Jan 22, 2021
UFC 257 McGregor vs Poirier Picks, Predictions
- Jan. 22, 2020
- By Brian Edwards
Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) will make his return to the lightweight loop on Saturday night to headline UFC 257 in a rematch with Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
At Friday’s weigh-ins, McGregor made championship weight by hitting the 155-pound mark.
This is not a title fight, though, so fighters are given a one-pound allowance. Therefore, the bout became official when Poirier tipped the scales at 156 pounds.
As of early Friday, most betting shops had McGregor listed as a favorite in the -300 to -350 neighborhood. The total was 2.5 rounds (‘under’ -175, ‘over’ +140), but a few shops were using 1.5 rounds (‘over’ 138, ‘under’ +105).
For bettors who are bullish on McGregor but don’t want to risk a straight price North of -300, there are other options. The proposition bet for the legendary Irish superstar to win by KO/TKO is priced in the -175 to -200 range.
McGregor vs. Poirier 2 - Odds Comparison
|McGregor vs. Poirier 2 - Money Line Odds (1/23/21)|
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021
- TV-Time: ESPN/ESPN+, ESPN PPV 6:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Etihad Arena
- Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Expected Fights: 11
Main Card Picks
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
McGregor and Poirier squared off on the main card at UFC 178 in Las Vegas when both fighters were featherweights back on Sept. 27 of 2014. Oddsmakers opened Poirier as a -225 favorite, but McGregor ended up closing as a -250 ‘chalk.’
Unlike this week when both fighters have been extremely cordial to each other, there was animosity galore going into their previous scrap. At the UFC 257 presser on Thursday, McGregor complimented Poirier on his many accomplishments, interrupting a media member’s question to start a conversation with his opponent.
Poirier (26-6-0-1 MMA, 18-5-0-1 UFC) apparently has his own brand of hot sauce, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since ‘The Diamond’ hails from the same hometown as former double champ, Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier. That hometown would be Lafayette, LA.
“You’ve got the hot sauce Dustin,” McGregor said. “I’d love to taste the hot sauce.”
Poirier replied, “I’ve got a bottle for you.”
Then McGregor said, “I’d appreciate that. I’ve got a bottle of Proper (No. 12 whiskey) for you. I’d love to share that. He’s putting in the work. I’ve been highly impressed. I think the whole business has been highly impressed.
“After that loss many years ago, he rose up, became champion. He’s given so much back. I’m honored to share this Octagon with this man. I know we have that competitive fire and it’s still there.
“There’s no denying that we have a clash, and it’s going to be a good, firework filled bout. But the respect is admirable for me.”
Poirier agreed to the hot-sauce-for-whiskey deal to take place on Sunday. Then he added, “I don’t want it to seem like we’re up here giving each other back massages, but I just want to clear the air. Conor’s team, McGregor Sports and Entertainment, did reach out to my foundation and they are starting the donation to the Good Fight Foundation.
“So Conor, man to man, you’re going to help a lot of people with that.”
There were not any such gestures of this nature back in 2014. McGregor was 3-0 in the UFC and looking to jump into the top five of the 145-pound rankings in his first fight with a top-10 foe. McGregor called Poirier “a hillbilly from the back ass of nowhere.” In both face-offs during Fight Week, it was clear that McGregor was under Poirier’s skin, as Poirier approached him with a flurry of profanities in each instance.
The fight lasted only 1:46. Poirier landed 10 strikes compared to McGregor’s nine. However, McGregor cracked Poirier with a vicious left hook that landed behind his ear and dazed him. A follow-up punch downed Poirier and referee Herb Dean waved it off after McGregor landed a couple of hammer fists to Poirier’s face.
After the defeat, Poirier decided to move up to 155 pounds, and the man has been on an absolute tear since then. He started his run at lightweight with four consecutive victories, including three first-round finishes against Carlos Diego Ferriera, Yancy Medeiros and Bobby ‘King’ Green.
In a fight-night main event on Sept. 17 of 2016, Poirier suffered a slight hiccup when he was KO’d in the opening frame by Michael ‘The Menace’ Johnson. However, he bounced back with a majority-decision win over Jim Miller (who is ranked No. 1 in UFC history in Octagon appearances with 36, No.3 in career UFC wins with 21, No. 4 in career UFC finishes with 13, No. 3 in career UFC submissions with 10 and No. 1 in career UFC lightweight victories with 19) at UFC 208.
Next, Poirier was matched up against former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who was coming off losing his belt to McGregor in a second-round KO defeat. Poirier was getting the better of the scrap when late in Round 2 Alvarez landed a vicious (and illegal) knee to Poirier’s head.
After giving Poirier a minute or two to recover, the referee asked him if he could continue and Poirier responded, “I still can’t see straight,” prompting the ref to rule the bout a no-contest.
