UFC 257: Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier Fight Picks

Photo: John Locher/AP

 

A lot has changed over the past 6 years since Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier first fought. In MMA, that amount of time is an eternity. Though their paths deviated back in 2014, all of these years later, the paths of McGregor and Poirier intersect once again.

Conor McGregor (-325) vs Dustin Poirier (+250) 

Conor McGregor is one of the greatest mixed martial artists on the planet. The notoriously short memory of MMA fans due to the constant barrage of happenings is why people forget what it was that made him so famous in the first place. A quick reflection on his UFC debut against Marcus Brimage and the timeline that brings us to the present time, and it doesn’t take long to jog the memory on why he is who he is. The composure he shows from the moment the fight begins gives him the edge over most everyone. With the body language of someone who is in their gym during a routine sparring session, it’s the calmness in his approach and how cerebral he is about his decision making that’s to thank for so many of the impressive victories.

Since the loss to McGregor and the move up to the lightweight division, Poirier has been on some kind of run. With multiple career-defining moments, including wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alverez, Max Holloway, and Justin Gaethje. Since the loss to McGregor in 2014, Poirier has gone on to cement himself as one of the greatest lightweights in UFC history. When it comes to striking, both fighters are incredibly dangerous but different in style. Poirier is a very technical kickboxer, with ever-improving boxing as his career progressed. He does use his kicks, but it’s the clean, straight down the pipe punching that scores the significant cumulative damage through constant 3-4 point combinations. 

At the end of the day  

McGregor on the other hand keeps a wide stance, throws smaller combinations, but has game-changing power in the left hand. The edge goes to Poirier in striking defense acumen, as McGregor has been known to take some significant damage early. But more often than not, the show stopper of a left-hand ends the fight before he has to take too much, which is what’s most likely to take place Saturday night.

Pick: Conor McGregor 

Michael Chandler(+108) vs Dan Hooker (-132)

Years ago, many hardcore fans of this sport never would have thought we would see Michael Chandler inside the UFC Octagon, but here we are. Dan Hooker will make for a tough debut fight under the banner. The fanduel odds are borderline even for this fight, and for good reason. The two have similar experience in terms of their professional MMA experience, and up until 2018, it was Chandler who had the experience against the higher level of competition. But over the past few years, Hooker has had a tougher schedule in terms of the level of competition. Both of these men are very similar in that they thrive in the gritty firefight battles. Chandler is more of a boxer whereas Hooker likes to use his length and is more of a kickboxer. One of Hooker’s best attributes is his ability to finish fights, with a ratio of 17 of his 20 wins coming by KO/TKO, he is always a serious threat to end things early.

There is something to be said for the Octagon jitters, competing in the UFC for the first time has shaken even the most experienced of fighters. But Chandler is up for the task, and while is certainly an action fighter who likes to get on the inside and throw hands, you have to remember the NCAA Division wrestling credits he holds in his back pocket.

At the end of the day 

On the feet, this is an evenly matched fight. Chandler has serious heat in those hands, and Hooker is a diverse striker with dangerous knees and elbows from all angles. On the mat, it’s Chandler’s world. He has said many times he wants to put on a show for the fans, but reverting to wrestling to ensure getting his first win in the Octagon under his belt is the most likely scenario. 

Pick: Michael Chandler. 

Jessica Eye (-104) vs Joanne Calderwood (-118)

The fanduel oddsmakers having this fight as almost even is as accurate as can be, this one is anyone’s fight. There is an added element of the fact that there is drama between these two girls heading into this fight. Seemingly more so on the side of Calderwood, that emotion may help the Scot or it may hinder her. Both like to stand and strike, so that’s likely what we will get. The bigger stronger fighter physically speaking is Eye, and should this fight go all three rounds that’ll likely play to her advantage. 

At the end of the day 

On paper, this fight is a coin flip. If these two competed 10 times, it’s reasonable to believe they could split at five apiece. So it could come down to the stronger fighter getting the edge by wearing on her opponent along the fence to zap the energy of the smaller fighter, like Eye, has done in the past. Once this fight reaches the judges, the decision win will be unanimous. 

Pick: Jessica Eye 

Khalil Rountree (-360) vs Marcin Prachnio (+290) 

Khalil Rountree has been touch and go throughout his UFC career, going 4-4-1 after 9 fights under the promotion. After voicing his plans to potentially retire from the sport, it wasn’t that long ago that we thought we’d seen the end of Rountree and his days of competing. But for now, the retirement talks have been put to rest, and Rountree finds himself entering this fight as the heavy fanduel betting favorite. Marcin Prachnio’s UFC run has been tough, before making his promotional debut, he was riding an 8 fight win streak that saw six of those victories come by way of KO/TKO. But since he made it to the big show, he has gone 0-3 with all losses coming by way of KO/TKO. The dangerous Polish striker will be in tough against Rountree, who has been intensely focused on his Muay Thai skillset, spending a lot of time in Thailand improving on the craft.

At the end of the day

Although Rountree is coming off of a bit of a layoff, this victory has his name all over it. In a striker vs striker match-up like this one, to the more dynamic striker goes the spoils. Despite being the lesser experienced of the two, and although Rountree’s high-risk approach is a danger to himself in the striking realm, it still has all the markings of a victory for him this time out.

Pick: Khalil Rountree

Marina Rodriguez (+270) vs Amanda Ribas (-355)

After ravaging Paige VanZant in one round and ending the fight by armbar, Amanda Ribas is the UFC’s newest sweetheart. With a 10-1 record, the majority of her wins have come by way of submission, but by all accounts, she is a well-rounded fighter. With 4 UFC wins under her belt, the stakes are higher than ever, as 5 wins in a row would mean a significant bump to her profile. Marina Rodriguez is a heavy fanduel underdog in this fight, but these odds could be a good opportunity to win big. Although 2-1-2 in her last 5, the lone loss came to former flyweight champion, Carla Esparza, and the two wins came over fighters in the upper echelon of the division, Tecia Torres and Jessica Agular. 

At the end of the day 

Ribas comes into this fight with all of the momentum, Rodriguez comes into the fight with little to no pressure in comparison. In a classic striker vs grappler match-up, Rodriquez has the opportunity to halt the Ribas hype train. Though many aren’t expecting it to happen at this juncture, with almost half of her wins coming by KO/TKO and her only loss coming by way of split decision, Rodriguez will find her mark and score the upset victory. 

Pick: Marina Rodriguez  

Should McGregor emerge the victor at UFC 257, the biggest fight that could be made next is unquestionably a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov on Fight Island. But with Khabibs future being so uncertain, it could mean a big opportunity for one of the many viable contenders that are waiting in the wings. 

Are you ready to make your fight picks? Head over to fanduel and enter the fight night contest for this weekend!

 

 

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