UFC 257 took place live in Abu Dhabi this week and it was a instant classic to say the least. Not only was that evident by the depth of the entire fight card that night and the size of the betting handle – which was substantial – but also by how Dustin Poirier was able to dispose of Conner McGregor in two rounds due to a shocking knockout.
It started in the first round where McGregor struck fast and hard with his trademark fury, forcing Poirier to weather the storm. This was a mistake by McGregor, though, who showed signs of sluggishness in the first round. This led to Poirier attacking the Irishman's legs to remove his speed.
This ultimately resulted in McGregor becoming gassed by the second round of the fight and eventually fell victim to a blitz of punches that brought him down.. A bloodied and battered McGregor then slowly tried to climb back to his feet, while Poirier celebrated and soaked in the cheers from the arena. It was a shocking and surreal scene to say the least.
Sportsbooks Celebrate McGregor’s Loss
The only thing more shocking is that BetOnline is claiming that UFC 257 was one of the most profitable UFC events in the sportsbook’s history. The belief is that it was due to the “McGregor effect”, which resulted in casual betters making impulsive bets on him. McGregor opened as a big favorite and the line went in just one direction with bettors clambering to get action on the Irishman.
“[It was] huge for the book, one of the biggest bet [UFC] fights ever, probably second to Khabib vs McGregor. “Sportsbook manager of Betonline, Adam Burns said in a statement regarding UFC 257 “ [There was] no betting love for Poirier on Saturday. We needed him in every which way and the 2nd round KO was was the perfect storm for us.”
Think about it! It’s Saturday night, you're at a bar drinking and you're feeling lucky. You see two men about to fight in an octagon and place a bet on McGregor off of name recognition alone. Unfortunately for square bettors who made the mistake, McGregor got knocked on his butt in the second round, resulting in a huge win for the books.
Beyond that, sportsbooks like FanDuel reportedly took in several big money bets on McGregor before the fight, which once again lends itself to the credibility of BetOnline’s statement. It also lends credibility to the Conner McGregor effect that probably resulted in several sportsbooks making out like bandits on Sunday.
"McGregor has always been a big draw, and pretty much whatever's in the pot right now is on McGregor," Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., said in a released statement before the fight. "I would imagine that we'll need Poirier pretty good."
Why was There So Much Action on McGregor?
Another huge factor in this bout was their first meeting in 2014, which ended when McGregor nailed Poirier with a left hook that took him down to the mat Believe it or not, this was largely the reason why McGregor walked into Sunday’s match as the betting favorite to win and is thus another example of the McGregor effect.
This time however, The McGregor effect ended up allowing a bunch of sports books to capitalize on an upset. It also has many wondering about a decisive 3rd fight between the 2, which could end up creating the same effect twice. BetOnline actually has odds on whether the two will square up for a trilogy fight with the “Yes” option being offered as the favored option at -140.
Of course some people are going to be more careful with their money next time, but there will always be that one guy who blows it all on McGregor.
What’s Next for McGregor, Poirier?
And the sad truth is that while McGregor used to be a driving force in the UFC, he is slowly becoming yesterday’s news. Now, that doesn’t mean he can’t compete again, but one has to realize he is six years older than he was when he first fought Poirier. Think about the series of events that have played out for both men during that time.
First of all, Poirier has admitted to seeing his loss to McGregor as a turning point in his career. Shortly after the fight, he announced that he was moving up a weight class in order to not have to worry about weight distractions. He would then go on to win several fights before losing a main event match to Mike Johnson at UFC Fight night 94.
Despite this loss, he also picked up knockout victories over Bobby Green, Carlos Diego Ferreria, Yancy Mederios, and Anthony Pettis. If nothing else, these victories proved that Poirier simply wasn’t the same man he was before and had learned a lot since his first meeting with McGregor.
In the end, this was all a huge payday for sportsbooks, and the rematch should have a similar effect. Oddsmakers will also have to decide who should come into the rematch as the favorite, which could create a very intense betting situation. For example, just imagine if McGregor came in as the underdog and won this time!