The main event of the main card of summer 2020 is officially upon us as the UFC returns to its coliseum that is the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The biggest draw of them all will serve as a headliner in this one, as Conor McGregor steps back into the octagon, once again across from Dustin Poirier.
In what will be the third fight between the two lightweights, Poirier is currently the #1 contender in the division and likely passed up on a shot at the title vs. Charles Oliveira (for now) to take this fight vs. (#5) McGregor.
Will the gamble pay off and allow Poirier to cash both checks? Or will this mark the start of one final McGregor ascent to the top of the sport?
Let’s take a closer look.
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Betting Profile: Dustin Poirier (27-6-0)
Last Five Fights
Arguably one of, if not the, greatest UFC fighters of all time without an outright belt, Poirier comes into this fight with Khabib as his only loss since 2016. The Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has nearly equal victories in TKO and submission over that run and has proved time and time again to be one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game.
Taking a look at the advanced metrics, and that statement holds just as strong.
Landing 5.59 strikes per minute and averaging 1.75 takedowns per 15 minutes, Poirier is a level above McGregor in nearly every major category. His 1.32 submissions per 15 minutes inside the octagon also ranks near the top of the division.
Betting Profile: Conor McGregor (22-5-0)
Last Five Fights
In the history of mixed martial arts, it’s hard to find a more successful promoter of his brand and fights, particularly one that has walked the walk every bit of the way. There’s another type of persona there. However, that seemingly can’t exist without the other.
From the legal battles to the partying, to the boxing-focused hiatus, to the whiskey company, McGregor has seemingly been focused on everything since 2016 – except for the octagon.
Beyond a 2020 win over a well past his prime Cowboy Cerrone, where it was (literally) painfully obvious he was there for one final big check, McGregor has done little to prove to true fight fans he still has the dog in him he once did.
With wins over Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Max Holloway, a second win here over Poirier would propel him into superstardom and amongst the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Looking from a purely statistical standpoint, it’s hard to find a metric where McGregor bests Poirier, even accounting for the long layoffs we’ve seen from McGregor.
The bottom line for me is even in the five years since McGregor’s peak, the sport has evolved to feature more well-rounded fighters at the top that are near as equally good on the ground as they are on their feet and vice versa.
Put simply, I see Poirier as evolving with the sport. McGregor, not so much.
Pick: Dustin Poirier -130
Top Prop Bet
With so much on the line for both fighters in this one, I see a measured approach out of the gates from each as they look to feel each other out for the third and likely final time. For Poirier, his entire approach will likely be to get out of the first round and make adjustments, as McGregor showed a clear lack of ability to do so the last time they fought.
Pick: Total Rounds Over 2.5 (+106)
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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.
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