We're in the home stretch now, fight fans.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to pay-per-view (PPV) this Saturday night (July 11, 2015) with UFC 189: "Mendes vs. McGregor," and like the name suggests, this mixed martial arts (MMA) event is all about the headlining title fight between Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor.
Thought a little rib injury would torpedo the excitement for this card?
But even if you're not putting all of your financial eggs in one interim featherweight basket, there is still the welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald in the co-main event. A lot has changed since they first threw hands back in 2013.
To complement the PPV main card, the promotion has assembled a terrific "Prelims" line up, capped off by the stellar 170-pound showdown pitting the "Immortal" Matt Brown against the dirtiest of birds, Tim Means. And don't forget the return of Mike "Quick" Swick!
If you're wondering what happened to our bookie of residence, the perspicacious Patty Stumberg, he's enjoying some father-son time in the wilderness of Alaska, drinking hot cider and hunting homeless men. But who needs him when you have Nostradumbass?
Let's crunch the numbers with some help from our pals at SportsbookReview.com.
Latest UFC 189 under card odds:
Matt Brown (-195) vs. Tim Means (+170)
John Howard (-115) vs. Cathal Pendred (-115)
Alex Garcia (-450) vs. Mike Swick (+325)
Cody Garbrandt (-650) vs. Henry Briones (+425)
Neil Seery (-110) vs. Louis Smolka (-110)
Yosdenis Cedeno (-210) vs. Cody Pfister (+170)
Jason Lake from SportsbookReview.com has your value pick:
Aside from the Nelson-Thatch match up, this might be the best value on the entire UFC 189 card. Brown (19-13 lifetime) is officially the No. 5-ranked welterweight according to the UFC, while Means (24-6-1 lifetime) is on the outside looking in. But only one of these two gentlemen has had any success lately, and it's the underdog.
Means enters the Octagon this Saturday on a four-match winning streak. The former King of the Cage champion at both lightweight and welterweight has been excellent since making his return to 170 pounds; his last two victories were against Dhiego Lama (+150) by first-round TKO and George Sullivan (+145) with an arm-triangle choke late in the third round.
Brown, on the other hand, is coming off back-to-back decision losses to Robbie Lawler (-550) and Johny Hendricks (-350). This is obviously a tougher level of competition than Means has faced, but a loss is a loss. Means has a two-inch height advantage at 6-foot-2 and has superior stats for both volume of strikes and defense. We like his chances of getting in early and staying on top of this fight.
What can Brown do for you? Perhaps nothing, based on that pick.
Latest UFC 189 main card odds:
Conor McGregor (-185) vs. Chad Mendes (+150)
Rory MacDonald (-175) vs. Robbie Lawler (+145)
Dennis Bermudez (-205) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+165)
Brandon Thatch (-175) vs. Gunnar Nelson (+145)
Thomas Almeida (-1045) vs. Brad Pickett (+645)
Swinging Johnson at SportsbookReview.com has the bad news for Irish nuthuggers:
Chad Mendes will own the mat in this fight. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it and the only remedy McGregor will have is to get back standing as soon as possible. Even the most casual UFC fan understands that Chad Mendes is an elite wrestler with all the trophies and awards to back up that assertion. He is a two-time All-American Division 1 wrestler and has taken down every opponent he has faced unless of course he was busy knocking them out before he got around to tossing them about the cage like a ragdoll. Mendes averages 4.1 takedowns per fight which is a stunning number considering he has been knocking opponents senseless in lieu of grappling his way to victory.
We must assume that at some point Mendes will put the mad Irishman on his back and that will be the litmus test for how this fight pans out. If McGregor cannot right himself it will be a long, arduous road to haul as he tries to twist, turn, wriggle and writhe his way free of Mendes's suffocating ground game. Five rounds of Mendes laying and praying while McGregor flails about on the canvas will make for some very unhappy PPV customers, but it could be the road to victory for Money Mendes.
And if you want a piece of that "Money," he's as high as +165 on some of the sportsbooks.
In fact, you can compare all the major sportsbooks and online betting websites RIGHT HERE to find the best values, as well as a complete rundown of all the UFC 189 prop bets, like total rounds, method of finish, and more for all of this weekend's contests.
Three days and counting!
Remember: MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 189 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
For a closer look at UFC 189, check out a special extended video preview for "Mendes vs. McGregor" here.