The main event of the UFC on FOX 11 preliminary card is a three-round lightweight matchup between top contenders Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov and Rafael dos Anjos. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Nurmagomedov as a -250 favorite (bet $250 to win $100) while dos Anjos is a +230 underdog (bet $100 to win $230). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Nurmagomedov at -175 and dos Anjos at +135, meaning there has been heavy action on Nurmagomedov. I agree with the action coming in on Nurmagomedov as I’m taking the Russian to win this fight. Here’s why. Nurmagomedov (21-0) is undefeated and is quickly becoming one of the most popular lightweight fighters in the UFC. The 25-year-old Russian is 5-0 in the UFC so far with wins over Pat Healy, Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo and Kamal Shalorus. As well, Nurmagomedov also holds a notable win over Bellator’s Shahbulat Shamhalaev. He has excellent wrestling, underrated knockout power, and also solid submissions. He is also pretty fast. He hasn’t really shown any flaws so far in the UFC outside of some mediocre strike defence, but training at American Kickboxing Academy he should be much improved in that department considering he hasn’t fought in eight month. Blessed with incredible strength, Nurmagomedov has unlimited potential in the sport and if he can pick up a win over dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 11, he will be very close to a title shot. Dos Anjos (20-6) has been fighting in the UFC since 2008 and is 9-4 in the Octagon with notable wins over Donald Cerrone, Evan Dunham, Anthony Njokuani, Mark Bocek, Robert Emerson and George Sotiropoulos. He is a BJJ black belt and his grappling skills are what stands out, but he’s shown improved striking in recent bouts and has really improved his standup under Master Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA. Currently riding a five-fight win streak, dos Anjos looks like a contender in the lightweight division but he needs to get a stoppage win to prove he’s a contender, which is easier said than done against Nurmagomedov. In order to get this victory, dos Anjos will have to stop the takedown, keep the fight standing, and either knock Nurmagomedov out or outpoint him en route to a decision. Can he do that? We’ll have to wait and find out when these two lightweight studs square off in the cage this Saturday at UFC on FOX 11. Although RDA has solid takedown defence, I don’t think anyone at 155 pounds can stop Nurmagomedov’s takedowns. I see “The Eagle” landing a number of vicious slams in this fight as he outwrestles dos Anjos en route to a unanimous decision victory. At -250, I think the line on Nurmagomedov is just about right and I’m tempted to put him in a parlay. I definitely think RDA is a solid fighter but Nurmagomedov is a bad matchup for him and I’m pretty confident he wins here. I also think there could be some value on the prop by Nurmagomedov wins by decision at +107 as I don’t see him being able to finish RDA.
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