For any combat sport, be it MMA, boxing or professional wrestling, most of the art is in hyping the fight. Regardless of the discipline, as fans we are tantalised by the prospect of a dream fight, of a Kenny Omega vs Seth Rollins, or Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Cormier. At times, however, the hype is much better than the fight itself.
In respect of that, bookmakers often like to plan ahead and set the odds even before the ink is dry on any contract. Below some of the real odds are provided for bouts that are planned for the near future, or in various stages of negotiation. They should happen, here’s what the bookies think:
UFC: Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Cormier
It seems just a matter of time before we get a date for this one, with Lesnar expected to make his return for early 2019. Regardless, the sportsbooks back Cormier, putting him in at odds of 4/11 (William Hill), with Lesnar at 2/1. It’s worth remembering though, that Lesnar was a similar price before the Mark Hunt fight. Despite the ban for clomiphene, punters were paid for the Lesnar victory.
WWE: Men’s Royal Rumble 2019
While pro wrestling is scripted, sportsbooks can sometimes get it wrong. The favourite for the 2019 Royal Rumble is none other than The Rock, given a price of 6/5 by Sky Bet. A note of caution that this may have come about by way of a potential Wrestlemania headliner vs Roman Reigns. Those plans should have certainly changed, given Reigns’ battle with leukaemia. Daniel Bryan, who many fans think is owed a Royal Rumble win, is second favourite at 5/1.
Boxing: Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder
This one is definitely happening on the December 1st, and the Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder betting is sure to be massive, with plenty of free bets and promos going by recent history in the heavyweight division. At the moment, the odds are quite close, with Fury the slight underdog at 6/4 and Wilder put in at 1/2 (Sportingbet). Either way, the winner should face Anthony Joshua for a big unification bout in 2019.
WWE: Women’s Royal Rumble 2019
A simple theory; Charlotte Flair wins the Royal Rumble and sets up a Wrestlemania 35 main event with Ronda Rousey. Simple. Flair is odds-on at 4/5 to win.
UFC: Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov 2
The bout that seems furthest away on this list, but still a fair chance that it happens. Nothing has changed in the bookmakers’ eyes, with 888sport putting Nurmagomedov at 7/25 and McGregor at 49/20.
Boxing: Pacquiao vs Mayweather
Rumoured to be announced any day now, this represents perhaps one last huge paycheque for each fighter. Mayweather is priced at 4/9 by Coral to do what Mayweather does and win without letting Pacquiao anywhere near him. Pac-Man meanwhile is given odds of 7/4.
UFC: McGregor’s Next Opponent
Love him or loathe him, Conor McGregor is Dana White’s main attraction and draws the attention of fans and punters alike. Betway have opened a book on the identity of his next opponent, with Khabib as the 5/4 favourite, Nate Diaz next at 15/8 and Mayweather the outsider at 28/1.