It’s the trilogy we all wanted as Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor do battle inside the Octagon for the third time.
McGregor won the first fight by a first-round TKO, before Poirier returned serve with a second-round knockout at UFC 257.
While they opened at even odds, the numbers fluctuated back and forth leading up to the event. In the last week, there’s been a decent online betting move for Poirier shifting him to the slight favorite at -130.
The headline fight at UFC 264 is months in the making, and we can’t wait for this Saturday’s lightweight contest.
McGregor: A More Focused Man
There were plenty of distractions in the McGregor camp when they last fought, but he has been focusing solely on MMA this time around.
Trouble seems to follow the Irishman around, much of his own doing. However, he has managed to stay out of the limelight over the last few months, enabling him to focus purely on beating Dustin Poirier.
“I’ve been busy flat out putting the work in,” McGregor told Bloody Elbow. “Full focus, fully immersed in mixed martial arts, it’s been nothing but mixed martial arts. So I’m ready to put on a show. I’ve got Tristan Kennedy with me, top nutritionist. Has me in the best shape of my life. The most energy I’ve ever had coming into a weight cut. Weight is on point, it’s only what, a little bit over 24 hours before the fight. Where Abu Dhabi was almost three days. So that’s going to be in my favor and I’m more excited about it, excited to get on those scales.”
— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) July 4, 2021
There is a sense of confidence coming from the camp, which isn’t unfamiliar, but he didn’t take his last fight seriously enough. It was considered as a warm-up for his boxing fight with Manny Pacquiao, which didn’t end well.
McGregor owns only one UFC win in the last four-and-a-half years. He knocked out Eddie Alvarez in November 2016 before losing to Khabib in 2018. He would go on to beat a tired Donald Cerrone in under a minute at UFC 246, before losing to Poirier in January.
Despite his underwhelming recent record, we’re loving his renewed focus and we’re also loving the UFC betting odds. Bookmakers have McGregor at even money to win, which is odds we would have only dreamed of a few years ago.
Bettors have every reason to be confident and getting a value price adds to the confidence levels.
Poirier Goes About His Business
One thing we like about Dustin Poirier is his willingness to focus on fighting and do it without causing a scene. He’s the complete opposite to McGregor, which is why he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.
The 32-year-old from Louisiana has suffered only one loss since 2016, which came against Khabib. It’s an impressive list of victories, including knockout wins over Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and McGregor. He also defeated the classy Max Holloway and Dan Hooker by decision, so he has beaten the biggest names in the divisions.
He is rated the sixth best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, and although McGregor makes world headlines, MMA fans respect Poirier to the fullest.
Fight Week!! pic.twitter.com/AdFQuZCxho
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) July 4, 2021
Fellow fighter and former teammate, Colby Covington, who isn’t short of an opinion, is picking Poirier to win.
“You’re beating a guy that has no motivation left in the sport. And I love Conor. He’s had a great career, done great things in the sport, but your time’s up, too,” Covington said. “It’s obvious that you’re not training every day, it’s obvious you’re not working on your craft, it’s obvious you’re working on other business deals to line your pockets and pad your bank account.”
There is a lot of fan support and betting support for Poirier. His odds have shortened from even to -130, which is a decent-sized move in the face of a handle with this much public interest. You also have to weigh up the amount of “public” money that comes religiously for McGregor, so it’s an impressive move in favor of the American.
McGregor vs Poirier Stats
UFC 178 resulted in a Conor McGregor win, but before landing the knockout blow, his statistics were overly impressive.
He landed nine of 29 significant strikes at 31%. Poirier landed 10 of 19 at 52%, so it was a lot of wild swings from McGregor, but it only takes one to land.
Most of McGregor’s punches were directed at the head, whereas Poirier worked the legs, which was the recipe for success in the second meeting.
Poirier landed 18 of 21 leg strikes, which wore down McGregor. They had solid landing percentages, but Poirier was the much busier fighter, landing 48 of 91 compared to McGregor’s 29 of 66.
McGregor vs Poirier Pick
We can’t pass up the value with Conor McGregor, and we’re trusting that he wants to win this fight.
He won’t admit it, but his ego would have taken a hit by his recent defeats and he was once a fighter who hated to lose. Despite filling his pockets with plenty of cash, McGregor’s legacy could be determined by the winner of this fight.
It would be a huge comeback story, and we’d love to see him strut his stuff inside the Octagon one last time.
It requires McGregor to beat one of the hottest fighters in the UFC, but we’re keeping the faith and hoping the luck of the Irish is on our side.