The opening main card bout at UFC 184 is a three-round lightweight bout between Tony Ferguson and Gleison Tibau. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Ferguson is a -220 favorite (bet $220 to win $100) while Tibau is a +180 underdog (bet $100 to win $180). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Ferguson at -210 and Tibau at +160, and the slight lean from the bettors so far is toward Ferguson. I agree that Ferguson should be the favorite as I really like him to get the win this weekend. Here’s why. Ferguson (17-3) is one of the most underrated lightweight fighters in the UFC. The 31-year-old American is 7-1 overall in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win streak with victories over Danny Castillo, Mike Rio, Abel Trujillo and Katsunori Kikuno. Ferguson won TUF 13 and has never looked back since winning the show, with his only loss coming to Michael Johnson in the last six years. Ferguson is an extremely well-rounded fighter. He has a dangerous striking attack as he uses a long reach and knockout power to defeat his foes, and he also has the wrestling to decide where his fights take place in most cases. He also has an incredible submission game when on the ground. His cardio and chin are also superb. I think Ferguson has all the tools to make a run for the lightweight title, but he needs that marquee win to put him in the top 15 first, and a win over Tibau this weekend would certainly qualify. Tibau (33-10) is one of the longest-tenured members of the UFC lightweight division. The 31-year-old Brazilian is 17-8 in his illustrious, underrated UFC career that began back in 2006, having defeated the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Norman Parke, Piotr Hallmann, Pat Healy, Jamie Varner and Jeremy Stephens over the years. Tibau is one of the best grinders in the game. He is one of the biggest lightweights in the division and uses his size to bully opponents around the cage and take them to the mat. His striking is mediocre, but his wrestling is so good that it often doesn’t matter. His wrestling is solid both offensively and defensively meaning he is more often than not the one that dictates where the fight goes. However, while he is a solid grinder, he is always involved in close, competitive fights, and three of his last four wins are by split decision. At some point, the judges may go against him, as his style is hit or miss. He also has poor cardio and his chin isn’t the greatest. If he can take Ferguson down and hold him on the floor he has the potential for the upset, but if he can’t do that and this fight stays standing he could be in a lot of trouble, and that’s why you see the line the way it is. I’m really high on Ferguson and I believe he will continue his winning streak with another convincing victory over Tibau. Tibau is a great grinder and has been one of the most successful lightweight fighters in the history of the sport, but I just feel like it’s Ferguson’s time, and I think he’s going to look great in this fight. He has the edges in striking, submissions, and cardio, so unless he gets put on his back for three rounds, I don’t see how he loses this fight. I actually feel like there’s some value on Ferguson at the current line as I fully expect him to keep this fight on the feet and win by either knockout or decision, and so I definitely will be betting him this weekend.
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