Friday saw the announcement of a fantastic fight between two of the fastest rising contenders in the UFC’s lightweight division. That bout of course is between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Both men have competed 22 times professionally, with Nurmagomedov emerging victorious in each of his appearances, while Ferguson has racked up a 19-3 record. Nurmagomedov has gone 6-0 since debuting in the UFC, picking up a win over current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in his last outing. The biggest knock on the Russian has been his durability, as he has pulled out of at least three bouts since the beginning of 2014 with various injuries. If he makes it to the cage to face Ferguson in December, it will be his first appearance in approximately 20 months. Perhaps that explains the reports that Nurmagomedov’s team did not want this to be the main event of the card (and thus a five round fight). Ferguson has proven the exception to the rule that ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ no longer produces top talent, as he has gone 9-1 in the UFC, including dominant victories over Josh Thomson and Gleison Tibau in his two most recent bouts. Ferguson has coupled his powerful striking with an aggressive and creative grappling game from every position. Chances are Ferguson will look to keep this bout standing, as any ground exchanges will likely end up with him underneath Nurmagomedov. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting line for this TUF 22 Finale bout today at 5Dimes Sportsbook, check it out: ——————– The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale | 2015.12.11 | Las Vegas, Nevada Tony Ferguson +220 Khabib Nurmagomedov -300 Over 2.5 -260 Under 2.5 +180 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I’ve never been a Khabib believer, but it’s hard to argue the impressive nature of his win over dos Anjos, especially in hindsight. He’s still never faced a great wrestler, and that’s the big test he should have to pass as a grappler. That won’t happen here however, as Ferguson is a capable takedown defender but not always the best decision-maker in the cage, and prone to giving up position. I expect that Khabib will be able to drag the fight to the ground enough to pick up another decision, but every moment he’s on the feet will be dangerous for him in this one. ——————– The other line to be released at 5Dimes today was one of the more notable fights from Bellator’s crossover ‘Dynamite’ card to be held on September 19th. The main event of the MMA portion of the card will be Liam McGeary’s first light heavyweight title defense. McGeary will be taking on MMA legend Tito Ortiz, who has won a pair of bouts since moving to Bellator. Although many thought McGeary didn’t deserve the decision against Emanuel Newton, it was a good experience for him to get five rounds in, as it was only the third time a fight of his had gone past the first round. He showed off his dangerous striking and active submission game, and his level of activity is almost certain to give Ortiz trouble at this point. ——————– Bellator 142: Dynamite | 2015.09.19 | San Jose, California Tito Ortiz +315 Liam McGeary -445 Over 1.5 -190 Under 1.5 +150 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Tito Ortiz is probably going to get some early takedowns here, because Liam McGeary has some truly British takedown defense. That won’t be enough though. Ortiz will be dead tired by round two, and McGeary will either stuff takedowns or stand back up quickly. On the feet, this is a mismatch when Ortiz is fresh. When he’s tired, he’ll be a punching bag, and I fully expect McGeary to get the finish, and wouldn’t be shocked to see it come via body shots.