UFC 264 Preview Poirier Vs McGregor 3

UFC 263 wasn’t quite a total smash but we did get to see a great guy and somehow possibly an even better fighter, Brandon Moreno, become the first ever Mexican-born UFC World Champion when he choked the Flyweight belt off of Deiveson Figueredo this past Saturday night.

Marvin Vettori wasn’t so fortunate, though, as he came up significantly short in his efforts to do the same for his home country of Italy. I don’t think it will be too much longer for the beautiful country but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen on Israel Adesanya’s watch any time soon.

The Nigerian-born Kiwi reminded everyone that there is in fact levels to this stuff and that we should take note.

What is next for the Middleweight Champion of the World?

From what we are hearing, it looks like Robert Whittaker is going to get another shot and I like that. He has been very busy since losing his world title to Adesanya and is without a doubt, the second best Middleweight in the UFC.

In the heads’ of these men, though, second sucks. That’s just how they are built and they wouldn’t be at this level of the sport if they weren’t made this way.

Robert couldn’t have had a worse performance in my opinion than he did against Izzy the first time the two men traded bones so it isn’t difficult to expect him to fare better. How much better, though?

As I said just a moment ago, levels.

Today, though, I want to take a look ahead to UFC 264 set to go down in less than a month from sunny and surely scorching Las Vegas, Nevada.

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will fight for the 3rd time in a rubber match for the ages.

I love this fight. Heck, I love any Dustin Poirier fight. I love any Conor McGregor fight and it appears that both men are quite evenly matched and the betting odds suggest so as well.

Salty Sean O’Malley will also be on the fight card, the main card, in a “colossal” matchup against…wait for it…Louis Smolka.

Yup, they found just about the slowest Bantamweight on the roster and served him up on a platter for the somehow Montana-born O’Malley.

This is a joke, really. It isn’t like the kid needs anyone to build his confidence up. You talk about coddling…

Irene Aldana will take on Yana Kunitskaya in a fairly evenly matched Women’s Bantamweight bout.

Irene is the favorite here and I can see why. The Mexican fighter has the better hands and the takedown defense to likely keep this one standing.

Now for a fun heavyweight fight but not one that is really pay per view main card worthy, Tai Tuivasa will fight The Inhaler, I mean Impaler Greg Hardy. You don’t mind Inhaler, Greg? Okay, have it your way.

No ego on this guy, I swear.

Yes, that is kind of a weak fight but the co-main is a banger! Stephen Wonderboy Thompson attempts to continue his late 30’s hot streak with another victory over a kickboxer when he fights Brazil’s, Gilbert Burns.

Please Note:

This will be Durinho’s first time back in competition since his title fight loss to The Nigerian Nightmare Kamaru Usman. It was a pretty quick turnaround and I don’t mind it.

As far as the fight is concerned, a lot of people are telling me Wonderboy and if you look at the fighters he has beaten and dominated really, a lot of them have been similarly styled to Gilbert. The UFC knows what they are doing with Wonderboy.

Gilbert presents a pretty underrated takedown threat and from there, we are talking about a world class grappler on the mat who can submit anyone in the division, including the champion. Kamaru could have gone to the mat with Gilbert and had top position but nope, not today.

That is respect.

Let’s look at these main card fights along with the betting odds from BetOnline.AG and see if we have any early leans.

Irene Aldana (-157) vs Yana Kunitskaya (+137)

I will have to do some more research on both of these ladies before I could give you guys an official pick but we can see what’s up today, though. The betting value may have already been sucked out of this fight because BetOnline opened this one up pretty close to even money with Irene Aldana the slight favorite at (-120).

I would certainly have bet her at the number without even doing tape for this fight. Irene throws with a lot of volume and has a low landing percentage but hey, so does Katlyn Chookagian and she still wins just about every freaking decision the judges have the chance to give her.

I am still salty about her getting the nod, especially unanimously over Viviane Araujo. It was a coin flip bet regardless and we only had a very slight edge at (+110) so that was a dumb bet, anyway.

As for Yana Kunitskaya:

She has only lost to Cyborg and one of the division’s top prospects, Aspen Ladd. She has 4 wins, though, giving her a nice 67% winning percentage. Winning two out of three at this level is pretty solid.

Her last fight may have been her most impressive as well. She completely ran up the score on Ketlen Vieira and did the same thing in the fight before that. 47-7, 43-6. Those are the significant strikes landed numbers for Yana and her last two opponents.

Not bad, eh. She has excellent defense. Even in the Aspen Ladd fight where she was taken down twice and put away with ground and pound in the third round by a vicious opponent, the significant strikes landed for the fight were dead even.

Yana is not bad. She will be giving up 2 inches of height to her opponent at UFC 264 but the reach is virtually identical.

