UFC 264, Picks & Predictions: Poirier vs. McGregor 3

MMA handicapper Christian Broughton provides his picks for this Saturday’s stacked UFC 264 card, including his best bet for the Poirier vs. McGregor trilogy fight.
Christian Broughton
Wed, July 7, 11:19 AM EDT

Bet of the Card: (3u) Stephen Thompson Moneyline @ -154 (to Return 4.95 Units)

Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson

Co-Main Event – Welterweight (170lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:45 p.m. EST.

  • Stephen Thompson will benefit from a 2-inch height (6’ vs. 5’10”) and a 4-inch reach (75” vs. 71”) advantage over Gilbert Burns (per UFCStats.com).
  • Thompson averages over 1 whole significant strike landed per minute more than Burns (4.24 vs. 3.22), whilst also absorbing fewer strikes on average (2.8 vs. 3.04) (per UFCStats.com).

At 38 years old, you could say that Stephen Thompson has out-grown his “Wonderboy” nickname, but if you weren’t privy to that piece of information, and solely looking at his recent fights, you’d think he is in his 20’s. He is just about as quick and elusive as ever, and his ring (or Octagon) generalship is at its all-time best. There are some lingering concerns following his shock KO loss to Anthony Pettis in early-2019, but excusing that, he’s looked simply incredible for almost his entire career, even in defeat.

With his 35th birthday less than 2 weeks away, Gilbert Burns (pictured below) is no spring chicken himself, but much like Thompson, he’s still going strong. In his last fight, he took on Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship, and although he came up short, he had the dominant champ in some serious adversity after dropping him twice in the early goings. Ultimately though, Burns started the fight with a bit too much intensity, and as a result, he became fatigued, and he ended up getting TKO’ed in the first minute of the 3rd round.

It’ll be difficult to predict how Burns will respond after his 6-fight win streak was snapped in the biggest fight of his life, in such a heart wrenching manner. I wouldn’t put it past the Brazilian to bounce back, but he really couldn’t have hoped for a worse matchup to try and do so against.

Burns has power, speed, and explosivity when he strikes, but with him giving up such a pronounced reach disparity, to a fighter who utilizes range like no one else, it’s going to be exceptionally hard for him to get his offense going. Burns, will of course, have the grappling advantage, with both his wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. That said, however, it’s not often you see Wonderboy’s opponents getting anywhere near close enough to him in order to engage in the grappling, and even when they do, his 78% takedown defense is still pretty strong (per UFCStats.com).

All in all, I see Thompson’s range management and volume being what wins him this fight. Burns will be dangerous in close quarters, but with Thompson being able to work from the outside, peppering him with a variety of shots, I struggle to see how Burns gets in close, for any prolonged period of time. Thompson’s chin is a little bit of a concern given his age and the Pettis fight, but he’s just recently fought Vicente Luque (pictured below) and Geoff Neal, two power hitters, and he was able to take their shots, and out-land them a combined 309-162 on significant strikes (per UFCStats.com).

I’m taking Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson’s moneyline here, -154 is extremely reasonable, even when factoring in his advanced age. Look for him to win a lopsided decision, but him catching and knocking out Burns as he looks to close the distance, is also a likely outcome.

(2.5u) Dustin Poirier Moneyline @ -125 (to Return 4.5 Units)

Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor 3

Main Event Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 00:15 a.m. EST.

  • Since Conor McGregor last won at lightweight, Dustin Poirier has gone 7-1 (with 1 No Contest), and his only loss came against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who also bested McGregor.
  • Conor McGregor is now 1-2 at lightweight in the UFC, and his only win came against Eddie Alverez, who has since gone 2-3 (with 2 No Contests), largely against lessor competition in One Championship.

The combat sports world is divided on this one, perhaps more so than any MMA fight in recent memory. On one side, you’ve got the McGregor believers; they see the confidence, the swagger, his past accomplishments, and they see him eclipsing greatness once more. And on the other side, you’ve got his doubters; the people who say that he’s only won one fight since 2016, and we saw him lose decisively to Poirier, not even 6 full months ago.

I am in the latter camp. I understand that if anyone were to have the mental fortitude to shrug off the doubters, it would be McGregor, and if any fighter were to put on a career best showing, seemingly out-of-nowhere, it would be him too. But that’s not to say that he’s the right side in a closely-lined rematch.

