UFC 251, NASCAR And Pro Soccer’s Return: They’re What To Bet On This Weekend

It’s a busy weekend of sports betting in New Jersey this weekend, featuring a packed Saturday night UFC 251 card plus NASCAR’s Quaker State 400 and soccer.

The debut of UFC Fight Island, the resumption of MLS and the continuation of NASCAR mark a stacked weekend wager plate for New Jersey online betting.

It’s quite a package. And there’s an odds boost on tap, too.

So let’s dive in.

UFC: Showcase of elites

Here’s the lineup of Saturday’s fights for UFC 251, which has sparked significance with three title bouts and a couple of rematches.

Below is a closer look at the odds from DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks in NJ. Odds are as of Friday (all times are EST).

Main card: DraftKings odds (10 p.m.)

UFC main cardFightersDraftKings Odds
Welterweight titleKamara Usman vs Jorge Masvidal-230 (Usman)
+185 (Masvidal)
Featherweight titleAlexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway-215 (Volkanovski)
+170 (Holloway)
Bantamweight titlePetr Yan vs Jose Aldo-225 (Yan)
+180 (Aldo)
RematchRose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade-215 (Namajunas)
+175 (Andrade)
Opening boutAmanda Ribas vs Paige Van Zant -775 (Ribas)
+500 (Van Zant)

Top preliminary card bouts: FanDuel odds (8 p.m.)

UFC preliminary cardFightersFanDuel odds
205 lbsVolkan Oezdemir vs Jiri Prochazka-158 (Oezdemir)
+134 (Prochazka)
170 lbsMuslim Salikhov vs Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos-136 (Salikhov)
+116 (dos Santos)
145 lbsMakwan Amirkhani vs Dan Henry-215 (Amirkhani)
+180 (Henry)
155 lbsLeonardo Santos vs Roman Bogatov-178 (Santos)
+150 (Bogatov)

There are more preliminary bouts beginning at 6 p.m.

UFC fight overview

The number 6, 7 and 10 UFC pound-for-pound performers appear in the top two fights on Saturday’s card.

Usman, the number 6 pound-for-pound performer, defends his welterweight title against Masvidal.

The bout originated when Usman’s original opponent, Gilbert Burns, withdrew after testing positive for coronavirus. Masvidal had been lobbying for an Usman fight anyway, and he got it sooner than later.

Volkanovski and Holloway, the respective number 7 and 10 UFC pound-for-pound athletes, clash in a rematch. Volkanovski took away Holloway’s featherweight title with a convincing decision win last December.

Now Holloway wants it back from Volkanovski, a clear favorite.

Andrade vs Namajunas 2 is a rematch of an earlier Andrade victory, yet Andrade is a decided underdog. Both fighters are former strawweight division champions. Andrade is the number one division contender and Namajunas No. 2.

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UFC betting overview and a FanDuel odds boost

It’s been fun to watch the procession of betting all week in the main event.

Usman stood at -265 early in the week at DraftKings Sportsbook. But the money came in on Masvidal. The odds dropped again, to -225, and still more money, 67% of the handle and 57% of the bets, went down on Masvidal.

Odds dropped to -200 and, bingo, here came the Usman money, spiking the wager to -250. By Friday, it was -230.

Bettors have certain floors and ceilings they use to determine when to place a wager. That was showcased here.

Usman is considered a distance fighter, while Masvidal is aggressive and comes off a TKO victory against Nate Diaz in November.

Volkanovski is -110 at DraftKings for a repeat decision win, and Holloway is +275 to turn the tables and regain his title by decision.

The Namajunas–Andrade odds are striking. Andrade won their first encounter with a second-round knockout but remains a sizable underdog. Namajunas has been receiving about two-thirds of the money.

Bettors aren’t convinced that Andrade, who overcame being dominated in the first round before stopping Namajunas, can do it again.

Andrade being overlooked is a gift for her backers. FanDuel Sportsbook opened at Namajunas -200, and it got as low as -178 before jumping up to -190 on Friday. At DraftKings, she jumped to -215 on Friday.

Andrade is +175 at DraftKings and +160 at FanDuel as of Friday.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings have excellent odds boosts and promo enticements. In fact, FanDuel has a huge odds boost that’s worth a look for new sportsbook users. Here are the details:

  • 25/1 odds on any fighter to win their championship bout
  • $5 max bet required
  • Available in-app only

Once the new user registers, they will get a pop-up directing them to download the FanDuel Sportsbook app to claim the odds boost. The offer will appear on the user’s profile once they make a deposit.

There’s no reason not to chip in $5 for a chance at these odds.

MLS kicks into gear with abbreviated tournament

How much did you miss it?

Major League Soccer, aka MLS, returned this week, and here’s a game to get New Jersey sports betting fans back in the groove.

