By Jed Meshew | | 7 mins
Poirier vs McGregor Odds, UFC 257 Tips & Top Bets To Back
This weekend, Conor McGregor returns at the UFC’s first pay-per-view event of the year, UFC 257. In the main event, McGregor, the former UFC featherweight champion and lightweight champion, has a rematch against former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. Though it’s only January, this fight figures to be one of the biggest UFC betting events of the year – not just because it involves Conor McGregor but because of the potential fallout.
Last November, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the sport following after the death of his father, Abdulmanap. Since then, UFC President Dana White has insisted that he believes Nurmagomedov will fight one more time. This past weekend, White revealed that Nurmagomedov had indeed said he’d be willing to fight if one of the lightweights at UFC 257 really impressed him.
So McGregor and Poirier are fighting for what is almost certainly a title shot, whether Nurmagomedov retires or not – but they are also aiming for a rematch with the man who ended their own lightweight title aspirations.
But that’s not all on Saturday’s card in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In the co-main event, former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler is making his UFC debut against rising contender Dan Hooker. White also suggested that Khabib’s proffer was extended to the co-main event as well. If either can put on the performance of a lifetime, they could jump the line of lightweight contenders to face Nurmagomedov in what would be billed as the swan song for the greatest lightweight of all time.
It’s a big weekend, so let’s get to it.
UFC 257 Betting Lines & Picks
UFC 257: McGregor vs Poirier Prediction
Poirier and McGregor first fought in 2014 at UFC 178 and McGregor knocked Poirier out in under two minutes. It was a star-making performance for McGregor, who looked to be worlds beyond Poirier. However in the six-plus years since their first bout, a number of things have changed and there are plenty of reasons to believe that history won’t repeat itself.
First, McGregor-Poirier I was contested at featherweight and since then both men have moved up to lightweight. That would seem to be equal for the two fighters, but I believe it actually favors Poirier. Without severely compromising himself to make 145, he now can take punches better.
But more important, Poirier is just a much, much better fighter than he was back then. He went toe-to-toe in power shots with Justin Gaethje (a bigger pure hitter than McGregor) and Max Holloway (maybe the best boxer in the sport) and came out on top.
To be sure, McGregor has also improved since their first fight; however, he has had a number of very public personal issues. He looks more weathered and has competed sparingly over the past few years. There’s every reason to believe we won’t get the best version of McGregor on Saturday and we will be getting that from Poirier. McGregor is the biggest star in the sport so odds on his fights are always skewed by the general public. This is no exception. McGregor might well win the fight, but he shouldn’t win it 70% of the time, which is what these odds imply. Take the value on Poirier at +240 at DraftKings.
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UFC 257: McGregor vs Poirier Over/Under Prediction
When McGregor and Poirier first fought, Poirier was a power puncher with minimal defense; he was prone to overaggression. He did the same thing over and over defensively so McGregor picked up on that almost immediately and cracked him over his guard, ending the fight quickly. But now Poirier is not so easily read.
In the past few years, Poirier has become one of the best boxers in the sport, blending his aggression with a multi-layered defense. Max Holloway, the most high-volume striker in the sport, had an extremely difficult time getting through Poirier’s defense, and Holloway throws four more strikes per minute than McGregor does. Plus, Poirier will almost certainly look to mix things up by wrestling as well as striking. This fight could be an all-time classic and is very likely to last into the championship rounds. I love this Over bet at +160 at Caesars.
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UFC 257: Hooker vs Chandler Prediction
The co-main event looks better on paper than it will be in reality. Michael Chandler is a former three-time Bellator lightweight champion but he’s also 34 and hasn’t faced a truly world-class fighter in several years. Meanwhile, Dan Hooker is coming off one of the Fights of the Year in 2020 – against none other than Poirier – and has improved each time he has stepped in the cage.
Perhaps most important for this matchup, Hooker has a long reach and excellent takedown defense against Chandler’s wrestle-boxing game plan. I expect “Iron” Mike to get pieced up with combinations for most of the bout. Hooker is a great play at -120 at BetAmerica.
UFC 257: McMann vs Pena Prediction
Not long ago, Julianna Peña was a rising star in the sport but now she’s just an also ran in the women’s bantamweight division. That has happened in part because Peña has not fought much in the past three years and in part because she started facing better competition. McMann is on that level of better competition.
A former Olympic silver medalist, McMann is one of the best wrestlers in women’s MMA and that should pair nicely against Peña’s poor takedown defense. These odds should be longer so take McMann at -118 at FOX Bet or wait for the McMann by decision prop to drop and then take that for the added value.
UFC 257: Lentz vs Evloev Prediction
This is a fairly simple fade bet. Movsar Evloev is an undefeated prospect generating a lot of hype after some decent wins in his UFC career. But Nik Lentz is a big step up in competition. Letnz is one of the most hard-nosed fighters in the division and has made a career out of upsetting apple carts just like this one. This is exactly the kind of bout that rising prospects often lose on their way to becoming better fighters down the road. There is a fair chance it happens to Evloev this weekend. Bet on Lentz at +345 with Resorts.
UFC 257 Date, Time & TV Information
When is UFC 257?
UFC 257 is Saturday, Jan. 23, at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
What Time is UFC 257?
The main card is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET; prelims begin at 6:15.
Where Can I Watch UFC 257?
The UFC 257 main card is on ESPN+ pay-per-view; prelims are on ESPN.