UFC 216 tips: The best bets for Ferguson v Lee in Las Vegas
We make our pick for the interim lightweight title fight, plus two other bouts on a huge card on Saturday night.
Tony Ferguson v Kevin Lee
This meeting of two elite strikers will earn the winner the interim lightweight title, and a fight with undisputed champion Conor McGregor.
Ferguson is finally getting his shot at the interim belt after a bout with Khabib Nurmagamedov at UFC 209 fell through, and the American has certainly earned his chance with a nine-fight winning streak.
The 33-year-old is a really exciting fighter to watch, having won Performance of the Night or Fight of the Night in each of his last five bouts, the last of which was a dominant decision victory over former champion Rafael dos Anjos.
El Cucuy is a tall, rangy, inventive striker as well as an excellent grappler, and four of his last six wins have come by submission.
Standing in his way is Lee, who has won five fights in a row and submitted Michael Chiesa in June to earn this spot in the main event.
Lee is a good technical boxer, but he does take plenty of shots and could lack the power to hurt his durable opponent on Saturday night.
And while the 25-year-old is a fine wrestler, he’ll struggle to pin down Ferguson, who uses his ridiculous athleticism to roll away from tricky positions.
In all likelihood, the older man’s superior striking and constant pressure will wear down the less experienced Lee, and he should eventually drop him to the mat with a head kick or right hand.
Demetrious Johnson v Ray Borg
With a win on Saturday night, flyweight champion Johnson can break Anderson Silva’s record for the most consecutive title defences in UFC history.
It’s hard to see how the 31-year-old can fail to do so.
Johnson has been unbeatable since he dropped down from the bantamweight division in 2012, seeing off every major 125lb contender with relative ease.
He’s clearly the best striker in the division, and is excellent on the mat, too, with three submission wins in his last six fights.
Borg is a good fighter, but he hasn’t got the skills to stand and trade blows with Johnson, nor the knockout power to even have a puncher’s chance.
Fabricio Werdum v Derrick Lewis
These heavyweights are both coming off defeats, and need to win this fight if they are to get back into the title picture.
Werdum lost a majority decision to Alistair Overeem last time out – his second defeat in three fights – but that was, in truth, a really close bout that he easily could have been adjudged to have won.
The Brazilian has certainly started to fade at the age of 40, but is still a fine striker and a master on the mat.
Lewis, meanwhile, was outfought and eventually knocked out by Mark Hunt in the fourth round when he last fought in June.
These fighters will both be keen to stand up and trade, and Werdum’s long reach should keep him out of the way of Lewis’ wild hooks and prove to be the distance.