Saturday’s New York Red Bulls–Atlanta United game will draw interest, and DraftKings offers a packed slate of odds.

The Red Bulls are +255 on the moneyline against Atlanta, which is -104.

If the Red Bulls don’t produce the most goals, how about the most corners? That would be +190 for them and -175 for Atlanta. A tie in that department is +650.

The first goal? Atlanta is -175, the Red Bulls are +123.

Over 2.5 goals combined for the contest is -167.

There is a litany of correct score projections. A scoreless tie is +1400.

From the Atlanta perspective, a 2-1 loss is 10-1. A 2-1 win is +700.

There are numerous goal-scoring props for individual players, too. We won’t go into detail on that here, but suffice it to say, there are plenty of betting opportunities on MLS this weekend.

The MLS is Back Tournament is the first time the league is slated to play since the season was suspended due to COVID-19 on March 12. It kicked off July 8 and will run until Aug. 11.

The entirety of this tournament will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports, where 54 matches (39 group stage, 15 knockout round) will be played.

All 26 MLS teams will be participating in the event, where the minimum of matches per club is set at three and the maximum is seven per finalist.

NASCAR betting: Are props where it’s at?

Kevin Harvick is doing something unusual with NASCAR. He’s moving the line.

The red-hot driver has captured two of the last three events, and his odds are dropping before the Quaker State 400 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Harvick is +375 at FanDuel and +400 at DraftKings to win. He started the week at +575. Bettors who booked that early will be happy they got a deal.

Shoppers for Chase Elliott will see him at +800 at DraftKings, +550 at FanDuel. Denny Hamlin is +650 at DraftKings, +550 at Fan Duel.

Most of the top drivers are in negative numbers for a Top 10 finish (you are laying money on them and getting less than even money), so props may be a good source to bet.

Top manufacturers and top finishes in a group of four also provide betting allure by producing several races within the race.

With that in mind, Harvick’s hot streak propelled him to the top of the NASCAR driver standings. They look like this:

DriverScore
Kevin Harvick637
Chase Elliott552
Brad Keselowski549
Ryan Blaney534
Denny Hamlin528

And here are the manufacturers’ standings:

ManufacturerScore
Ford599
Toyota558
Chevrolet537

Some associations: Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney drive for Ford. Elliott is the top driver for Chevrolet. Hamlin is Toyota’s top threat.

Two of these sports — NASCAR and UFC — have thrived on repeated exposure and betting interest since their returns in May. MLS has a solid foundation with bettors and is enjoying its return to play.

And there’s more to come, with MLB and NBA planning late July resumptions.

Sports betting in NJ is finally on an upswing.

NASCAR, UFC And Soccer At NJ Sportsbooks: They’re What To Bet On This Weekend

The PGA Tour RBC Heritage golf tournament is in full swing, but don’t let that stop you from betting on NASCAR’s Geico 500 or Saturday’s UFC fight.

In early May, gamblers were starved for live events.

Now there’s a stacked weekend lineup for New Jersey online betting, regardless of what occurs in other sports.

A new niche — NASCAR, UFC and soccer, primarily Bundesliga — has emerged via consistent event scheduling since mid-May.

The English Premier League is back and will spike soccer action, too.

Yes, we know that the PGA Tour is back in action, with the RBC Heritage golf tournament in full swing. But let’s look beyond golf betting to a busy slate of other betting options ahead.

So without further ado, here’s what to bet on this weekend in New Jersey.

NASCAR Geico 500 betting in NJ

NASCAR holds its ninth Cup Series event since returning May 17.

The Geico 500 occurs Sunday at 3 p.m. on Fox from Talladega Speedway in Alabama.

The top drivers have been consistently in the money, with victories spread around.

For this week, at DraftKings Sportsbook (all odds as of June 18):

Chase Elliott, who has been consistent since NASCAR resumed a month ago, is the co-favorite.

Elliott is +900 to win, +275 for a top 3 finish.

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have the same numbers.

Denny Hamlin is +1000 to win and +300 for the top 3.

Ryan Blaney is +1200 and +350 for the top 3.

New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. is 16-1 and +450 for the top 3.

Head-to-head prop matchups are also popular. Kyle Busch vs Kevin Harvick is -115 either way.

Busch, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champ, has been underperforming relative to his odds. He was favored in the first set of NASCAR return races but hasn’t been in the top tier.

He’s becoming more of an underdog, reflecting recent performance.

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Top car manufacturer driver odds

The top manufacturer provides a betting sideshow. It’s a race inside the race, with bettors selecting the best individual Chevy, Ford or Toyota driver.

Elliott is +350 as the top Chevy driver at Talladega.

Keselowski and Logano are both +400 to head the Ford group. Harvick, interestingly, is +650.

Hamlin is +175 and Busch +225 for Toyota. Martin Truex Jr. is + 325.

