MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC 264, a five-round UFC lightweight trilogy bout between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. The event takes place on Saturday, July 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dustin Poirier (-120)
Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) is the No. ranked 1 contender in the UFC lightweight division. The 32-year-old American has been in the UFC since 2011 and has gone 19-5, 1 NC overall during his time in the Octagon. Poirier has fought and defeated many of the sport’s best over the last decade, including Conor McGregor, Max Holloway (twice), Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis, to name a few. A well-rounded mixed martial artist, Poirier possesses fantastic boxing skills with big power on the feet, a solid wrestling game, incredible submissions, awesome cardio, and a ton of heart. He has proven that he’s one of the best fighters in the sport at both 145lbs and 155lbs over the years and with a win over McGregor in the trilogy fight this weekend, Poirier stands to earn a title shot.
Conor McGregor (+100)
McGregor (22-5) is the No. 5 ranked contender in the UFC lightweight division. The 32-year-old Irishman has been in the UFC since 2013 and he has gone 10-3 since then, with wins over the likes of Dustin Poirier, Nate Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Donald Cerrone, and Max Holloway, to name a few. One of the hardest and more accurate punchers we have ever seen in the sport, McGregor is the biggest star the UFC has ever had and he’s accomplished that through his brash trash talk backed up by his highlight-reel knockouts. Of course, while McGregor is a former double champion in the UFC, it has been quite some time since he’s held the belt. Since winning the lightweight belt in 2016, McGregor has only stepped inside the Octagon three times in total and he has only achieved a 1-2 record since then. Granted, he’s fighting the best opponents in the world. But it does appear as though McGregor is on a decline in his career and isn’t the same elite fighter he once was. Then again, he can change that narrative with a win over Poirier in their trilogy fight.
Fight Breakdown: The first time these two fought, I was confident McGregor would get his hand raised and he did just that. In the second fight, I still leaned towards McGregor but it wasn’t without as much confidence due to his recent inactivity, and we saw him get knocked out. While I don’t think you can completely discount the possibility of McGregor landing a big bomb, after seeing how the second fight played out, I have a hard time going with him in this third meeting. Poirier appeared to be the more complete mixed martial artist in the second encounter, and that fight was only six months ago. I just don’t think that’s enough time for McGregor to catch up his overall game to Poirier’s. I’m expecting another exciting fight, but I have to go with Poirier to win the trilogy by TKO.
Prediction: Dustin Poirier