Jun 28, 2021
Jun 28, 2021

UFC 264 preview: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 3

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier betting preview and odds

McGregor and Poirier stats

McGregor vs. Poirier predictions: Where is the value?

McGregor and Poirier's fighting styles analysed

UFC 264 preview: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 3

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier are set to face off for a third time with a headline Lightweight bout at UFC 264. Can Poirier become the first-ever fighter to enjoy back-to-back wins against ‘The Notorious’, or will McGregor avenge his defeat at UFC 257 earlier this year? Read on to inform your McGregor vs. Poirier predictions.

Event: UFC 264

Date: July 10, 2021

Venue: T-Mobile Arena (Nevada, US)

McGregor vs. Poirier: Tale of the tape

Conor 'The Notorious' McGregor

Fighter

Dustin 'The Diamond' Poirier

32

Age

32

175 cm

Height

175 cm

70 kg

Weight

70 kg

188 cm

Reach

183 cm

10-3-0

UFC record

19-4-0 (1 NC)

22-5-0

Overall MMA record

27-6-0 (1 NC)

49%

Striking accuracy

49%

#5

UFC ranking

#1

As mentioned, this is the third fight between McGregor and Poirier. The former emerged victorious from their first meeting at UFC 178 in September 2014 courtesy of a first-round TKO win, while Poirier won their last bout at UFC 257 in January this year after landing a second-round knockout. That was both fighters’ most recent outing in the octagon.

With his recent history punctuated by public declarations of retirement and his infamous boxing fight against Floyd Mayweather, McGregor has only competed in three UFC bouts since September 2016. As a consequence, he enters this fight in mixed and intermittent form. He enjoyed only three wins in his last six bouts, although all but one of his last eight UFC victories also earned the Performance of the Night award.

Conversely, Poirier has been noticeably busier and racked up nine UFC bouts during the same period of time. These have produced seven wins, one defeat, and one no contest, as well as five Fight of the Night awards and two Performance of the Night awards, including one for his victory over McGregor at UFC 257.

McGregor appears to be entering the fight in a typically confident and motivated manner, declaring: “I lost that night [at UFC 257] and it stung. Now I have an opportunity to get my revenge. I've got a few little adjustments to make but I feel very, very confident and I'm very focused and driven. I'll go in there and put on one hell of a performance and get it back.”

Meanwhile, Poirier has suggested that his powerful calf kicks, which proved effective in their last fight, may dictate proceedings once again, saying: “Conor felt how crippling and painful those kicks are and how much it changes the dynamic of a fight, so I think he’s going to try and use them against me now.”

Analysing the McGregor vs. Poirier odds

The market is palpably struggling to separate the two fighters, with Poirier priced as the narrow favourite at 1.934* and McGregor available at 1.952*. The Over/Under for rounds is set at 1.5, with 1.588* for over and 2.440* for under.

This is a notable shift from the pair’s last bout when McGregor closed at 1.374 with a 70% likelihood of victory. He is also somewhat longer than the average closing odds for his last five bouts of 1.65. For these, he was favourite on four occasions, winning three, and lost when he was the underdog against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Poirier is considerably shorter than his rolling five-bout closing odds of 2.60. On top of that, his odds imply that only Nurmagomedov (1.52) possessed a better chance of victory against McGregor among his recent opponents, as they are shorter than all of Nate Diaz (2.22), Eddie Alvarez (2.36), Poirier himself in their last bout (3.20), and Donald Cerrone (3.75).

Poirier’s last five fights included two wins when he was the favourite and two victories and a defeat on the three instances he was the underdog. Ahead of these, his odds more frequently shortened between open and close (as they have also done on this occasion), suggesting that if you are confident he will justify his status as the favourite you may access better value by placing your bets sooner rather than later.

McGregor vs. Poirier: Fighting styles analysed

While his UFC outings have become increasingly sporadic in recent years, McGregor is still rated as one of the most consistently aggressive fighters on the circuit. His preference is to land swift knockouts with the aid of his powerful fists, as reflected by the fact that his last 10 UFC victories included eight punch-led KOs and TKOs, and five settled in the opening round.

Poirier's calf kicks proved to be a useful tool when the pair last fought at UFC 257.

His style can thus be considered predictable yet effective. He launches 78% of his significant strikes from a standing position and directs 71% at his opponent’s head. As such stats indicate, his firm preference is to keep fights upright and he averages just 0.70 takedowns per 15 minutes compared to 1.75 for Poirier, and he is also yet to achieve a submission in a UFC bout.

McGregor’s attacking tendencies do create chances to strike him on the counter, as reflected by the fact that he absorbs 4.54 significant strikes per minute, compared to Poirier’s 3.69. His defensive stats are reasonable if unintimidating, with a significant strike defence rate of 54% and takedown defence rate of 67%, although it is worth noting that three of his last seven opponents failed to land even 10 significant strikes during their bout.

Poirier can call upon a noticeably more adaptable skill-set, and he is comfortable with deploying submission-led tactics or crafting out victories over the distance if the situation requires. Of his 27 MMA victories, 13 featured knockouts, with the remainder evenly spread between submission and decision wins.

Such versatility means that Poirier actually edges McGregor for significant strikes landed per minute (5.59 to 5.32) and he also averages 1.32 submissions per 15 minutes. However, his weaker reach (183cm to 188cm) may leave him vulnerable to McGregor’s fists, while his grappling accuracy of 41% indicates room for improvement.

As mentioned, in the pair’s last fight Poirier repeatedly launched calf kicks at McGregor, which hindered his movement and reduced the accuracy of his punches by throwing him off balance. While it is fair to assume that McGregor will be rehearsed for such an approach this time round, Poirier’s priority will likely remain devising methods to reduce the impact his opponent’s fists can have on the night.

McGregor vs. Poirier: Where is the value?

In what has certainly been a rare instance during his MMA career, the onus is arguably on McGregor to adapt his approach entering this fight. Poirier exposed a reliable method for overcoming McGregor in their last outing, while the surprisingly brisk nature of his victory raised concerns over his opponent’s stamina. McGregor’s chances of victory may therefore rely on whether he can add flexibility to his attack and security to his defensive skills.

Poirier could be inclined to rely upon similar tactics as last time out in the knowledge that he is capable of switching his approach if McGregor is well-prepared. With this in mind, Poirier to win in over 1.5 rounds seems a reliable route to adding value to your bet, as the fight’s early stages may be slow-paced by the standards of a McGregor bout if both fighters search for opportunities to establish their strategy.

Naturally, an early knockout is always a possibility if McGregor performs well on the night. Only one of his last nine UFC wins progressed beyond the second round, and he is yet to lose to a fighter twice in his MMA career. As a competitor who prides himself on his reputation, the latter of those stats is likely to provide a great source of motivation.

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Odds subject to change

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