The opening main card bout at UFC 181 is a three-round lightweight bout between Tony Ferguson and Abel Trujillo. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Ferguson is a -250 favorite (bet $250 to win $100) while Trujillo is a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win $210). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Ferguson at -245 and Trujillo at +175, and the betting public likes Ferguson in this matchup so far. I agree with Ferguson being the favorite in this fight. Here’s why. Ferguson (16-3) is emerging as one of the UFC’s premier lightweights. The 30-year-old American won TUF 13 and has since go on to achieve a 6-1 record in the UFC with wins over Danny Castillo, Katsunori Kikuno, Mike Rio, Yves Edwards, Aaron Riley and Ramsey Nijem with his lone loss coming to Michael Johnson. Ferguson is a well-rounded fighter weight good boxing technique and power in his hands, underrated wrestling, and a wicked ground game. He is currently riding a three-fight win streak and is getting close to breaking out as a contender. However he will first have to get past Trujillo in what could be a dangerous fight for Ferguson. He will have a big advantage if he takes the fight to the mat, but if it stays standing he’ll be at risk of being knocked out by Trujillo. His fight IQ will play a huge part in his success in this fight, and we’ll find out next weekend whether or not he will fight smart this time around, because he didn’t fight smart in his last fight with Castillo and was lucky to get by with a split decision win. Trujillo (12-5, 1 NC) is quickly climbing the UFC lightweight ranks. The 31-year-old American is 3-1, 1 NC in the UFC with wins over Jamie Varner, Roger Bowling and Marcus LeVesseur and a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Trujillo is extremely aggressive and throws every strike with violent intentions. He has one-punch knockout power, proving it with a brutal knockout over Varner in his last fight. The problem with Trujillo is his wrestling isn’t up to par, and he’s been taken down in almost all of his fights. Nurmagomedov is a beast no doubt, but he scored over 20 takedowns against Trujillo. And Varner took him down in his last fight before he mistakenly started to engage Trujillo on the feet. Ferguson doesn’t have the wrestling of Nurmagomedov, but he should have the advantage over Trujillo, so his key to victory will be to stop the takedown. He hasn’t been able to in the past, but if he’s been drilling his takedown defence during his layoff he could present Ferguson with some problems if he could keep this fight standing. It’s an intriguing matchup for sure, and we’ll find out soon who the better man is. If this fight stays standing I think Trujillo is going to be at the advantage because of his power, although I do think Ferguson could have the technical edge. But as we saw in the Varner and Nurmagomedov fights, Trujillo doesn’t have good takedown defence and Ferguson is an underrated wrestler who I think can get this fight to the mat. And on the mat, he’s going to have a huge edge, and I think he can score a submission win. I do like Ferguson here but Trujillo’s power is hard to bet against, so at a high line of -250, I’ll pass on Ferguson, although like I said I do expect him to win the fight.
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