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Welcome to Abu Dhabi's Yas Island and the biggest bitcoin betting MMA event of the new year. Love him or loathe him, you sure as hell can’t ignore him - and with Conor McGregor’s return to the ring, rest assured the name brings with it a much wider interest than a regular UFC card. Such is McGregor’s draw, or charm.
The Cloudbet Blog previews the return of Conor McGregor to the octagon at UFC 257 to face old rival Dustin Poirier, giving you the information you need to make an informed betting decision ahead of all the action on January 23.
The UFC 257 main event is being billed as a number-one contender bout, with the winner likely to land a Lightweight title fight. It promises to be an enthralling night of MMA action with a card that also features Dan Hooker taking on Michael Chandler.
Poirier vs McGregor 2
Conor McGregor has vowed to deliver “a masterpiece,” when he steps into the octagon for the first time in more than a year since his last fight - a 40-second TKO of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.
But should the Irishman’s lack of activity be a concern for bitcoin bettors?
What we do know, of course, is that McGregor and Poirier have fought before, albeit back in 2014 when McGregor was victorious at UFC 178 via a first-round knockout.
But plenty has happened in the six years since, which means this fight should be a much closer encounter than the first.
Poirier has been on a fine run of form since his loss to McGregor, going 6-1 with a no-contest in his last eight fights. And take a minute to consider that these victories came at a very high level against some seriously accomplished fighters in Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje and most recently, in a very competitive bout with Dan Hooker, who's also fighting on this card.
Both McGregor and Poirer have lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov (in October 2018 and September 2019, respectively), and both in a similar fashion - so although this doesn’t give bettors a conclusive argument for who should be favourite, it does give some grounding to the current level at which both fighters are at.
UFC 257: Analysing the betting markets
McGregor to win by TKO/KO: Yes: 1.57/-174, No: 2.52/+142
Poirier to win by TKO/KO: Yes: 5.79/+479, No: 1.14/-705
McGregor to win by decision: Yes: 6.30/+530, No: 1.12/-800
McGregor to win by submission: Yes: 17.6/+1664, No: 1.03/-3031
Poirier to win (3.32/+232)
An awful lot has changed for both fighters since their first fight, with McGregor going on to reach new heights within the UFC, while Poirier has put together some very solid wins. He's a different fighter from 2014.
Poirier uses his hands well; he’s very durable and has great stamina to last the duration - he is at his best when he’s involved in a dogfight. He can bite down, guts it out, has good combination punches and can put on the pressure.
However, McGregor tends to avoid those kinds of fights. The American already knows that he’s entering the cage against a fighter with the ability to end his night extremely quickly - and if Poirier plans to pressure McGregor with that kind of offence, there’s a good chance he gets taken out - and possibly early.
All this means that the 31-year-old is likely to be a lot more cautious and aware than he was when the pair first met back in 2014.
It’s difficult to see a way he could beat McGregor with enough confidence to bet on it.
McGregor to win (1.33/-301)
McGregor seems to be coming into this fight from a good place - which makes him dangerous.
The key to McGregor's losses - for example, to Khabib or Nate Diaz - is that those who have beat him have brought something a little different to the table. Can Poirier do the same? As good as he is, he’s still predominantly a southpaw striker - a style that has troubled the Irishman in the past (think Nate Diaz), but also one that he has shown he can adjust to. When they first fought, McGregor adapted to Poirier’s high guard by wrapping hooks around it.
There’s also the factor that the whole world is calling this fight a “return” for McGregor, but let’s not forget that he fought last January, while most high-level fighters haven’t been extremely active in a Covid-frought 2020. But make no mistake - even if "return" is a bit of overhype, "rematch" is undeniable.
Total Rounds betting
McGregor has promised fans a repeat performance and that he'll knock out Poirier "inside 60 seconds", like he did to Cerrone back in January last year.
That seems unlikely given Poirier's experience since their first fight, and he’s not going in blindly to the fact that he knows McGregor can switch his lights out at any moment, as we have seen before. Poirier has become much better at moving his head over the years and seems to have developed his defence where he can now avoid power strikes much better than when the pair first met.
Three of Poirier's last five fights have been at a high level and lasted up until the fourth round, so the over 2.5 round market does look tempting at 2.51/+151.
Pick: McGregor to win + over 2.5 rounds.
The tale of the tape
26-6-0 (13 KOs)
22-4-0 (19 KOs)
- 19 of Conor McGregor’s 22 wins have come via KO/TKO.
- McGregor required just 9 strikes to land his knockout blow on Poirier.
- McGregor won the second of his 7 UFC Performance of the Night awards at this fight.
- At 106 seconds, this is Poirier’s second-fastest MMA defeat and McGregor’s fourth-fastest UFC victory to date.
Hooker vs. Chandler: Hooker has the edge
The joint main event of UFC 257 sees Lightweight contender Dan Hooker take on the former three-time Bellator champ Michael Chandler coming into the UFC for the first time.
We are leaning towards Hooker in this one, Chandler being the much shorter of the two - at 5'8" compared to Hooker's 6'0" - and Hooker being longer and a better boxer than people give him credit for.
It’s likely going to be tough for Chandler to secure any kind of rhythm.
And the odds available back this up, with Chandler currently at 2.08/+108 and Hooker at 1.76/-131.
For Chandler to win he’ll need to be dominant in getting regular takedowns, and a win via decision would, in our opinion, be the most likely outcome. A finish is possible, but unlikely, so we’re giving the Kiwi a slight edge in this co-main event.
If you disagree, the Over on 2.5 rounds is 1.83/-120 and the Under is 1.98/-103.
Pick: Hooker to win
Together with Poirier vs. McGregor and Hooker vs. Chandler, the UFC 257 card also has plenty of other action. Click on each link to take you to the latest odds.
Women's Flyweight: Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood (offered at zero margin, with no vig; the fairest odds you'll find online).
Lightweight: Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar
Women's Strawweight: Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas
Lightweight: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Arman Tsarukya
Middleweight: Antônio Carlos Júnior vs. Brad Tavares
Women's Bantamweight: Julianna Peña vs. Sara McMann
Light Heavyweight: Marcin Prachnio vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Catchweight: Nik Lentz vs. Movsar Evloev
Flyweight: Amir Albazi vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
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