At FanDuel, backers of Keselowski and Elliott find them at +1000, along with Hamlin and Logano. More wagering possibilities may arrive on that site closer to race time.

The shuffling NASCAR leaderboard

The standings for the top drivers are bunched. The leaders have been dependable for the bettors as Top 10 wagers.

  • Harvick leads the way with 463 points.
  • Elliott holds second with 455.
  • Logano is third with 434.

Keselowski has 412 for fourth. He has been a pleasant surprise for bettors relative to his odds since the circuit returned. Keselowski has been paying well.

Blaney is fifth with 411 points.

Elliott shows the way with five stages led, while Alex Bowman has four. Logano and Hamlin have three apiece.

This wager comes into view at PlaySugarHouse.com. The online book has the prop of any driver to win both stage 1 and 2 as +650 for yes and -1430 for no.

In the eight NASCAR competitions since the return of May 17, this is how the top drivers have fared:

  • Harvick — 2 wins
  • Hamlin — 2 wins
  • Keselowski — 2 wins
  • Elliott —  1 win

Martin Truex Jr. has one win—and New Jersey roots.

He grew up in Stafford Township, graduated from Southern Regional High School in 1998 and is the son of Martin Truex Sr., a former race winner in the Busch North Series.

Truex Jr. began his racing career driving go-karts at the New Egypt Speedway.

UFC: Another week, another card

The UFC has cranked out show after show since May 9. And NJ online gambling sites are pretty pleased with the betting turnout.

The next installment, on Saturday, features heavyweight Curtis Blaydes as a prohibitive favorite (-440 and rising) as he opposes Alexander Volkov (+320 at FanDuel as of Thursday).

The prelims begin at 6 p.m., the main card at 9 p.m., available at ESPN +.

Blaydes is ranked number three in the heavyweight division and Volkov is seventh, yet the odds remain large.

Blaydes also is prohibitive on the win line at -455 at DraftKings.

Bettors will have to survey the angles to find a wager here.

If you like to play off of what the board suggests, the bout is -430 to go the distance at FanDuel.

Combine Blaydes’ big odds and the over-under distance, and the early bettors expect a KO/TKO for Blaydes. He is -140 for that at FanDuel.

But if you want to try to guess the round, he is +280 for round one, +500 for round two and +900 for round three.

Volkov backers will seek the moneyline but may take a prop stab with him being +1300 for round one, +1300 for round 2 and +3600 for round three victories.

Blaydes has been a buzzsaw against anyone not named Francis Ngannou, who has beaten him twice.

Otherwise, Blaydes has won eight of his last nine, including a triumph over world-ranked Alistair Overeem. He comes off a second-round TKO of Junior dos Santos in January.

Volkov is less experienced in the UFC at 5-1. He scored a decision win over Greg Hardy in November.

Other events in UFC on Saturday

The co-main event is a featherweight showdown between No. 8 Josh Emmett and No. 10 Shane Burgos. Despite the lower ranking, Burgos is listed at -143 and Emmett +115 at DraftKings.

Three other fights mark the main card. Raquel Pennington is -170 vs Marion Reneau, +138, at DraftKings.

Belal Muhammad is -144 vs Lyman Good +118, at FanDuel.

Roosevelt Roberts is -240 at both books against Jim Miller, who ranges between +195 and +192.

Soccer betting variety pack

English Premier League is back!

What you need to know is that it’s Liverpool and then everybody else in this 20-team soccer pack. What’s more difficult is finding value at NJ sportsbooks.

When Liverpool plays, it usually lays close to -200, and opponents are often +400 and up.

In Bundesliga, Bayern Munich has won eight straight titles. It takes on Freiburg on Saturday.

RB Leipzig and Dortmund, the second- and third-best teams, are in action Saturday.

All games are at 9:30 a.m. FS1 carries Bayern-Munich, and FS2 has RB Leipzig-Dortmund.

And of course, for all the events listed above (including the PGA Tour), there are no spectators. So don’t expect to hear the roar of the crowd.

The UFC is Back To Back To Back

Gamblers prepare to pause, reflect and bet as the unprecedented three-card whirlwind continues this week with the UFC.

Cards occur Wednesday and Saturday from Jacksonville, FL, the site of Saturday’s first leg in the trilogy. It’s an eight-day, three-event, once-in-a-lifetime marathon, making up for COVID 19-driven postponements.

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UFC pulls out all the stops

  • On Wednesday, Anthony Smith is a -165 favorite against Glover Teixeira, +135, in the main event at DraftKings Sportsbook.
  • On Saturday, Walt Harris is -155 against Alistair Overeem, +130, in the headliner, according to FanDuel.

Each main event has a multi-fight supporting card.

Here are the top 10 bouts by wagering handle post-UFC 249, according to DraftKings, at the beginning of this week.