Their fight at UFC 257 was tightly contested for the most-part. The first round was close, and could have gone either way, you might even argue that McGregor looked like the slightly fresher man when they headed back to their corners, which was unexpected. However, as we all know, it was the leg kicks that racked up for Poirier that ended up being the deciding factor, hindering the movement of McGregor, thus allowing Poirier to rush in and secure the KO finish (video below).

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that McGregor couldn’t make the adjustments to his style to defend against the low kicks, but that’s a tough ask in such a short space of time, especially when his style has been shifting to become less elusive and more stationary, for a number of years at this point. On top of this, the mental factor alone that he could be pulverized by leg kicks again, or taken down, will play in his mind, and it could create an avalanche of momentum against him, should he be unable to defend flawlessly.

Could I see McGregor knocking out Poirier? Sure, absolutely, but at near-even money to bet it, I don’t see any value there whatsoever. As for his other avenues to victory, him landing a submission has almost a 0% likelihood, and him out-pointing the better conditioned, more experienced, and more-active fighter, for 25-mintues, seems a stretch.

Whereas, we know Poirier has the wrestling and submission skills to put away guys on the mat, we’ve seen him out-work top-level guys to decisions, and we’ve seen him win the majority of his fights via KO/TKO (14 KO/TKO, 6 Submissions, 7 Decisions) (per Tapology.com).

With McGregor nowadays, there’s always going to be a narrative needed to bet on him. Not to mention that there’s always going to be a slew of public money coming in on him, making him overvalued on the betting line, regardless of his competition. But with Poirier, he’s the known commodity at this point. He’s shown us what he’s capable of for a prolonged period. He’s got his win back against McGregor, in emphatic fashion, no less. And he’s still inherently undervalued due to the man he’s facing.

For all these reasons, I’m taking Poirier on the moneyline at a very playable -125. I see him getting a slightly later stoppage this time round, but a decision victory wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.

 

Event: UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 / McGregor vs. Poirier 3 / Conor vs. Dustin 3 / #UFC264

Location & Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Date: Saturday, July 10th, 2021

Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 8 p.m. EST, Early Prelims: 6 p.m. EST.

Where to watch: Main Card on PPV, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+, Early Prelims on ESPN+

UFC Odds: Click here to view the full list of odds for UFC 264: Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor 3

 

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 Full Fight Card Predictions

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 Main Event Prediction

Lightweight (155lbs): Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor – Poirier via Submission

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 Main Card Predictions

Welterweight (170lbs): Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson – Thompson via Decision

Heavyweight (265lbs): Tai Tuivasa vs. Greg Hardy – Tuivasa via Decision

(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya – Kunitskaya via Decision

Bantamweight (135lbs): Sean O'Malley vs. Kris Moutinho – O’Malley via KO/TKO

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 Prelim Card Predictions

Welterweight (170lbs): Carlos Condit vs. Max Griffin – Griffin via Decision

Welterweight (170lbs): Niko Price vs. Michel Pereira – Pereira via KO/TKO

Featherweight (145lbs): Ryan Hall vs. Ilia Topuria – Topuria via Decision

Middleweight (185lbs): Trevin Giles vs. Dricus Du Plessis – Du Plessis via Submission

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 Early Prelim Card Predictions

(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Jennifer Maia vs. Jessica Eye – Eye via Decision

Middleweight (185lbs): Omari Akhmedov vs. Brad Tavares – Tavares via Decision

Flyweight (125lbs): Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs. Jerome Rivera – Zhumagulov via

Middleweight (185lbs): Hu Yaozong vs. Alen Amedovski – Yaozong via Decision

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.

Click here to check out the all the Best Odds for the Fights!

McGregor vs. Poirier 3 FAQ

What time does the McGregor fight start?

The main card for UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 starts at 10 p.m. ET, with McGregor vs. Poirier expected to start at around midnight ET.

How to watch the McGregor fight?

UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 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.

Christian Broughton
ChrisRBroughton
A former sportsbook trader with a passion for mixed martial arts. If there is value to be found then Christian is the man to find it.
Jul 2021
Record
Wins
4
Losses
5
Push
0
ROI
-14.09%
0Betslip

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