Poirier then won three consecutive fights in spectacular fashion. First, he submitted former lightweight king Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis via third-round body triangle in the show’s Fight of the Night. Then in April of 2018 in a five-round main event, Poirier and Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje waged a war that was dubbed Fight of the Year by MMAJunkie, MMAWeekly and MMAFighting.
Gaethje appeared to take the momentum away late in the third when it seemed as if Poirier was starting to gas. But in the first 33 seconds of Round 4, Poirier hurt, dropped and finished Gaethje with a flurry of powerful punches. Fourteen weeks later, Alvarez and Poirier ran it back in a five-round headliner at UFC Calgary.
This time when Poirier hurt Alvarez, he polished him off via TKO with 55 seconds left in the second stanza to earn a Performance of the Night bonus. With lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended for the post-fight brawl after he defeated McGregor, Dana White set up a fight to determine the interim 155-pound champ in Atlanta at UFC 236 on April 13 of 2019.
Poirier was matched up against then-featherweight champion, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway, who was making his lightweight debut. From the start, it was clear that Poirier had more power and he consistently got the best of the boxing exchanges for 25 minutes. Poirier won a unanimous decision (49-46 across) to capture UFC gold and set up a unification bout with Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 on Sept. 7 of 2019 in Abu Dhabi.
The fight lasted 12 minutes and six seconds. Other than Poirier landing several nice punches in the few moments the fight remained standing early in the second and third rounds, it was all Nurmagomedov, who landed an early takedown in Round 1 and dominated from the top position for the rest of the stanza. It was much of the same in the final four minutes of the second frame.
When Nurmagomedov got Poirier down early in the third, Poirier was able to attempt a guillotine-choke submission. However, both fighters were wet and sweaty at this point, making the submission more difficult to execute. After calmly fighting off the choke for about 20-25 seconds, Nurmagomedov wiggled out and promptly moved into top position. It wasn’t long afterward that he forced Poirier to tap with a rear-naked choke.
For the first time in his career, Poirier was sidelined for an extended stretch and underwent shoulder surgery. Ten months later, he returned to the UFC APEX Facility this past summer to take on Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker in a five-round headliner.
In a bloody battle that garnered FOTN honors, Poirier won a UD (48-47, 48-46, 48-47) by dominating the fourth and fifth rounds. Both men had plenty of big moments in the first three rounds, which played out like a firefight in a phone booth. Every time Poirier seemingly had Hooker hurt badly, the New Zealander would dig deep and rally back. A big knee out of the clinch briefly staggered Poirier in Round 2, but he fought his way out of it.
I was holding a Poirier to win inside-the-distance ticket and thought I was on the verge of winning 4-5 different times in the fourth and fifth rounds. However, Hooker refused to tap on a deep choke and a sick armbar, and the referee never intervened when Poirier was dealing out ground-and-pound punishment from mount late in the fifth.
Poirier is now 10-2 with one no-contest since moving up to 155 pounds. Over that 13-fight stretch, he owns wins over four former UFC champions in Holloway, Alvarez, Pettis and Gaethje. He’s in a third-place tie for KO/TKO wins in the division’s history with six, and Poirier is in a ninth-place tie for most fight-night bonuses as a lightweight with eight.
When Poirier was a featherweight, he captured notable wins over the likes of Holloway (in Max’s Octagon debut), Jonathan Brookins, Erik Koch and Diego Brandao.
Poirier has earned seven career FOTN bonuses and 11 career bonuses to rank seventh in UFC history. His scrap with Gaethje was 2018 FOTY, and Poirier’s fourth-round submission loss to The Korean Zombie was the 2012 Fight of the Year.
McGregor’s meteoric rise to international stardom continued at warp speed after his win over Poirier at UFC 178. Next, the Dublin native defeated Dennis Siver via second-round TKO in the UFC Boston main event. That victory earned him a title shot vs. then-featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo.
After a world tour over 12 days that included promotional stops in eight cities across five countries, McGregor appeared to be dominating the mental warfare between himself and the Brazilian. Then 18 days before the fight, it was reported that Aldo had sustained a fractured rib in training.
He eventually pulled out of the bout, setting up a short-notice fight with Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight strap. Mendes dominated the first nine minutes of the fight. He scored early takedowns in both rounds and then delivered ground-and-pound punishment from the top position.
Mendes drew blood on McGregor with a cut from an elbow on his forehead. It was the first time McGregor had been bloodied in his sixth Octagon appearance. Nevertheless, McGregor continued to talk trash from the bottom position. With less than a minute remaining in the second frame, McGregor was able to get back to his feet.
