so, Khabib’s wrestling and wear on his opponents makes perfect sense for these odds.
However, if Ferguson has anything to say about it then you will see these odds getting junked. He is going to go for the knockout win or anything that involves a quick win, so if he manages to land a significant strike then this fight ends within the first few rounds. You can also expect Ferguson to want to keep the fight standing, with his significant strikes taking almost 90 percent of his strikes landed.
Another factor that impacts this fight going all the way is the takedown defense of these two. Khabib has a takedown defense of 85 percent while Ferguson has his at 77 percent. Both of these numbers are relatively high, so one could argue that neither one of them will be able to successfully take down the other. At least not take them down as often as their stats imply, meaning this fight could last longer and make it the distance.
Why This One Goes All The Way
I am going to assume that Khabib, based off of his resume and stats, that he is going to win this fight and make it go the distance. The reason behind this is simple; Khabib is a grinder and Ferguson is a finisher.
Wrestlers like Khabib tend to wear and tear on opponents. He does not just only wear you down physically, but wears you down spiritually. It is almost as if he enjoys more of his opponents breaking down versus breaking the body. He has greatly improved on his striking ability over the course of his career and that just adds icing to the cake. If Khabib can keep his position dominant, then he will succeed in making this last longer than Ferguson wants it to.
Ferguson is what you call a finisher. Although the attempts are risky, the reward is obviously a submission win. Since Khabib will look to take down Ferguson often, Ferguson will need a plan once he gets a position on Khabib. When the moment strikes, Ferguson could deliver a nasty D’arce Choke. With his reach advantage, he has long enough arms to wrap Khabib up and make this end quickly.
I look for both of these guys to be aggressive on the ground, especially Khabib. They both are some of the best well-versed grapplers we have in the sport today. With a little over five takedowns every 15 minutes you can bet that Khabib will make every opportunity to wear on Ferguson.
On the other side, I think that Ferguson will be chaotic and look to submit Khabib at every opportunity. With these odds being the way they are, I would assume a safe bet on Khabib for a victory. He has the stamina and technique on the ground to make this fight last to the distance.