UFC 279 Jingliang vs Ferguson Picks and Predictions: The Leetch Pressured into Loss

UFC 279 is loaded, with the main card featuring what should be an excellent bout between Li Jingliang and Tony Ferguson. It's easy to see why Ferguson is a heavy UFC betting underdog, but our picks make the case for an upset on Saturday.

Last Updated: Sep 7, 2022 9:03 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Tony Ferguson UFC 279
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

(Editors Note: Preview was published before fight was cancelled).

Li Jingliang vs. Tony Ferguson is on the main card for UFC 279 on September 10 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

This should be a banger between a striking specialist in Jingliang and an aggressive high-pressure fighter in Ferguson who is trying to snap a four-fight losing skid.

Oddsmakers expect Ferguson's losing streak to continue on Saturday with UFC odds installing him as a +250 underdog and Li coming back as a -334 favorite.

Here are my best free Jingliang vs. Ferguson picks and predictions for UFC 279. 

Jingliang vs Ferguson fight odds

Jingliang vs Ferguson method of victory odds

Method of Victory Li Jingliang Tony Ferguson
To win by KO/TKO +160 +1,100
To win by Points +165 +550
To win by Submission +3,400 +600
Draw +5,000 +5,000

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on September 7, 2022.

Jingliang vs Ferguson picks

Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Jingliang vs Ferguson betting preview

"The Leetch" Li Jingliang is fresh off a second-round knockout win against Muslim Salkhov in July which allowed him to bounce back from a lopsided loss to Khamzat Chimaev last October.

Li is 5-2 in his last seven fights, earning four Performance of the Night bonuses and racking up four wins by knockout during that span. 

With a background in Sanda, the 34-year-old is a high-end striker with explosive power and solid technique. The Leetch averages 4.39 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.66.

Covers UFC 279 Betting Analysis

Tony "El Cucuy" Ferguson is a lightweight legend who made the move up to 170 pounds after an ugly loss to Michael Chandler in May where he was knocked out cold by a front kick.

That was the fourth loss in a row for the 38-year-old who had previously been dominated by lightweight contenders Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira on the mat while getting pieced up by Justin Gaethje on his feet. 

In his prime, Ferguson was one of the most entertaining fighters around, combining unpredictable striking with incredible pace and high-level submissions to string together a 12-fight winning streak between 2013 and 2019. 

Jingliang vs Ferguson tale of the tape

Li Jingliang   Tony Ferguson
34 Age 38
6-feet Height 6-feet
170 lbs Weight 155 lbs
72 inches Reach 76.5 inches
19-7 (10 KOs) Record 25-7 (12 KOs)

Jingliang vs Ferguson UFC prediction and best bet

Our prediction is compiled from the analysis of the fighters and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this bout.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this fight or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.

While going up in weight class can be tough for many fighters, Ferguson actually started his MMA career as a welterweight and is a long fighter with a 4.5-inch reach advantage on Li.

The big problem for Ferguson is his chin at this stage of his career, after withstanding plenty of punishment over a 32-fight career.

However, it's worth mentioning that Ferguson looked very dangerous in the first round against Chandler, scything him with elbows before he got caught with that kick in the second round. He had never been knocked out until he faced the hammer-fisted Gaethje two years ago and that fight went until late in the fifth round. 

Although Ferguson has gotten creamed in each of his last four fights those came against the best fighters at 155 and Li has had just as much difficulty against Top-15 guys at welterweight, getting dominated by Khamzhat Chimaev and also losing a one-sided decision to Neil Magny. 

Li has plenty of knockout power but Ferguson is the better grappler and throws with more volume which gives him more paths to victory so long as he avoids opening himself up too much.

Prediction: Tony Ferguson moneyline (+255 at DraftKings)

It's easy to see why the odds are against Ferguson because if his chin is truly gone, then moving up in weight class to face a knockout specialist seems like a nightmare matchup.

However, he has the tools to win this fight, and every time The Leetch has faced a step up in competition during his career he has come up short.

As powerful as Li's striking can be, he has trouble from distance or when it comes to dirty boxing inside, preferring to work from medium range. Don't be surprised if Ferguson's pressure makes it difficult for Li to find his range and puts him on the backfoot.

That puts the betting value on the still dangerous El Cucuy. 

PickTony Ferguson moneyline (+255 at DraftKings)

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