Among a handful of additions to the year-end UFC 296 pay-per-view in the past week was a highly critiqued lightweight matchup.
Former interim champion Tony Ferguson (25-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC) is mired in a six-fight skid – albeit to some of the best names in the division, including Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush and Michael Chandler.
But if he wants to snap that skid and win for the first time since 2019, he’s going to have to do it against rising star Paddy Pimblett (20-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Pimblett nearly is a 4-1 favorite in the opening betting odds. The comeback on Ferguson is +300.
By comparison, Ferguson closed as a +270 underdog in his losses to Michael Chandler and Bobby Green during his skid. There are only two other times in his UFC career, period, that he’s closed as the betting underdog – and he opened as the favorite in those fights.
So Pimblett’s opening odds are a bit historic when it comes to Ferguson. Ferguson’s UFC career likely is on the line, as well. Most fighters can’t withstand six straight UFC losses. A seventh would have to be the final straw.
Is he being set up as a sacrificial lamb for Pimblett to help build him into a bigger star? There are pockets of analysts who think Ferguson has a shot. Are we among them?
MMA Junkie’s “Spinning Back Clique” panel of Matthew Wells, Nolan King and Danny Segura joined host Mike Bohn to break it all down.
Watch their discussion in the video above, and don’t miss this week’s full “Spinning Back Clique” episode below.