After taking the bout on short notice and making a difficult weight cut, Mendes was starting to tire. McGregor took advantage and started peppering his opponent with strikes. He floored Mendes with a left hand and ‘Money’ covered up, prompting the referee to intervene with three seconds remaining in Round 2.
The TKO victory set up the match with Aldo at UFC 194 to unify the belts. McGregor needed only one punch, a counter left, to put Aldo to sleep in merely 13 seconds. ‘The Notorious’ instantly took aim at lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, who was happy to grant McGregor a title shot at UFC 196 in March of 2016.
Dos Anjos pulled out of the fight, though, two weeks beforehand due to a broken foot. In its rush to find a replacement, the UFC found an opponent who made for an even bigger fight in Nate Diaz, who had just returned from partying on a vacation in Mexico. Diaz agreed to the fight, but asked for it to take place at 165 pounds due to the short notice.
McGregor countered that the weight was not relevant, insisting they do battle at 170 pounds. In what was the opposite of the Mendes scrap, McGregor dominated the first 7-8 minutes vs. Diaz, who was a bloody mess from absorbing so many strikes.
But a combination from Diaz completely shifted the course of the fight. The left hand from Diaz buckled McGregor, who was hurt and starting to gas. After Diaz got the better of a few more striking exchanges, McGregor desperately attempted a takedown that was easily stuffed.
Once on the ground, it was all Nate. He took the mount position and started dropping bombs on McGregor, who gave up his back. Then Diaz flattened him out and forced a quick tap with a rear-naked choke.
Diaz instantly became a millionaire and was all about making more cash ASAP. He granted an immediate rematch with McGregor at UFC 202, and the Dubliner insisted the bout be contested at welterweight again.
In a back-and-forth thriller that Diaz appeared to be on the verge of finishing late in both the second and third rounds, McGregor captured a majority decision (48-47, 47-47, 48-47) victory. Diaz clearly won the third and fifth rounds, while McGregor won the first and fourth rounds. The decision came down to the second stanza.
McGregor was dominating the second frame for the first three minutes before getting stung by Diaz and, similar to the first fight, starting to tire a bit. Diaz poured it on in the final minute of the second, hammering McGregor with punches, knees and elbows against the fence. McGregor was fortunate to survive the round, yet all three judges gave him the nod in the stanza.
After exacting revenge on Nate, McGregor won the lightweight strap with a second-round KO win over Alvarez at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. However, he never defended his belt at featherweight or lightweight. Instead, he opted for an eight-figure payday in a boxing match with unbeaten Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, who won by 10th-round TKO.
McGregor went 23 months without an Octagon appearance. McGregor spent 2017 and 2018 partying and enjoying the fame and money earned by his accomplishments.
To say he lost his way would be an understatement. He was arrested multiple times, accused of sexual assault in both Ireland and America and was caught on video sucker punching an old man who had turned down a shot of whiskey from him. There was an incident at a Bellator show where he acted like a maniac and the big one in Brooklyn.
Twenty-four hours after Nurmagomedov and his team cornered McGregor’s teammate, Artem Lebov, at an NYC hotel in a mini-altercation that ended with Nurmagomedov slapping Lebov, McGregor and a large ground arrived in Gotham via private plane that McGregor instantly chartered from Ireland after seeing the Nurmagomedov-Lebov fray on camera.
As the UFC 223 fighters were leaving Barclays Arena on a bus in the bowels of the facility, McGregor and his group surrounded the bus, throwing items at the windows, one of which broke the glass and caused cuts that forced three of the show’s fights to be cancelled. McGregor was arrested, booked and spent a night in jail in NYC.
Therefore, bad blood was in the air when McGregor returned to the Octagon to face Nurmagomedov, who had won the lightweight strap at UFC 223 by defeating Al Iaquinta. McGregor spent the week partying and talking trash.
Although he displayed terrific takedown defense in the opening round, Nurmagomedov took it to him on the ground in the second stanza. McGregor kept the bout standing and many observers scored Round 3 his way. But in the fourth, Nurmagomedov got McGregor down and forced him to tap with a neck crank.
McGregor finally started to slow his roll late in 2019. After several years of making an ass of himself and losing all focus and passion for the fight game, he went back to work. He planned a “three-fight season” for 2020 starting with a welterweight clash against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 of 2020.
McGregor added muscle and looked like a strong welterweight. He made quick work of Cerrone in merely 40 seconds thanks to a headkick and follow-up strikes. However, the global pandemic and some bickering with Dana White kept McGregor sidelined for the rest of 2020.
That hibernation is poised to end Saturday night on ‘Fight Island.’ McGregor appears to be in outstanding condition both physically, mentally and emotionally.
In short, it looks as if ‘The Old Conor’ is back.