All fights are Wednesday unless noted. Odds and bouts are subject to change.

Top bout handle, in order

  • Drew Dober -125 vs. Alexander Hernandez +100
  • Ovince St Preux -167 vs. Ben Rothwell +138
  • Anthony Smith -165 vs. Glover Teixeira +135
  • Phillipe Lins – 152 vs. Andrei Arlovski +125
  • Amanda Nunes -500 vs. Felicia Spencer +375  (June 6)
  • Sijara Eubanks -360 vs. Sarah Moras +275
  • Thiago Moises -125 vs. Michael Johnson +100
  • Mike Davis -225 vs. Giga Chikadze, 175 (Saturday)
  • Rickey Simon -165 vs.  Ray Borg +130
  • Krzysztof Jotko -143 vs. Eryk Anders +115 (Saturday)
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UFC total bets

The St. Preux versus Rothwell fight has taken the most number of tickets.

Most of the top wagered fights appear on both lists. But there are a couple of instances of bouts that have simply attracted a lot of wagers.

They include Marvin Vettori, -165, versus Karl Roberson, +135; and Hunter Azure, -182, versus Brian Kelleher, +145, on Wednesday.

Darren Elkins -118, and Nate Landwehr -106, have garnered significant attention for their Saturday battle. Both, ironically, are slight favorites.

Prop bets will be updated throughout the week by the sportsbooks.

There are no title fights on these cards. This is the second tier of top UFC performers, clawing for the next rung on the outfit’s rankings ladder. Fortunately for UFC fans, the organization is deep enough to supply 30 fights in just more than a week.

Other sports will copy this model. NASCAR is unfurling seven events in 11 days to make up for lost events starting Saturday.

What’s unique about the Wednesday and Saturday cards is the parity in the matchups.

More of these are attractive to gamblers straight on the moneyline. If you take the favorite, you are not laying prohibitive odds. Almost all of them are less than 2-1, and many are in the -100 to -150 range. Giving odds that translate to 7-5 or 3-2 may not be too much to ask for backers of the chalk.

If you take the dog, odds suggest a reasonable chance to win.

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Let’s look at some of the bigger matchups

  • On Wednesday, Smith is 33-14 and ranked third in the UFC light-heavyweight division.
    • His last fight was a June 2019 victory over Alexander Gustafsson by submission via rear-naked choke.

Smith’s previous fight was a decision loss to division champion Jon Jones in March 2019.

  • Teixeira is 30-7 and has won three consecutive fights since a 2018 setback to Corey Anderson. He is ranked eighth in the division.

Harris defeated Aleksei Oleinik by first-round knockout in his previous fight, last July. It took all of 12 seconds. He is ninth in the heavyweight division rankings.

Overeem was beaten by Jairzinho Rozenstsruik by knockout last December. He stands eighth in the division ratings.

Several fighters are changing weight division on Saturday, including Edson Barboza moving to the featherweight division to oppose Dan Ige.

  • Barboza is the No. 11 lightweight, according to UFC rankings.
    • He has lost four of the last five, including setbacks to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

Ige is the No. 15 featherweight.

FanDuel checks in with Barboza at -124 and Ige at +103 for Saturday.

This is intriguing because the matchup pits ranked fighters. And one is coming down a division, which is often a disadvantage. But the betting line reveals faith in both fighters.

Dober and Hernandez have gained significant wagering attention. Dober has won his last two since a submission setback to Beneil Dariush in 2019.

Hernandez scored a July 2019 decision victory over Francisco Trinaldo after being stopped by Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earlier in the year.

St. Preux is favored at 146 at FanDuel despite moving up in weight. He has lost three of the last five.

Rothwell, +124, snapped a three-fight losing streak in his last bout.

Given the unique scheduling situation, action has come flying in on both cards.

Bet MGM has a loaded lineup of fights, with some slight differences for those who want to odds shop before the props arrive.

Kelleher is +145 and Azure is -182.

Johnson, -115, and Moises are both minus bets, a rare situation of two fighters being favored.

Wednesday features the same scenario, with Darren Elkins at -115 and Nate Landwehr at -106.

UFC: The new normal

It was back Saturday, with participants embracing the new flow of an event without spectators.

Sam Alvey did an air high-five to the imaginary crowd as he walked out for the opening bout against Ryan Spann.

Punches and kicks could be heard, not merely seen.

Fighters communicated with their trainers and actually made some adjustments during the bouts. They were not drowned out by the crowd.

Alvey and Spann locked in a really good one. Alvey won a split decision, which usually draws a mixed, vocal crowd reaction. But not this time.

The absence of spectators also dulled a significant announcement. After Henry Cejudo dismantled Dominick Cruz in the co-main event, he abruptly retired. There was no crowd to give him a standing ovation and no audience for him to share a few words.

But on it went.

