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UFC 223 breakdown, betting odds and picks

UFC 219 Fight Card

L.E. Baskow

Commentator Joe Rogan interviews lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov after defeating Edson Barboza in their UFC219 fight at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017.

Never has a fight week experienced as much upheaval as what’s transpired in Brooklyn, N.Y. over the last several days.

Conor McGregor’s backstage outburst alone negated three fights scheduled to take place tonight at UFC 223. Both Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg sustained injuries from the broken glass that shattered in their faces after McGregor and his team threw objects at a bus carrying fighters, and were therefore not allowed to fight.

McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov was also removed from the card for his role in the melee.

As if that wasn’t enough, the card got further shaken up Friday morning when the New York State Athletic Commission ruled Max Holloway’s weight cut unhealthy and left Khabib Nurmagomedov without a main-event opponent for the second time. The commission subsequently denied Paul Felder and Anthony Pettis the opportunity to step in last minute against Nurmagomedov.

That meant the assignment fell to Al Iaquinta, who saw his wish granted after campaigning hard for the opportunity. Odds-wise, there wouldn’t have been much different between the three late candidates to challenge Nurmagomedov.

They all would have been significant underdogs, with Iaquinta currently positioned at plus-450 (risking $1 to win $4.50) with Nurmagomedov coming back at minus-600 (risking $6 to win $1). Iaquinta pulling off the massive upset would seem an appropriate capper to an event that’s been unprecedented as far as unpredictability to this point.

But did anyone on the Sun’s picks panel call for the upset?

Read below to find picks from the Sun’s Ray Brewer (24-10 year to date), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (23-11), KSNV’s Randy Howe (23-11) and the Sun’s Case Keefer (19-15) along with odds and a breakdown of every fight.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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