UFC 257 Predictions
McGregor vs. Poirier
McGregor vs. Poirier - Betting Strategy
I’ve made a lot of money backing Dustin during his brilliant lightweight run.
The Louisiana native has 10 wins since he lost to McGregor, who is 1-1 in just two fights at 155 pounds.
Make no mistake, Poirier can win this fight. He has brilliant stand-up skills and can hurt opponents with powerful kicks and dynamite power in his left hand. If he’s smart, Dustin will try to get McGregor in the clinch and do some grappling in the early going. If McGregor can’t finish Poirier in the first 7-8 minutes of the fight, it’ll be advantage Dustin the rest of the way.
Unfortunately for him, it appears as if he’s catching McGregor (again) at a time when he’s as focused as he was on his way to stardom. Therefore, I’m going to go with McGregor. I’m not sure that this prop bet I’m about to mention is available at many spots, so I’ll leave it off of my “official plays” (that are in bold to follow). But if you can find this prop, I think it’s the best bet on the board – McGregor to win either Round 1 or Round 2 at -120 price.
Let’s put one unit on the McGregor prop to win in Round 1 for a +200 payout.
Also, I want two units on the adjusted total of ‘under’ 1.5 rounds for a +110 return.
Finally, let’s include McGregor (-300) in a three-fight parlay with Amanda Ribas (-310 to defeat Marina Rodriguez) and Hooker (-130 vs. Michael Chandler). I like this parlay for one unit that pays out a +212 return.
Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandler
In the co-main event, sixth-ranked Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker will welcome former three-time Bellator lightweight kingpin Michael Chandler to the UFC. As of Friday morning, most books had Hooker (MMA, UFC) installed as the ‘chalk’ in the 130 to -135 range. Chandler was around +110 on the comeback, while the total was 2.5 rounds flat (-115 either way).
Before losing to Poirier, the 30-year-old Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) had won seven of his eight previous fights. In that stretch, he registered five finishes with four knockouts and one submission. His victims included the likes of Gilbert Burns, who is about to face Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title, in addition to Jim Miller, Ross Pearson, James Vick, Iaquinta and Paul Felder.
Hooker has 10 career wins by KO, seven via submissions and three by decision. He’s only been finished three times, once by KO (Edson Barboza) and twice by submission (Hoatian Wu and Sonny Brown).
Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is making his Octagon debut, but it won’t be his first UFC payday. He was paid to make weight and serve as the backup for the Nurmagomedov-Gaethje fight back in October.
Chandler has won back-to-back fights since losing his Bellator belt to Patricio Freire by first-round KO at Bellator 221 on May 11 of 2019. He’s off a first-round KO win over Benson Henderson, the former UFC lightweight champion. It was his second career win over Henderson, and he’s split a pair of meetings against another former UFC 155-pound champ, Alvarez.
Chandler had twice beaten Freire before losing to him 19 months ago.
UFC 257 Predictions
Hooker vs. Chandler
Chandler has obviously been in big fights before, but there’s nothing like that UFC debut.
We’ve seen the likes of Pettis lose to Clay Guida in his Octagon debut. Will Brooks, a former Bellator champ who has a 2-0 record against Chandler, came to the UFC with much fanfare, only to get cut after going 1-3 in four scraps. Hooker proved he’s a top-five lightweight in his gutty loss to Poirier. Give me two units on Hooker at the -130 price.
There’s not much else on the card calling my name. I’m a huge fan of Ribas, the 27-year-old Brazilian that's 4-0 in the UFC. She’s too expensive, however, on the straight price, so I’ve only included her in the aforementioned parlay.
Therefore, my only other play is going to be on Khalil Rountree for one unit to win in Round 1 (even-money +100 payout) vs. Marcin Prachnio, who is 0-3 in the UFC with three first-round losses.
Rountree has three first-round KO wins in his last seven fights.
UFC 257 Fight Card Odds
Listed below are the odds for the remaining nine bouts for the UFC 257 card.
You can follow the updates in our UFC Betting Odds.
Main Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
Jessica Eye (+100) vs. Joanne Calderwood (-120)
Marina Rodriguez (+260) vs. Amanda Ribas (-310)
Andrew Sanchez (+125) vs. Makhmud Muradov (-145)
Prelims Card (8:00 p.m. ET)
Catchweight (157 lb)
Matt Frevola (+500) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (-700)
Brad Tavares (-120) vs. Antônio Carlos Júnior (+100)
Julianna Peña (-105) vs. Sara McMann (-115)
Khalil Rountree Jr. (-330) vs. Marcin Prachnio (+270)
Early Prelims (6:40 p.m. ET)
Catchweight (150 lb) Bout
Movsar Evloev (-600) vs. Nik Lentz (+450)
Amir Albazi (-105) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-115)