Sometimes, it does take punches in bunches if you want to get to the uber defensive fighter and the scouting report on each lady leads us directly down that path. Irene wins with good size and volume.

Yana can almost match her size here but she doesn’t get hit very much.

The landing percentages for these two as far as significant strikes go are at a wide margin. 57% to 38%! That is a big gap and I almost want to take a shot on the dog here just for these numbers.

The line movement is telling us to take Irene Aldana here but there is no way I am paying excess of (-150) for what will likely be a striking battle on a fighter who lands at a 20% fewer significant strike clip.

Irene does have a 10% edge in the defense department but she still gets hit 6 times, significantly, every minute.

No good. Compare that with the 2.6 absorbed from her opponent and we have something to look at.

The significant strike differential for the favorite in what is assumed will be a striking affair is -0.4 while the underdog, who has been in there with just as good as if not better competition, is at +1.6. Even if we give Aldana an entire point here just for fun, we still have a significant edge for Kunitskaya.

I will lean towards the underdog here and hopefully more money comes in on the favorite so we can get even better dog money.


Sean O’Malley (-400) vs Louis Smolka (+300)

Not much to say here. I think O’Malley will TKO him. That is all.

When that betting line is available, jump on it all the way to (-120) if it gets there which by fight time and this being such a high profile event, it likely will be.


Tai Tuivasa (-150) vs Greg Hardy (+130)

This one is tricky. Tai has worked on his takedowns but he is still an Aussie striker and not an Eastern European powerhouse like Marcin Tybura.

The Pole was able to expose Greg the last time we saw The Inhaler in action. This is a very volatile fight and I will have to report back to you guys at a later date with my official play.

I don’t even have a lean right now. I want to fade Hardy but these are heavyweights and paying juice at this level is not the first thing on my list of things to do right now.

Stephen Thompson (-130) vs Gilbert Burns (+110)

This is another one, guys, that is a very difficult play. Gilbert Burns could give a similar performance as did Vicente Luque/Jorge Masvidal/Geoff Neal. They each had 3 rounds as well and it is hard to solve that hard of a puzzle in such a short amount of time.

Darren Till is a lot smarter than people give him credit for and he was able to do it but just barely and that was a split decision if I remember correctly.

Burns does present the takedown threat and from there, he offers something that none of the previously mentioned strikers can even come close to bringing to the table.

That threat alone could be enough to get Wonderboy off his preferred game just enough.

He plays a game of just enough and sometimes his opponents get just enough like Anthony Pettis did superman hooking off the cage. At (+110), I can’t pull the trigger, though. I think this line will move more and I imagine it will go in the direction of Wonderboy. That’s when we could make our move but man, I don’t even want to say I have a lean right now.

Great fight.


Conor McGregor (-112) vs Dustin Poirier (-108)

Here we are. Dead even. Conor Mcgregor hasn’t had even betting odds since, well, I don’t know if he has ever had even betting odds going into a UFC fight.

It looks like the Jose Aldo fight was really the only time we have had virtually even betting odds on Mystic Mac. I don’t know, though, if I want to continue to call him by that name.

Conor doesn’t seem like the same guy to me anymore.

I get it. He is the highest paid athlete on planet earth and you see him compete for like 10 minutes a year.

The guy is doing well but career wise and as far as the development of his mixed martial arts game as a pro fighter, he could have done a lot better.

Heck, he was already a lot better!

Watch his first fight with Dustin and watch how many kicks he threw. He was so light on his feet and the guy took twitchy to a whole new level. When it came time to develop a defensive wrestling game strong enough to even possibly defend the takedowns from Khabib Nurmagomedov, though, that twitchy speed inevitably and scientifically slowed down.

You don’t have a choice. You can be faster and have less endurance or you can choose the slow twitch muscle fibers to work more and you will be a stronger, in the literal sense, grappler as well as the ability to have more endurance.

Conor had to try to defend the takedown and he did a whole heck of a lot better than decorated wrestlers like Justin Gaethje were able to do in keeping Khabib off of him but in the end, of course, it still wasn’t enough.

Dustin took down Conor in their last fight and the threat is there again. This will keep C-Mac guessing and it is hard to pick against Poirier in this position. I have to pass for now, though.

Forgive me but there is a lot more work to do on this fight.


In Conclusion

UFC 263 was a fun one and a successful one from a betting perspective as well. I want to keep that winning momentum going through the next few weeks as we snipe these Fight Night events from Vegas.

Then, we will be ready for UFC 264. I promise that I will cover the main event and work as hard as ever to find the value in the betting odds but unlike the last time around, I won’t let a Conor McGregor pay per view distract me from so many other opportunities to make money on the fight card.

Right now, I think a lot of the betting value lies on the undercard, and check back with our blog section soon for more words on those fights.