Random tweets from viewers popped across the screen as the announce team got some graphic support.

Corner men wore masks. Post-fight selfies involved the fighter who did not don one flanked by two of his assistants who did. Participants adjusted to the situation.

Overachievers

Favorites did well, by and large, but this was not a “Chalkover.” 

Underdog Justin Gaethje is +150 at most books, throttled by Tony Ferguson to win the interim lightweight title.

He tossed the belt aside afterward, saying he wants the real one and he’ll get that chance with an expected fall showdown against reigning titleholder Nurmagomedov.

Aleksei Oleinik tabbed a big score for dog bettors, snaring a split decision from Fabricio Werdum at +265. Werdum was -355.

There was just enough for everyone. The main event was exciting and packed a surprise. Oleinik provided a second significant upset and otherwise, the favorites thrived as expected.

Dana White Pulls Off The Impossible: A Stacked UFC 249 Set For May 9

UFC 249 … take two. 

UFC 249 shows the resilience of the organization and its president Dana White.

dana white ufc 249

Shrugging off the abrupt cancellation of the April 18 card, which was originally set for New York and later in California, White announced unheard of triple-hitter bouts on May 9, 13 and 16.

White also said the UFC could be back on its original schedule in a couple of months.

The NJ online sportsbooks delivered odds nearly as fast as Conor McGregor’s 40-second victory in his last fight.

In almost no time, odds went up at most NJ gambling sites for the May 9 event in Jacksonville, FL. Tony Ferguson is still favored against Justin Gaethje in the main event, contested for the interim lightweight championship.

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The winner will presumably fight division champ Khabib Nurmagomedov in September or October.

Odds change little between major books like DraftKings, FanDuel and PlaySugarHouse. All of them jumped on the chance to expand their prop board, however, to offer some unique plays.

Here’s a sample from FanDuel:

  • Ferguson to win by knockout or TKO is +260.
  • For Gaethje, the number is +190.
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Are you new to UFC betting, compared with boxing? A submission has the same effect as a knockout or technical knockout, but it’s a separate betting item. A fight ending in submission is a losing bet on the knockout/technical knockout line.

But you can take a combo, what’s known as a double chance, with reduced odds. 

Here’s how that plays out:

ufc 249

Other props include how the fight ends: knockout, submission or points. Will it go the distance, yes or no?

  • The “no” bets have it here at -750.
  • There’s also an over/under for the fight, which is 2.5.

Ferguson, 25-3, has the UFC lightweight division record of 12 consecutive wins and has not lost since 2012. Gaethje is 21-2.

With a combined 17 post-fight performance bonuses, Ferguson and Gaethje have thrilled fans like no other duo over the last several years, defeating the likes of Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza. 

Many of the other fights have a stream of props to go with them.

The co-main features former world champion Dominick Cruz making his long-awaited return to the Octagon to challenge Henry Cejudo for the UFC bantamweight crown.

Cejudo is -220 and Cruz, who has not fought since 2016, is +185.

Cejudo, the division champion, is the UFC’s third-ranked pound-for-pound top fighter. 

Prelims begin on ESPN at 6 p.m. EST. The latter fights are on pay-per-view.

Here is the rest of the card with betting odds from DraftKings. Most other books are close to these odds. What separates them is what props they want to offer.

  • Anthony Pettis -139 vs. Donald Cerrone, +117
  • Greg Hardy -182 vs. Yorgan DeCastro +152
  • Calvin Kattar -265 vs. Jeremy Stephens +211
  • Ronaldo Souza -127 vs. Uriah Hall +107 
  • Bryce Mitchell -186 vs. Charles Rosa +155
  • Carla Esparza -150 vs. Michelle Waterson +126
  • Fabricio Werdum -355 vs. Aleksei Oleinik +260
  • Francis Ngannou -286 vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik +233
  • Ryan Spann -420 vs. Sam Alvey+325
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These are unique circumstances. There are no fans allowed at the events, but that’s of little consequence to bettors. Horse racing has performed well enough during the past couple of months with no spectators.

This is an excellent audition opportunity for UFC with potential new fans and gamblers.

Besides the exciting action, the UFC will try to educate new fans about how the sport works.

Why Florida? It lifted restrictions, reclassifying sporting events, like UFC, as an essential business. This puts that state in the driver’s seat in the near future for hosting sporting events.

Jacksonville nailed all three UFC matchups in one announcement.

Beyond the odds

A number of fights carry implications beyond the result.

Ngannou is the No. 2 heavyweight and Rozenstruik is No. 6. The fight is unofficially viewed as a title eliminator for the right to oppose champion Stipe Miocic next.

Esparza is the No. 7 strawweight.  Waterson comes in at No. 8. Both fights to retain a spot in the rankings and to be taken seriously in consideration for bigger bouts.

