UFC 257 Picks, Odds & Predictions: McGregor vs. Poirier II
Bet of the Card: (2u) Two-Leg Parlay: Movsar Evloev Moneyline (-400) + Arman Tsarukyan Moneyline (-225) for -123 (to Return 3.611 Units)
1st Leg of Parlay: Movsar Evloev Moneyline @ -400
Preliminary Card Featherweight (145lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:15 p.m. EST.
- Movsar Evloev is an undefeated 13-0 prospect who has already recorded notable wins over Enrique Barzola and Mike Grundy, two fighters who had a lot more to offer him than Nik Lentz.
I do my best to steer clear of seriously big favorites in MMA, but at -400, Movsar Evloev is exactly the kind of fighter I’m looking for when I do make the odd exception. He’s extremely well-rounded, has a good gas tank, and he’s only getting better at 26 years of age. He’s known for his exceptional grappling skills, but as we’ve seen over the course of his last few fights, his striking is constantly improving, making him a nightmare to deal with wherever the fight takes place.
Nik Lentz is nearly a full decade Evloev’s senior, and although he’s got over three times the fighting experience, it doesn’t look like he’s got a lot left in him. A former lightweight, Lentz now finds himself down at featherweight, challenging Evloev, who previously held the M-1 Bantamweight Championship, prior to joining the UFC. This might lead you to thinking that Lentz will have a significant size advantage over the Russian, but it’s not as much as you’d think, with him only benefiting from a 1-inch height advantage, and him actually giving up 4-inches in reach (per UFCStats.com).
I’m genuinely struggling to see where Lentz has an edge in this fight, other than his wealth of octagon experience. Evloev is the better striker and grappler, and his conditioning is also superior to Lentz’. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Evloev take a commanding victory on the scorecards, or finish this inside the distance, and for that reason, I’m taking him straight as the first leg of my UFC 257 moneyline parlay.
2nd Leg of Parlay: Arman Tsarukyan Moneyline @ -225
Main Card Women’s Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:40 p.m. EST.
- Since losing his second pro fight, Arman Tsarukyan has gone 14-1, with his only loss coming via decision against the ranked and highly acclaimed, Islam Makhachev (per Tapology.com).
Hardcore MMA fans seem to have a pretty good grasp on how good Arman Tsarukyan is by now, but I still think the betting markets are just slightly behind when they’re throwing out lines like -225 on him. I understand, Nasrat Haqparast is a legitimate young prospect too, but Tsarukyan is just a different animal in terms of his skill set and the challenges he presents other fighters.
His clinch work and wrestling is so calculated and smothering, and his distance management on the feet creates all sorts of problems for fighters looking to close the gap to strike with him. Nasrat has some ridiculously fast and loose hands, but with Tsarukyan’s ability to keep range and pick apart people with his kickboxing, I’m not sure how much of a difference fast hands will make. Should Nasrat look to advance too aggressively, I could see a lot of opportunity for Tsarukyan to shoot for a takedown and begin to control the fight from top position.
There’s always the chance that Nasrat could produce a career performance similar to his showing against Marc Diakiese, or he could even crash the pocket and catch Arman with something, but I just don’t see that happening enough to warrant him being just a 2-to-1 underdog.
This fight could get a little scrappy at times, but with Tsarukyan’s multifaceted offense and strong defensive skills, I see him as good value at -225. Should Tsarukyan put on the performance I expect out of him, there’s a strong chance this will be the last time we’ll be able to bet him within this price range against a non-ranked opponent. Take Arman Tsarukyan as the second leg to close out our moneyline parlay, I see him taking a decision win, but a finish isn’t out of the realm of possibility with his grappling advantage.
(0.5u) Conor McGregor to Win by Round 1 KO/TKO/DQ @ +225 (to Return 1.625 Units)
Main Event Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 00:15 a.m. EST.
- Conor McGregor has won 19 fights via KO/TKO, 14 of which were in the very first round (per Sherdog.com).
It’s been a couple of weeks since I released my initial breakdown for this fight, but now that fight week has commenced, the bookies have expanded their market offerings, and I can’t help but make another small play on this blockbuster bout.
I haven’t come to any new conclusions, I’m still sticking with Conor McGregor via KO, I’m simply just adding another play on him to win via KO/TKO/DQ in round 1.
I rate Poirier as a striker, but there’s holes there to exploit for someone with McGregor’s striking pedigree. Conor is one of the best fast-starters we’ve ever seen in the sport, and as we all know, it only takes one shot from him to draw a close to proceedings. Poirier has worn damage well in his most recent wars, but against the power of McGregor, I’d be pretty stunned to see him survive as he’s done against lessor hitters.
I expect to see Conor come out the gates hot, applying pressure from the off. This will give Poirier the option as to whether he circles him and remains patient, or if he looks to engage with him right away. Unfortunately for Dustin, I can see him meeting McGregor in the middle, not looking to give the Irishman an inch, but that could prove to be his undoing. I see him getting clipped early by something and the end coming shortly thereafter. It could be McGregor’s famous left hand, but after seeing what he did to “Cowboy” Cerrone in his last fight, we know it could come from just about anyway.
I like Conor to win the fight via knockout, and at +225, I think there’s some thin value to take a small additional stab on him getting it done within the first round.
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Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 / UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier 2 / #UFC257
Location & Venue: Flash Forum (UFC Fight Island), Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date: Saturday, January 23rd, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims: 8 p.m. EST, Early Prelims: 6:30 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on PPV, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+, Early Prelims on ESPN+
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 Main Event Prediction
Lightweight (155lbs): Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier – McGregor via KO/TKO
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 Main Card Predictions
Lightweight (155lbs): Dan Hooker vs. Michael Chandlers – Hooker via KO/TKO
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood – Eye via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Ottman Azaitar vs. Matt Frevola – Azaitar via KO/TKO
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Ribas – Ribas via Decision
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 Prelim Card Predictions
Lightweight (155lbs): Arman Tsarukyan vs. Nasrat Haqparast - Tsarukyan via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Brad Tavares vs. Antônio Carlos Júnior – Carlos Junior via Submission
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Julianna Peña vs. Sara McMann – McMann via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Khalil Rountree vs. Marcin Prachnio – Roundtree via KO/TKO
Middleweight (185lbs): Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov – Muradov via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Movsar Evloev vs. Nik Lentz – Evloev via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Amir Albazi vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov – Zhumagulov via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.
What time does the McGregor fight start?
The main card for UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 starts at 10 p.m. ET, with McGregor vs. Poirier expected to start at around midnight ET.
How to watch the McGregor fight?
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 is available on PPV, with the prelims and early prelims available on ESPN and ESPN+ respectively.
How tall is Conor McGregor?
Conor McGregor is 5 ft 9 in tall, or 175 cm. He’ll be taking on Dustin Poirier who is also 5 ft 9 in tall.