UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou may have a loss to Derrick Lewis on his resume, but he is considered a healthy favorite in a possible rematch.
Amid talk of a title rematch, BetOnline has released the opening line for the fight, and Ngannou is a -350 favorite to the +275 Lewis. On a $100 bet, those odds convert to a $28.57 payment with a Ngannou win and a $275 payout for Lewis.
The early odds reflect a huge show of confidence in Ngannou, who knocked out Stipe Miocic in the second round of their rematch at UFC 260. Miocic still holds the record for most consecutive title defenses and is a two-time champ.
Lewis, meanwhile, delivered a highlight-reel knockout of his own in his previous performance, stopping Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 to notch his 12th win by KO.
The concussive wins were the opposite of what the heavyweights delivered in their first meeting, which took place more than two years ago at UFC 226. Ngannou and Lewis plodded over three rounds to deliver one of the most widely panned fights in heavyweight history. Lewis took home the unanimous decision, but later said he didn’t consider it a win.
For Ngannou, the loss was the catalyst for a spectacular career turnaround that saw him stop five consecutive opponents including Miocic.
Initially, it was thought that former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would be the first to challenge Ngannou for the title. But with a breakdown in negotiations between Jones and the UFC, the promotion shifted to Lewis, who eagerly volunteered to take the $8-10 million payout Jones rebuffed for a paycheck more befitting of the fight’s stature.
According to ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani, Ngannou was offered a June 12 fight with Lewis, but the champ didn’t like the timeframe.
Here are the opening odds for the Ngannou vs. Lewis 2 fight:
Derrick Lewis +275 (11/4)
Francis Ngannou -350 (2/7)