UFC 242 is kicking off with early prelims at 10:00 AM EST and the main card at 2:00 EST. The 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.
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. Poirier is on a 4 fight win streak that includes wins over Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, and Anthony Pettis. This list is impressive and it shows that Poirier has earned his way to this title fight on merit.
Big Question Mark
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?
Khabib took care of business against McGregor and is already calling out Tony for the next shot after he beats Poirier at UFC 242. Poirier has not gotten even close to the same respect in this division as those 3.
When it comes to beating Khabib, I think you need to be able to feel confident enough to beat him at his own game, I don’t think Poirier can execute that plan without eventually getting rag-dolled by Khabib. Poirier is a relatively well-rounded fighter, something that is generally a good thing, but I am skeptical 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.
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. Asking for Poirier to do things that no one else has really come close to doing just isn’t realistic.