2021 is already starting with a bang because, for the second year in a row, the UFC‘s pay-per-view calendar will kick off with a January event headlined by the mercurial Irishman Conor McGregor. With this bout standing as the main event for a stacked card, UFC 257 looks like a fitting kickoff for this year’s fight season.
Coming off a year that saw him fight once – due to COVID-19 – McGregor will take to the octagon to face his opponent in the lightweight class, Dustin Poirier.
- Date: 23 January 2021 (for the US)
- Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Arena: Etihad Arena, Yas Island.
- Timing: The main card starts at 7 pm PST
- How to watch: ESPN+ pay-per-view
Full Fight Card With Odds
While the McGregor/Poirier fight is the one creating all the buzz, it’s only fair to give a deserving mention to the other capable fighters scheduled to also take to the octagon. Here is the full UFC 257 fight card with corresponding odds for each bout.
- Conor McGregor -300 vs. Dustin Poirier +240, lightweights
- Dan Hooker -140 vs. Michael Chandler +120, lightweights
- Joanne Calderwood -120 vs. Jessica Eye +100, women’s flyweights
- Ottman Azaitar -160 vs. Matt Frevola +135, lightweights
- Amanda Ribas -310 vs. Marina Rodriguez +250, women’s strawweight
- Arman Tsarukyan -240 vs. Nasrat Haqparast +200, lightweights
- Brad Tavares -155 vs. Antonio Carlos Junior +130, middleweights
- Sara McMahon -125 vs. Julianna Pena +105, women’s bantamweights
- Khalil Rountree -330 vs. Marcin Prachnio +260, light heavyweights
- Makhmud Muradov -135 vs. Andrew Sanchez +115, middleweights
- Nik Lentz vs. Movsar Evloev, featherweights
- Zhalgas Zhumagulov -125 vs. Amir Albazi +105, flyweights
See Bovada for updated lines and odds.
Poirier (+240) vs. McGregor (-300) Betting Preview
The stakes have never been higher. After losing in their first competitive bout more than six years ago, Dustin Poirier looks to have shaken off the early career jitters and will face McGregor in a rematch sure to excite even the neutrals.
2014 hosted the first meeting between these two. At the time, McGregor was a fiery UFC superstar that seemed to brush past any opponent in from of him. UFC 178 served as the stage on which they met for the first time, and, in that fight, it took McGregor less than three minutes to score a TKO victory.
Again, Poirier was just a fledgling fighter at the time. Since that loss, he has come into his own as a bonafide UFC lightweight competitor. His 10-2 run since 2014 included a brief stint as interim champion in the lightweight class after a comprehensive win over then-champion Max Holloway. One of the two losses came against Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of the scariest UFC fighters.
These two will be competing in the 155-pound division and have excelled in their recent fights. In one of the fights of the year, Poirier confidently dispatched Dan Hooker last June to remind everyone how potent he can be. Meanwhile, McGregor came back from a prolonged absence to make quick work of Donald Cerrone, aka “Cowboy” as he won, once again, by TKO.
Despite Poirier’s marked improvements, however, it’s hard to see him win this fight. Beyond his standing as the bookmakers’ underdog, some of his weaknesses might show up in this fight. Poirier is primarily a boxer. Combined with the fact that McGregor is one of the sharpest strikers in this weight category, McGregor’s style is favored more. Also, McGregor has been described by UFC journalists as being in the shape of his life and, in his own words, is as motivated as he has ever been. Remarkably, he’s even predicted he’ll win this bout in one minute. While that might be far-fetched, it’s hard to ignore him as the favorite here.
Both of these fighters will enter the octagon inside the newly built Etihad Arena, located on an Abu Dhabi island nicknamed “fight island”.
Pick: Take McGregor to win the fight.
Current UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement at UFC 254 last year. As such, many industry insiders predict that the winner here will be on track to fight for the belt later this year, potentially against Charles Oliviera.
However, some rumblings have further stated that depending on how talks go between Nurmagomedov and UFC President Dana White; this fight might well be a contest for the belt.