UFC, more so than boxing, puts its top five fighters in the ring during a title bout. There are much fewer champions versus No. 15 contenders. The rankings mean more in this organization, especially the highest ones, than in boxing.

A special place for the ‘Cowboy’

donald cerrone ufc 249

Is that Donald Cerrone in the lineup, right on the heels of a 40-second loss to McGregor in January?

Yes, it is.

The “Cowboy” returns to fight Anthony Pettis in what’s very close to a must-win for his career.

Cerrone has lost three straight fights and the sudden loss to McGregor had him contemplating retirement. This is a rematch of a 2013 setback to Pettis.

A fourth straight loss would seriously damper his marquee. It is only his unique personality and mindset that places Cerrone in this event.

He accepted plunging from the headlined fight against McGregor to and undercard assignment in this one. That’s a path most fighters can’t swallow, but he did.

Cerrone is one of the most beloved UFC fighters, as he has often battled on short notice and in unfavorable situations to merely keep appearing in the lineup. He’s achieved enough financial success to be comfortable and has the most UFC wins of all fighters, 23, but suddenly looks his age, 37.

In the past week, Cowboy has:

Said he “sucked” against McGregor.

Expressed concern about staying with the younger fighters.

He joked about taking so many shots that his young children “would be reading to me.”

Cerrone also rekindled, tongue-in-cheek style, the relentless availability that’s made him a fan favorite.  We recall him popping into towns a night before a UFC main event and making himself available to White on short notice in case a fight got canceled.

He did it again this week, making himself available for all three UFC cards in the eight-day period. Cerrone was joking, we think.

It would do UFC and Cerrone well to make him a permanent part of the landscape once he retires. The Cowboy has been one of the organization’s top promoters, without officially trying. At some point, he should become an official part of the promotional team.

Final thoughts

Watch for news to trickle out about May 13 and 16 as fights become finalized.

Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira were tabbed for the 13th and Edson Barboza’s foray into the featherweight division against Dan Ige was hinted at for May 16.

But there will be much more to come.

And when it does, the books will be right there.

NJ Sportsbooks Roll Out The Red Carpet With UFC 246 Viewing Parties & Promos

Don’t miss “The Notorious” Conor McGregor vs Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. You can watch UFC 246 at a variety of NJ sportsbook viewing parties.

Yeah, it’s cold and apparently it might snow this weekend at the Jersey Shore. But c’mon, is that gonna stop anyone from seeing the return of Conor McGregor to the octagon?

You can watch UFC 246 at a variety of NJ sportsbook viewing parties.

Saturday night, the “Notorious” one is headlining UFC 246 and is facing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The decade starts with a bang as the card features 12 fights on ESPN+, including Holly Holm.

Start your weekend off with a fun night in Atlantic City and maybe grow your bankroll before the conference championship games. We have your guide for some of the hottest spots in Atlantic City to watch UFC 246.

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The Book at Bally’s Wild Wild West

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Let’s start with one of the best spots in Midtown and one of the newest books on the Boardwalk. The Book opened in the summer and has quickly become a favorite at one of the most fun venues in AC.

Three massive screens surround the stadium seating and tables around the bar and book make for a perfect UFC 246 viewing party.

  • Those individual seats are going for $30, while the four-seat high-top tables are going for $125.
  • In the back, VIP seating starts at $150.

Food and beverages are separate from these deals.

Through the Boardwalk revival in the last couple of years, Bally’s has been a mainstay in the heart of the city and kept the course. Wild Wild West is still a great party spot with the mechanical bull, live music, and some of the best food options in town.

Throw in the betting options and it makes for a great laid-back night in the winter.

DraftKings at Resorts AC

watch ufc 246 Resorts

Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts Atlantic City,  has paired with the state’s first digital book and created a great space to watch games and wager. DraftKings Sportsbook has become one of the best venues at the Boardwalk’s north end.

You can’t beat the price to watch the fight at the expansive bar. It is FREE.

Looks like Resorts got the memo that the less a customer pays to get in the door, the more they can spend at the bar (or gamble, whatever’s your vice).

  • Preferred stadium seating is available for $25 each, while VIP prices start at $50.

Resorts recommend visitors call ahead to reserve seating before Saturday.

William Hill at Ocean Casino Resort

The William Hill Sportsbook has helped establish Ocean Casino Resort as the shining jewel of the north end of the Boardwalk. With an expansive floor plan and plenty of options for players, it’s a great place for big events.

No tickets appear for sale for Saturday’s UFC event. There are plenty of seats at the bar and the stadium seating in the main bowl.

For those who want to go upscale, there’s VIP seating available, along with the Skybox suite that fits up to 10 guests.

Contact resort staff for pricing and options.

Moneyline Book at the Borgata

Since opening on the marina in 2003, Borgata Atlantic City has been the gold standard in AC. By adding the Moneyline Sportsbook last summer, that bar has been raised even higher.

