UFC 242 Betting Preview

UFC 242 is kicking off bright and early for most of us with the early prelims scheduled for 10:00 AM EST and the main card kicking off around 2:00 EST. The reason for the early start is that this Pay-Per-View event is being held in the United Arab Emirates. This card should be the talk of Abu Dhabi's Showdown Week being held throughout the week.

The main card features 5 fights with the main event featuring a fight for the lightweight title between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier. This fight is between the champion, Khabib, and the interim champion, Poirier.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (-455) vs. Dustin Poirier (+335):

This is a fight between two fighters that had belts wrapped around them after their previous fight. Khabib comes into this fight off of a lengthy lay-off after getting suspended after his post-fight fight caused a lot of chaos in Las Vegas. Khabib was dominant in that performance, just as he has been throughout his career, but it will be interesting to see him fight after being out of the game for 11 months.

Poirier is on a 4 fight win streak that includes wins over Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, and Anthony Pettis. This list is incredibly impressive and it shows that Poirier has definitely earned his way to this title fight on merit and grinding through one of the best divisions in the sport.

Big Question Mark

The question is can Poirier jump into the next tier in this division? For a while now, the discussion surrounding this division has been about Tony, Conor, and Khabib. Who is truly the best fighter in the division?

Well Khabib took care of business against McGregor and is already calling out Tony for the next shot after he beats Poirier on Saturday evening. Poirier has not gotten even close to the same respect in this division as those three, but he gets a chance to earn it on Saturday.

When it comes to beating Khabib, I think you need to be able to feel confident enough to beat him at his own game and I just do not think that Poirier can execute that game plan without eventually getting ragdolled by Khabib. Poirier is a relatively well-rounded fighter, something that is generally a good thing, but I am skeptical that that is the case with Khabib.

Khabib is rumored to beat some of the best wrestlers in the world in sparring on a weekly basis and seems virtually unstoppable when in this setting. However, he has also had no issues with taking on big power punchers, as he has shown over and over again, including recently with McGregor.

Khabib has been so dominant throughout his career with his wrestling that I just do not think that anyone besides a very unorthodox wrestler can really test Khabib and Poirier is not really that. Simply put, Poirier just seems like a very good version of the fighters that Khabib eventually pummels. Could Poirier be good enough to get on the mat with Khabib and survive and eventually take advantage of Khabib on the feet?

I think that this is the most likely path to victory for Poirier here, but is that really realistic? Khabib is 27-0 and has basically looked unstoppable in every fight in his career, especially the ones against top end opponents. I think asking for Poirier to do things that no one else has really come close to doing just isn't realistic for someone that is not head and shoulders better than Khabib's recent competition.

Pick and Prediction

I love Khabib here, regardless of the price. Khabib is one of the greatest fighters of all time and I expect him to take care of a very tough Poirier with relative ease when considering that this is a title fight vs. the top contender in the world.