McGregor an underdog vs. Nurmagomedov on early UFC 229 odds

Conor-McGregor-training

Conor McGregor. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Conor McGregor will end a 23-month absence from the octagon when he returns to action at UFC 229, taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bid to reclaim the UFC lightweight crown as a +145 underdog on the UFC 229 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

McGregor capped off his last octagon appearance in stunning fashion, dominating Eddie Alvarez in a second-round TKO victory at UFC 205 that earned him the UFC lightweight title, and improved his professional MMA record to 21-3 going into the Nurmagomedov versus McGregor matchup on Oct. 6 at T-Mobile Arena.

With his victory over Alvarez as a -170 wager, McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to hold two division titles simultaneously, adding the lightweight belt to his perch as UFC featherweight champion. The charismatic Irishman continued to build on his newfound stardom by making the leap to professional boxing in August 2016, going 10 rounds with undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. before suffering a TKO loss as +265 underdog in a record-setting pay-per-view event.

A prolonged absence from the UFC resulted in the 30-year-old getting stripped of both the UFC featherweight and lightweight titles due to inactivity. McGregor’s return to action was further delayed by his role in a backstage altercation following media day at UFC 223, which landed him in a New York court facing charges of assault and criminal mischief.

However, with his legal troubles behind him, and a personal score to settle with the reigning UFC lightweight champion, McGregor will be aiming to pick up a record seventh career Performance of the Night bonus in just his second bout as a lightweight.

While McGregor ends a lengthy hiatus, Nurmagomedov prepares for his first title defence as a -175 favourite on the UFC 229 odds. The two-time Combat Sambo world champion has been a rising star since joining the UFC in 2012, going undefeated in 10 octagon appearances to improve his pro MMA record to a perfect 26-0.

Nurmagomedov regularly finished opponents early in his career, recording six TKO and six submission wins in his first 16 contests, but has generally gone the distance since his move to the UFC, earning unanimous decision wins in six of his 10 UFC clashes, including his victory over Al Iaquinta as massive -600 chalk at UFC 223 that earn him the UFC lightweight title while marking the first time the 29-year-old Russian has seen action in championship rounds.

However, Nurmagomedov will likely have his hands full against McGregor, whose explosive punching power has earned him TKO victories on punches inside two rounds in seven of his 10 UFC appearances.

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