No Jose Aldo? No problem. The props market for the UFC 189 main event between Conor McGregor and Chad Mendes is still bursting with delicious MMA odds goodness.
There's no dancing around it: Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes isn't the fight we wanted to see. But just because Jose Aldo isn't defending his Featherweight title this Saturday (10:00 p.m. ET) at UFC 189, doesn't mean we don't have a great fight on our hands. If anything, Mendes (+150) might pose a more difficult challenge to McGregor with his wrestling skills. We'll definitely be glued to the old Viewtone here at the home office.
Aldo's disappearance hasn't slowed down the betting action too much, either. Our colleague Swinging Johnson reported on Wednesday that the sportsbooks are drowning in McGregor money. And as we go to press, there are enough prop bets on this main event fight to guillotine choke a horse. Let's take a trip through the MMA odds and see what tickles our collective fancy.
Total Rounds: UNDER 2.5 (+100) at 5Dimes
You may have heard Dana White on The Jim Rome Show – or more likely, you read about him telling Rome – that McGregor (17-2 lifetime) tried to bet White $3 million that he'd knock Mendes out in the second round. That story may or may not be true, but McGregor did win four of his five UFC fights by TKO, and all four were done before the halfway point of the second round.
The caveat, of course, is that Mendes (also 17-2) is a step above the level of competition McGregor has faced thus far. He went the distance with Aldo last October in what would later earn Fight of the Year honors for 2014. Mendes has only been stopped before the final bell once – again by Aldo, back in 2012. However, Mendes also has four first-round knockout victories in his last seven UFC matches. These guys don't get paid by the hour.
Mendes Wins By KO, TKO, DQ: YES (+585) at 5Dimes
This plays into the aforementioned knockouts by Mendes. If you've already got McGregor to win at –175, or hopefully lower before the UFC odds went steaming in his direction, you can consider hedging your bet somewhat with this prop. McGregor has never been knocked out, but again, he's never faced anyone like Mendes. The underdog was a two-time All-American wrestler at Cal Poly, sure, but Mendes does seem to enjoy punching people in the face.
Mendes Wins Inside Distance: YES (+339) at 5Dimes
Here's an even safer hedge if you're in the market. Both of McGregor's losses were by submission, way back when he was working up the indie ranks in Ireland. Mendes has a couple of submission victories under his belt, most recently in 2010 against Anthony Morrison (+534) at a WEC event in Sacramento. Personally, I wouldn't be too worried about a submission in this match, though – both gentlemen have a 100-percent takedown stuff rate in the Octagon, and Mendes has only attempted 0.32 submissions per 15 minutes.
Double Chance: KO/TKO or Decision (–1300) at Ladbrokes
Really, if a safe bet is what you're looking for on Saturday, this looks like the best UFC pick of the bunch, and the chalk doesn't even look that daunting. The chances of a submission in this match look very small, and it's entirely possible both men could go the distance. Eight of Mendes' 17 victories were by decision, and there was the loss to Aldo last October.
Then again, McGregor was only taken to the limit once, and that was two years ago against Max Holloway (+190). And don't forget, McGregor has only fought two UFC main event matches scheduled for five rounds, and Mendes has only fought three – one of them being that decision loss to Aldo. If these guys go the full 25 minutes, we'll be pleasantly surprised.