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UFC 189 betting tips – 3 best bets for UFC 189 Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor


Conor McGregor (credit: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

After months of hype UFC 189 finally takes place this weekend, and Leigh Copson has gone over the night’s action to pick out his three best bets for the card main-evented by the interim featherweight title fight between Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor…
UFC 189 was supposed to be headlined by a featherweight title showdown between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor, but those plans were wiped out when the champion suffered a rib injury in training, and it was two-time title challenger Mendes who stepped up to fill the void, agreeing to face McGregor for the interim belt.

But that is not the only title fight on the card, because Robbie Lawler defends his UFC welterweight title for the first time when he takes on Rory MacDonald. There is also another key fight at 170lbs as Brandon Thatch and Gunnar Nelson aim to get back on track following defeats.

So will McGregor leave Las Vegas with a UFC belt? Will MacDonald avenge a previous defeat to Lawler that derailed his quest for the welterweight title? And will Thatch rebound from his February loss at the hands of ex-lightweight champion Benson Henderson? Leigh answers those questions with his three best bets for UFC 189…


Another title fight, another withdrawal by Jose Aldo. The Brazilian suffered a rib injury in training for his showdown with McGregor and despite getting the green light to fight from the doctors, the featherweight champion pulled out of the bout with less than two weeks to go, leaving his challenger facing the prospect of facing a very different fighter in the form of Mendes.

The big question is, how will McGregor handle this change in opponent because it would not shock me if it emerged Mendes has been scouting and preparing for the Irishman for some time? Aldo and Mendes are two vastly different fighters, but McGregor insists he never prepares for his opponent, he merely prepares himself to be the best fighter he can be on the night, and while some would question that approach, it could work in his favour because he will not be hung on the change.

For Mendes it is simple, he must get McGregor to the mat. However, the Irishman’s stand-up is perfect to counter the America. McGregor is excellent at fighting from range and that distance should allow him to see any takedown attempts that are coming. That rapier-like left hand will find a home and at some point McGregor will land the decisive blow. However, Mendes has shown he can hang in there with great strikers – see the Aldo rematch – so I am playing safe and simply backing McGregor to win this one.


Robbie Lawler’s return to the UFC has been nothing but spectacular. ‘Ruthless’ has won six of his seven fights with the biggest of those victories coming when the 33-year-old ripped the welterweight title away from Johny Hendricks, who had beaten him when the two men met for the belt the first time around.

Lawler now makes his first defence of the title on July 11 and it is against familiar opposition in Rory MacDonald. Lawler halted MacDonald’s rise when he registered a split decision win over the Canadian back in November 2013, and I fancy the champions’ chances of dashing his opponent’s title dream once again at UFC 189. Lawler is looking better than ever and his excellent stand-up skills – and power – will be the decisive factor in ensuring he stays champion.


Brandon Thatch turned plenty of heads as he demolished Justin Edwards and Paulo Thiago in short order in his first two UFC outings, but the 29-year-old suffered a setback when he lost to Benson Henderson last time out. However, there is no shame in losing to the former lightweight champion, who is one of the finest fighters on the planet, and I expect him to bounce back at UFC 189.

Gunnar Nelson suffered the first defeat of his career when he faced Rick Story last October, and I feel he could be in for another blow here. The laid-back Icelandic welterweight likes to feel his way into a fight and Thatch is not the sort of person to let that happen. A fast-starter, Thatch will look to impose himself on this fight early on and it would not surprise me to see him catch Nelson cold and finish him off.

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