Oct 3, 2017
Oct 3, 2017

UFC 216: Ferguson vs. Lee betting preview

UFC 216: Ferguson vs. Lee betting preview

On October 7, the UFC returns to Nevada for UFC 216. Lightweight #2 challenger Tony Ferguson takes on #7 challenger Kevin Lee in a fight that will likely play a major role in the future championship picture. Below, we take a look the factors to consider for Ferguson vs. Lee betting.

Live Ferguson vs. Lee odds

A note on the co-main event

After Demetrious Johnson’s bout against Ray Borg at UFC 215 was scratched and moved to this card, they were only given co-main event billing despite Johnson having defended his belt ten times.

{CTA link} Johnson vs. Borg betting preview

UFC 216 is a co-main event because the investment in promoting Ferguson vs. Lee had already been made. However, it’s surely a sign that the #1 pound for pound fighter in the game isn’t a great PPV drawing card. That said, since we previewed the would-be UFC 215 headliner, you’ll want to have a look at our thoughts on that pairing here.

Ferguson vs. Lee odds: A wait for the right fight?

The lightweight division is in flux. Conor McGregor is clearly the star of the show, but he’s been more interested in other things of late. #1 challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov seemingly has little time for anyone else; three times he’s been scheduled to fight #2 challenger Tony Ferguson and three times he’s withdrawn due to injury. 

Ferguson’s only been submitted once, eight years ago, and he’s coming off a win against dos Anjos, himself a BJJ black belt.

Nurmagomedov, it seems, recognizes the earning potential of a title fight and won’t be endangering it to anyone but a title holder. 

Nurmagomedov’s dancing has forced Ferguson to wait. It’s been eleven months since the former Ultimate Fighter winner has fought, looking to extend his nine-fight win streak (all in the UFC). Finally, after too many cancellations to keep track of, it seems he’s ready for his next challenge in the form of Kevin Lee. 

Ranked #7 in the division, Lee is a firm up-and-comer facing a huge opportunity. This marks the first time Lee has headlined a card, with Ferguson representing a huge upgrade in competition (he’s never fought a fighter in the top 10 seeds).

Lee is riding his own five-fight win streak, the 25-year old needs this kind of notch in his belt if he’s to be looked upon as a serious contender. As far as Ferguson is concerned, this is a payday and a chance to remind people of the bigger opportunities he’s clearly earned.

Ferguson vs. Lee betting: Recent odds

Tony Ferguson’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Tony Ferguson’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle

Name (date)

Open

Highest

Lowest

Close

Result

Rafael dos Anjos (05/11/2016)

2.20

2.29

2.19

2.29

Win

Landon Vannata (13/07/2016)

1.21

1.21

1.14

1.15

Win

Edson Barboza (11/12/2015)

1.94

1.94

1.53

1.72

Win

Kevin Lee’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:

Kevin Lee’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle

Name (date)

Open

Highest

Lowest

Close

Result

Michael Chiesa (25/06/2017)

1.89

1.94

1.63

1.63

Win

Francisco Trinaldo (11/03/2017)

1.89

1.89

1.52

1.59

Win

Magomed Mustafaev (19/11/2016)

1.89

2.01

1.68

1.68

Win

The trend that stands out from these charts is the way the market has moved towards Lee. In each of his last three fights, he opened as only a marginal favourite, only to see the markets move sharply towards him, so betting earlier might be better.

That said, Ferguson has seen similar action in two of his three fights, with only the pairing against former champion dos Anjos seeing the market move away from him.

Tale of the tape

Ferguson vs. Lee betting: Tale of the tape

Tony Ferguson

Kevin Lee

5’11”

Height

5’9”

155 lbs

Weight

155 lbs

76.5”

Reach

77”

22-3

Record

18-2

9

Wins by KO

1

8

Wins by Sub

8

0

Losses by KO

1

1

Losses by Sub

0

Ferguson vs. Lee odds: The match-up

This match-up looks to be a classic contrast of styles. Ferguson can win via submission but he comes from a knockout background, while submissions are Lee’s bread and butter. The likelihood here is that the fight will feature Ferguson trying to keep things standing as long as possible, and Lee suffering from it if Ferguson is successful.

The year Ferguson’s been off, his age (33), and Lee’s extreme fighting style are all reasons to wonder about how sure a thing a Ferguson victory is.

Ferguson prefers to fight with flurried fists, landing a high 5.33 SLpM through a low (42%) accuracy rate. He uses his length well in this capacity, absorbing only two-thirds of the blows his opponents do and defending strikes 65% of the time. Lee, by comparison, lands 3.60 SLpM with the same accuracy as Ferguson and likes to keep his distance in defence.

The ground is a different story. Both fighters score takedowns on a touch over 40% of attempts, but Lee reaches those numbers through huge effort expended; he averages 3.5 takedowns every 15 minutes compared to Ferguson’s 0.7. Strangely, despite those differences, they’ve both averaged 1.5 submissions for every 25 minutes they’ve fought in their careers.

Ferguson vs. Lee betting: Who will win?

The year Ferguson’s been off, his age (33), and Lee’s extreme fighting style are all reasons to wonder about how sure a thing a Ferguson victory is. It should be noted that Ferguson has always shown himself to be a tactical, strategic fighter though.

Ferguson will know that Lee will be looking to get him down and he won’t be worried about the crowd’s reaction if he keeps things on the feet by maintaining distance. That said, Ferguson is a clear favourite so you have to wonder if there might be value in Lee. 

Ultimately, you need to answer one question before betting on this fight: Can Lee get Ferguson down? However, Ferguson’s only been submitted once, eight years ago, and he’s coming off a win against dos Anjos, himself a BJJ black belt.

If you think that’s proof enough that Ferguson will hold his ground, that’s your bet. If you think Lee brings something more than the sub-artists who came before him, take the underdog. Either way, it’s bound to be a good game of chess.

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