UFC 264: A look ahead to Poirier vs. McGregor 3

Dustin Poirier (blue gloves) reacts against Khabib Nurmagomedov (red gloves) during UFC 242 at The Arena.
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Matthew Lowrimore

UFC

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Matthew has been with Pickswise for a while now, covering a wide variety of sports. His main passions are college football and UFC, and those are the sports he has covered the most. Matthew uses a variety of methods to handicap games, including stats, trends, injuries, and situational factors. His goal is to consistently give out winners and will put in the research to try and achieve this.

Back in January of this year, Conor McGregor made his return to the UFC against Dustin Poirier. This was their second fight, but it did not go as planned for McGregor. The result of this fight was a win by Poirier by TKO/KO in the second-round. Immediately after that fight, McGregor called for a third rematch, which is where we sit now with the third fight coming up this weekend.

A brief history of Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier

This time around, the odds have changed and McGregor finds himself a slight underdog. I do expect money to come in on McGregor at this price because he is still a fan favorite. He comes into this fight with an MMA record of 22-5 and will be looking to improve on that previous fight against Poirier. Perhaps the winner of this fight could find themselves in the driver’s seat for a Lightweight title shot, most recently claimed by Charles Oliveira. Despite that recent loss, McGregor is still unpredictable and has 19 wins by TKO/KO to his name.

Poirier will be desperately looking to get a Lightweight title shot because one win against McGregor was not enough. He is currently 27-6 in his MMA career and 20-6 in the UFC. Poirier comes into this fight on a tw0-fight winning streak with his last loss coming to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019. He tends to be a very balanced fighter, winning 13 times by TKO/KO, seven by submission and seven by decision.

How we got here

This fight quickly came to fruition after Poirier beat McGregor back in January. When it comes to huge rivalries, there always tends to be a trilogy, especially if the fighters split the first two fights. Since that January fight, Michael Chandler and Oliveira battled it out for the Lightweight title and as mentioned, Oliveira came away with the win. It was a little surprising to see Chandler get a title shot before Poirier given his recent success, but this fight here should likely give Oliveira his next challenger.

January 18, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor celebrates his first round TKO victory against Donald Cerrone following UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena.

CREDIT – Mark J. Rebilas (USA TODAY)

What to expect and keys to victory

In the trilogy fight, I am expecting a fight much like the one in January. McGregor came out fast and hard, stunning Poirer in the first round. He maybe should have even finished that fight quickly, but the chin from Poirer has clearly improved and he was able to escape. Then in the second round, it was all Poirier.

For McGregor, the keys to victory are what they always tend to be. He needs to keep this one standing and use his striking ability to overwhelm Poirier as he did in that previously mentioned first-round. McGregor pretty much never wins by submission, so he will likely want to avoid a grapple. There is also the fact that four of his five losses have come by submission.

For Poirier, his keys to victory are similar to what we saw in January. We know he is a very balanced fighter, so taking down McGregor would only help him here. He will need to survive the expected flurry from McGregor early, maybe tire him out just a bit and then use his lethal striking to catch McGregor off guard.

Final thoughts on McGregor vs. Poirier

McGregor can sometimes be a little hectic, while Poirier tends to more composed. I will look for a similar result to the fight in January where McGregor looks good early, but Poirier battles back and ends up getting his second win over McGregor.

Verdict: Dustin Poirier (-120)

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