Get there early as it’s free general admission at the Moneyline and the Level One bar next door.

From 9 to 11 P.M., fans can meet Frankie Edgar, the former UFC lightweight champion and NJ native.

Want to reserve seats for the night? Call ahead for details.

Saturday night is going to be a wild night of UFC action.

Call your crew, take the train down, whatever you want. Have fun out there, but wear a warm jacket because it should get windy.

McGregor, Cerrone Meet In The Cage Jan. 18: How They Both Got There May Shock You

UFC  246 McGregor versus Cerrone, embraces a unique marketing backdrop Jan. 18 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. One huge headliner, two different personalities, one night only.

White-collar megastar VS blue-collar superhero

mcgregor vs cerrone

This fight exists because of where their personalities, rather than rankings, place them. They are listed near each other in the UFC lightweight ratings, with McGregor fourth and Cerrone fifth, but, from an earnings and behavior standpoint, they are worlds apart.

McGregor vs. Cerrone: It’s time!

The Rise of Two Superstars

McGregor vs. Cerrone: Two completely opposite paths to the top.

They both started with little-to-no money, but their journeys to becoming two of the biggest combat sports superstars were utterly different.

Dublin plumber to the king of combat

mcgregor vs cerrone

McGregor took naturally to the lavish lifestyle, but this wasn’t something he was born into.

Coming from a working-class family, McGregor started as a poor Dublin plumber before his eventual worldwide fame as the most “notorious” fighter on the planet, and the biggest name in the UFC.

His parents disapproved of his decision to quit his job as a plumber to become a fighter full-time. But McGregor stuck to his guns.

“You’ll be sorry when I’m a millionaire,” McGregor to his father.

And as you know, the rest is history. It has been a rise, nothing short of meteoric. It took four years for Conor McGregor to get to the top of the fight game.

McGregor transcends the UFC. From headlining MSG and becoming the first two-weight champion in UFC history, to facing off against the biggest name in boxing.

McGregor propelled himself as the Mouth That Roared in 2017. He trash-talked boxing great Floyd Mayweather, performed the bad-guy role to the hilt and walked away with a whopping estimated purse of $85 million from their 2017 special event.

“The Notorious” became a hero for young UFC fans, especially millennials, who’d seen their contact sport favorably represented against boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter in the late-rounds knockout loss.

McGregor boxed well until he was gassed, and stopped.

It was one of the best performances ever by one fighting genre-crossing into the other. For this Mayweather effort, McGregor became permanently etched in mixed-martial arts lore as the “Crossover King. ”

The epic special event prompts periodic callouts between UFC competitors to boxers, hoping to launch a monster payday.

McGregor does not have to work another day in his life. He has become more of a brand than a fighter. He doesn’t hold a title, his ranking as the 13th best pound-for-pound UFC fighter could be ceremonial and he has juggled interests.notorious vs cowboy

As a superstar from Ireland, he also makes money away from fighting because of his Proper No. Twelve Whiskey, a clothing line, and sports and entertainment form.

He even has a reported deal with UFC that the whiskey brand logo is part of the promotion when he fights. McGregor is covering corporate angles.

In betting parlance, he has parlayed verbal confrontation — considered bullying by some, mere promotion by others — into a full-fledged financial portfolio.

He realizes the need to be entertaining in the omnipresent social media vehicle.

McGregor seized the earning utopia made in the age of self-promotion, relentless hype and perpetual friction. McGregor will make far more money than Cerrone here, and he gets a piece of pay-per-view sales that others don’t.

Ultimate Fighting’s Humble Hero

cowboy cerrone

Now Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s story is a bit different. Like Conor, he started with little to nothing and eventually climbed his way to where he’s at today.

But unlike Conor, Cerrone didn’t need a microphone to get anyone’s attention.

He has always approached things his way: As a humble, no f—s given SOB with a US flag draped around his back and a cowboy hat on his head. He now happens to be one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

He loves to play as hard as he fights, the stardom and popularity that came with it is the cherry on top.

Joe Rogan once said, “Who likes fighting more than Donald? He is a legit wild man. He will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

“Cowboy” Cerrone is a man of the people and indeed a wild man. He continually pushes his mind a body to the limits inside and outside of the octagon. Fans love this about him. He even built a fight sanctuary on his property where young fighters can come and learn. In true cowboy fashion, he named it the BMF Ranch (bad mother——).

He retains a devil-may-care persona, signing a seven-fight deal with UFC even after absorbing recent brutal losses to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

cowboy cerrone ufc 246

“It’s what I love, man. I love fighting,” Cerrone said. “It’s the scariest, most intense, fun feeling. … I couldn’t even explain it to you. If I get the call anywhere, I’m in.”

