If you’re a betting man (or woman) you may have noticed a startling turnaround in the last two weeks regarding Saturday’s UFC 189 main event.
No, I don’t mean the change in personnel. Not exactly, anyway…
A few weeks ago, Conor McGregor had surprised many by ending up the betting favorite against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Aldo, one of the UFC’s most dominant champions, has not lost a bout since November 2005 — including 14 straight wins under the UFC/WEC banner. In contrast, McGregor has barely 19 fights to his name, but the brash Irishman has certainly been impressive of late.
However, it was “all academic” (as they say) when Aldo announced he had to pull out of the bout — and Chad Mendes was scheduled to fight McGregor in an interim title affair instead.
Mendes, who has twice lost to Aldo, was a slight betting favorite:
Chad Mendes (-135) v. Conor McGregor (+105). #UFC189
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) July 1, 2015
The line didn’t seem crazy or anything. While McGregor has looked spectacular in recent bouts, he hasn’t fought anyone with a wrestling-based attack; and the two-time NCAA All-American Mendes would seem to offer some real match-up problems.
But — that’s changed. Big time.
McGregor has moved to -210 at MGM. Mendes on the flip at +170.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) July 9, 2015
Granted, that’s at the MGM Grand — which may be deluged by Irish bettors who have come to support McGregor with both their hearts and their wallets.
It’s not just that, thought. A trip to BestFightOdds.com shows the line isn’t far off. BetDSI and Bovada both have McGregor at -190.
The question is, does this reflect a warrented respect for McGregor’s ability, or is it a simple case of trash talk paying off?