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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 22: In this handout image provided by the UFC, (L-R) Opponents Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor of Ireland face off during the UFC 257 weigh-in at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 22, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The Much anticipated return of Conor McGregor will take place this Saturday at UFC 257 live from “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi. A rematch over 6 years in the making as McGregor will take on former UFC Interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. We also get the UFC Debut of former Bellator champion Michael Chandler.

Here are some specifics. The PRE-prelims kick off on ESPN+ at 7pm. With the prelims kicking off on ESPN and ESPN+. The PPV will start at 10pm and will cost $70. The main event is likely to kick off around midnight.

I will give you my predictions in the order the fights are to take place. All odds are curtousey of Bet MGM. The King of Sports Books! For new users head on over there and use the promocode PatEgan100 and put just $1 on Conor McGregor to beat Dustin Poirier and you will win $100 in free bets!

 

16-8 so far this year ( 5-3 on locks)

(9-5 last fight card. 2-1 on locks)

 

Amir Albazzi -110

Movsar Evloev -700 (lock)

Marcin Prachino +280

Julianna Pena +110

Antonio Carlos Junior -105

 

 

MAIN EVENT TIME

(ok at the time I wrote all this out, I thought the Frevola Tsarukyan fight had been bumped up to the main card. So you get a bonus explanation for the main prelim fight.)

Matt Frevola VS Arman Tsarukyan

Who honestly knows with this one, because neither of these guys knew they were fighting each other 48 hours ago. Tsarukyan was scheduled to fight Nasrat Haqparast until he pulled out because of an illness. Frevola was supposed to fight Ottman Azaitar unitl he broke protocol and was cut from the organization. Tsarukyan missed weight by two pounds, so maybe his weight cut wasnt great, but I havent been impressed with Frevola’s UFC run so far. I thought he lost the Luis Pena fight, and Tsarukyan has faced slightly tougher competition. For that reason I will go with Tsarukyan. But Im probably staying away from this last minute match making.

Arman Tsarukyan -650 (lock)

 

Marina Rodriguez VS Amanda Ribas

Amanda Ribas is a future champion. This is the fight that truly catapultes her into legitamate contender status. Theres not much more to say. Im VERY high on Ribas.

Amanda Ribas -350 (lock)

 

Andrew Sanchez VS Makmud Muradov

Not many people are lining up to fight Muradov, so credit to Andrew Sanchez for stepping up to the task. He will find out why not many people are lining up when he fights him. Because it wont be pretty for Sanchez.

Makmud Muradov -165 (lock)

Jessica Eye VS Joanne Calderwood

Two fighters that will proably always be top 5 in the division but will never be legitmate contenders to win a belt. Calderwood was set to fight champion Valentina Schevchenko but when Schevchenko pulled out JoJo choose to fight Jennifer Maia instead. I get it, the bills arent going to pay themselves. But it was a strategy that cost her a shot at the belt. Maia got the shot (and lost) and Calderwood looks to bounce back from that loss. Eye on the other hand has fought for the belt. Howd that go?

These two are so even honestly, its probably the toughest fight to predict. I do like Calderwood though to edge this out. Maybe Eye can use her size (shes big for the division) to her advantage but thats a big IF.

Joanne Calderwood -120 (lock)

 

Dan Hooker VS Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler has been waiting for this fight since he signed with the UFC back in September. Chandler, the former Bellator Lightweight Champ, takes on contender Dan Hooker in yet another attempt by Hooker to establish himself as a legitmate title contender.

Hooker claims that no one wanted to welcome Chandler into the UFC, and no one wanted to risk their spot in the division. Its a claim I do believe. Hooker seems hungry to get himself to the top no matter who he’s offered. And no one knows exactly how Chandler will do in the UFC. He could be Eddie Alvarez and win a championship. He could be Ben Askren and go to sleep in 4 seconds thanks to a Flying knee.

Hooker has had two cracks to get into the title conversation. The first was when he just got outclassed by Edson Barboza. He rebounded with 3 straight wins, including a close win against Philly’s own Paul Felder. That earned him a spot against one half of the main event, Dustin Poirier. Hooker lost but he held his own and the case could be made he won the fight (Im not making that case but I wont laugh at you if you want to.)

Both fighters work with HIGH LEVEL coaches. Chandler training with Henri Hooft, and Hooker training with Eugene Bareman. So theres no real advantage there. But Chandler’s last two wins were against a washed up Benson Henderson and Sydney Outlaw. With all do respect to both of those guys, Hooker has been fighting the tougher competition.

Youre going to know how this one goes early one. If Hooker can keep the distance, it could be a long night for Chandler. If Chandler can use his wrestling and rag doll Hooker than its going to be a long night for “The Hangman”. Hooker has never fought a wrestler of Chandler’s calibur. But everytime out, Hooker improves.

Dan Hooker -150 (lock)

 

Conor McGregor VS Dustin Poirier

Here is how the first meeting went

When these two first met there was a lot of bad blood and it ended very quickly.

But this isnt 2014. Dustin Poirier moved up to Lightweight after this fight and went on a tear. Including beating Max Holloway in Holloway’s only try at 155. His work down at American Top Team has paid off as he was able to capture an interim title. He later fought Khabib to unify and he, like everyone who fights Khabib, got tapped out.

I think McGregor wins. I do NOT think McGregor steam rolls him like he did years ago. From all reports, McGregor is in a great head space for this one. He is dialed in. It is something we werent hearing ahead of his fight with Khabib (and no, thats not to say I think he beats Khabib. I dont think anyone beats Khabib.) I think you can even see that in the press conference. He’s confident, but not talking like he used to.┬áConor has spent a lot of time working on his suspect cardio. Ditching his “movement coach” (whatever that is) for an actual conditioning coach.

But this should be primarily a stand up match. And while Poirier’s striking is much improved, Conor is on a different level with how he sets up opponents and picks them apart. Its why I give the edge to Conor. But Poirier is conditioned for a war. This is a guy whos had wars with Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Dan Hooker. Conor hasnt had a war since Nate Diaz 2. So the longer this fight goes the more you may think the momentum shifts to Poirier.

All of this is to say that while I am taking McGregor, the VALUE in this one is on Dustin Poirier. He shouldnt be a +240 underdog. This should be more even. So if youre just looking for good value, go with Poirier. I myself will likely place a few units on “The Diamond”. But I expect “The Notorious” to get his hand raised on Saturday

Conor McGregor -300

 

Since BET MGM is the king of parlay’s here is how the parlay odds look!

  • f you take every one of my picks and parlay them on BetMGM, wagering $100 you’d win $151,832 (+32896)
  • If you just parlay the prelims, using all my picks and wagering $100 you would walk away with $3,922 (+3822)
  • Parlay the main card, taking all my picks and wagering $100 you would cash in $841 (+741)
  • And if you just want to take my locks and parlay them on BetMGM, wagering $100 you would win $832 (+732)

Odds subject to change. Good luck!