  • This is his 51st MMA fight.
  • The hunger that drives him enabled Cerrone to become the UFC’s all-time leader in wins, 23 and finishes, 16.
  • He has seven knockouts via kicks, a record.

Nearly $2 million in reported earnings arrived in the past two years. It came via the guaranteed fee of showing up, along with victory and performance bonuses. Cerrone is a heralded all-star who remains driven for the next event.

He once fought two opponents 15 days apart in 2015 and, with victory bonuses, pocketed $286,000. Cerrone has appeared in four UFC events in 2019, and 10 over the last three years.

For him, it’s not about the money or the titles, as Cerrone’s journey does sport the double-edged allure of finance versus physical health.

Has the go-anywhere-fight-anyone mantra been detrimental to title-bout chances and recovery time for the Cowboy? Probably.

Dana White is even a little hesitant about Cerrone’s lifestyle at times.

cowboy cerrone ufc 246

“He is who he is and does what he does, he’s incredibly talented and can do a million different things. But I can’t stand that he rock climbs, wakeboards, and bull rides the week of the (bleeping) fight!”

But Cerrone has a passion for what he does, unlike anything we have seen.

An athlete willing to drive an RV across the country to compete, or, as Cerrone did, get into town in the wee hours and make himself available for a UFC fight the next night just in case there was a cancellation.

This is a legitimate professional superstar and UFC fan favorite. The man doesn’t need to go through all that just for a chance to fight. But that’s what he does, and he loves every minute of it.

For Cerrone, a couple hundred thousand dollars each bout adds up to security, offsetting memories of $3,000 fights when he started. It makes sense for him to grind out the paydays.

Few athletes enjoy the marketing success of McGregor. Few can master the art of being appropriately managed and finding someone who can maximize their earning potential.

In any other work realm, Cerrone’s approach is considered perfect: show up, work longer and strive for bonuses. Grab the cash while it can be grabbed, because the supply can dry up.

Cowboy vs. Notorious: The smart bet?

mcgregor vs cerrone

Given the unique nature of MMA betting props, it hardly matters that McGregor is -305 at DraftKings, nearly prohibitive on the moneyline and that Cerrone is +240, must-play odds for his supporters.

UFC 246 Odds at FanDuel Online Sportsbook

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UFC 246 Odds Rundown – McGregor vs. Cerrone

The extensive betting menu leads to interesting winning-method fighter parlays. The DraftKings Sportsbook board indicates sentiment swings behind a McGregor knockout, particularly in the first two rounds.

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  • But his payout ranges from +180 to +2600, or 26-1, for a knockout over the course of different rounds.
  • McGregor KO sits at 19-1 and 26-1 for rounds four and five.
    • That’s where the big money is for him.

Cerrone knockout odds go from 22-1 in round 1 to 50-1 in Round 5. 

  • A Cerrone submission is 40-1 in Round 5.
    • (McGregor lost both of his UFC fights that way)

Which is interesting, because Cerrone’s ground game is very underrated. He’s known for his incredible muay Thai kickboxing skills. So, his JiuJitsu game often gets overlooked, and he has many submission wins throughout his career because of it.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks have numerous additional wagers available. Betting aside, Cerrone and McGregor connect to the public via different emotional methods.

Money, love or fame?

The UFC pay model entices fighters.

Winning often doubles the money. Performance bonuses spike that amount even higher. Pay-per-view revenue sharing for a select few make some paydays stratospheric.

The perception among UFC fans is that while the McGregor’s, Brock Lesnar’s and GSP’s of the world have gotten their financial due, Cerrone hasn’t obtained his.

cerrone mcgregor

Cowboy doesn’t wait around for anything.

“If you always keep yourself ready, you never have to worry about getting ready,” Cerrone says of his instant availability to fight.

The blue-collar king. The fan’s fighter. A $6 million man, perhaps more with sponsorships, etc., exchanging vicious strikes with someone close to him in rankings, yet a world apart in earnings.

Cerrone isn’t viewed as a serious trash-talker. When the fight was announced, he proclaimed the bonus records and earning incentives to get McGregor’s attention.

But you said they were just rumors!

“The Notorious,” who never met a confrontation he didn’t like, simply told Cerrone to wait until after Christmas to begin the promotion. He was already being called a coward by Gaethje, who wants his seat on the McGregor Gravy Train.

Fans endorse hungry fighters. They revered old-time boxers, whose financial need to fight often mirrors modern-day MMA stars. They revere baseball superstar Cal Ripken Jr. and his 2,632 games-played streak, because he showed up, every day, for 16 years.

And they value Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone.

One transformed the UFC; the other helped build it.

It’s likely that both fighters have seen their better days and that McGregor will have trouble lighting the blue-collar flame prosperity vanquishes. This is only his second fight in 38 months.

But the fans don’t care. They relate to both fighters.

McGregor versus Cerrone; who you got?