Possibly the biggest fight night of the year goes down tonight when lightweights Conor Mcgregor and Dustin Poirier meet in their trilogy fight in the main event of UFC 264. The first fight between these two took place back in 2014 when both guys fought at featherweight and McGregor finished Poirier within the first two minutes of the fight. The rematch took place about seven years later, when Poirier evened up the score with a second-round knockout of McGregor. Now, the trilogy fight will take place tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Co-Main Event will be a welterweight brawl between Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson. Burns will attempt to get back on track after being finished in the third round by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Thompson will be riding a two-fight win streak coming into this fight as he attempts to cement himself as the premier name in the welterweight division, and earn himself a shot at the title.
Whenever Conor Mcgregor fights, everyone comes out of the shadows, and all of the sudden seems to have an opinion on how the fight will play out. So in the spirit of sharing opinions, I will be presenting you with my personal betting picks for UFC 264. All of the odds and picks used are from The Fanduel Sportsbook. If you are betting tonight I ask that you please bet responsibly.
Dustin Poirier (27-6-0) vs. Conor McGregor (22-5-0)
The Pick: Fight to Start Round 3/Yes (+102)
Neither of the first two fights went into the third round and ironically that is one of the reasons I am riding this pick. Both guys will most likely come in with a patient approach and pick their shots very strategically instead of going full throttle from the first bell. I also believe Poirier will try to put McGregor on his back more often in this fight which should result in the fight lasting longer. Poirier’s work on the ground, the patient mindset of both guys coming into the fight, as well as both fighters recognizing the power the other possesses, should be enough for this fight to go into the third round. After the way the first two fights played out, I would be really surprised if both fighters come in overly aggressive and an early finish occurs due to that. I think it will push into the third, fourth, or maybe even fifth round and we will truly see who the superior fighter is. I also really like any alternative over 1.5 rounds and I do not mind the over 2.5 rounds. If I had to make a pick on who wins the fight, it really is a coin flip but I would take McGregor because of how well he adjusts after a loss. But Dustin Poirier still deserves all the respect in the world. Poirier is probably still the most underrated fighter in the UFC and It feels like he is just reaching his prime now. In Poirier’s last seven fights he is 6-1 with all of his wins coming against some of the best competition the UFC has to offer. His only loss was against the undefeated champion yet retired Khabib Nurmagomedov. But of those six wins in that span four of them were knockouts and they were against guys like Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, and Conor McGregor. So no matter who wins I will not be surprised, but if I had to pick I am riding with Conor.
Gilbert Burns (19-4-0) vs. Stephen Thompson (16-4-1)
The Pick: Gilbert Burns ML (+136)
This fight, like the Mcgregor-Poirier fight, is very tricky to pick. Both guys are incredible strikers but one guy seems like he will have the edge on the ground, and that is Gilbert Burns. Thompson does have very good takedown defense though as he has stuffed 78% of the takedowns people have tried on him in his career. Thompson usually succeeds in his fights with this quick movement, fast hands, and just his overall kickboxing ability. But, Burns has that same speed with his hands and the same quick movement. So, I think Burns can match Thompson on the feet, and he will be able to control the ground well enough to pull out a victory.
Tai Tuivasa (12-3-0) vs. Greg Hardy (7-3-0)
The Picks: Tai Tuivasa ML (-140), How will the fight end? KO/TKO (-165)
This pick here isn’t as much about my confidence in Tuivasa as much as my lack of confidence in Greg Hardy. If I am wrong though and Hardy beats Tuivasa, it would be the most impressive win of Hardy’s career. Hardy has a 7-3 record and none of his wins in the UFC were against skilled competitors. Hardy just seems to have gotten into the game late, as his technical flaws are very apparent in every fight, but the power Hardy possesses is also undeniable. Tuivasa is riding a two-fight win streak in which he looked flawless. Two dominating first-round knockouts to set up this fight with Hardy, and I think that trend will continue for Tuivasa in this fight. You never know though, Greg Hardy certainly has enough power to shut out Tuivasa’s lights. It’s just the technical flaws in his game that I think will hold him back in this fight. On the off chance that Hardy or Tuivasa get the knockout, I took the KO/TKO pick. Both of these guys are going to be more than content on standing up and trading so I think a knockout is prone to happen considering the power both fighters have.
Sean O’Malley (13-1-0) vs Kris Moutinho (9-4-0)
The Picks: UFC Odds Boost- Sean O’Malley to win in Round 1 (+150), Sean O’Malley by KO/TKO (-290)
This pick is simple, Sean O’Malley is going to go out there and destroy this dude. I almost feel bad for Moutinho, that his first fight in the UFC is against top prospect Sean O’Malley. Originally, O’Malley was supposed to fight Louis Smolka but Smolka had to back out because he was deemed medically unfit to fight due to an infection. Giving O’Malley an unranked guy already felt like an insult after the brutal way he won his last fight. Then Smolka backed out and the UFC gave O’Malley a guy who is 9-4 and making his UFC debut? O’Malley will give Moutinho a violent welcome to the UFC, and a violent welcome to the Suga Show when he knocks out Moutinho in the first round tonight. Just in case he knocks him out in the second or third round, I am also taking the Suga by KO/TKO pick. O’Malley tweeted out a prediction for this fight, and he seems very confident.