UFC in Abu Dhabi 2021
The Christmas weekend and New Year 2021 saw the UFC take their first break since July 4th. A five-month run that has resumed on Fight Island this past weekend.
But on January 23rd the most notorious martial artist on the planet returns to the octagon, Conor McGregor reclaims his spotlight and will clash with Dustin Poirier – a rematch seven years in the making.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
UFC Lightweight Bout
UFC 257 takes place on Saturday, January 16th live from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on ESPN+.
Conor McGregor (22-4-0)
Whenever Conor McGregor has a fight booked, you can guarantee that everyone knows about it. You cannot be mad at the hysteria because the entertainment value is often worth the hype.
Besides his stardom, McGregor owns some of the slickest offensive striking in the business today and is one more knockout away from attempting to capture the lightweight gold he once held high.
McGregor is no stranger to success, a former two-division champion and the owner of countless broken UFC records. His mental ability won’t be affected, but can the ever-growing confidence perhaps overlook the opposition this weekend? Only time will tell.
Dustin Poirier (22-6-0)
Dustin Poirier will sit in the UFC Hall Of Fame one day and is a legend in his own right. Former lightweight Interim Champion and a guy who possesses such a fierce striking skill set.
The first time Poirier faced McGregor set a spark under the Louisiana native since the loss he’s maintained a 10-2 record against the toughest guys in the division.
Another accomplished athlete who still desires more, can the lightweight version of Poirier handle McGregor and his lightning-fast counter-striking more efficiently than the featherweight Diamond?
McGregor vs Poirier Fight Preview
The fight ahead holds significant importance. With two lightweight contenders competing in the co-main event, both winners of the prominent and co-main could be facing one another for the vacant lightweight championship. And I must favor the laser-precise striking of Conor McGregor.
The best game plan for Dustin Poirier would be to make the fight ugly, clinch-up with McGregor as much as possible, potentially involve some dirty boxing and cage pressure. Should Poirier be able to do this for two, three rounds, his chances of victory will rise. The problem is, gaining a distance advantage over McGregor has been a rare visual.
One of McGregor’s most significant offense is his defense, a wide stance, healthy hips, and continuously moving target makes it impossible sometimes to find any advantage of finding the correct position and range. McGregor will block the chance of his opponent’s jab by extending his right arm, using various low kicks to gauge his striking distance, and does it entirely. He dominates the spaces involved to land his precise strikes, and rarely misses the button.
McGregor’s left-hand remains the single most dangerous weapon in his arsenal, the strikes that come before it and much of his offensive game surround the eventual left straight/left cross. Removing McGregor’s lead leg is the only option for Poirier, but how much power does the Diamond generate in his weak footed low kicks? Through fight tape examination, not a lot and at a slow rate. I think McGregor’s speed and reactions will be enough to avoid this tactic should Poirier attempt it.
For sports betting, McGregor to claim victory inside the distance is the most viable option in my opinion. We should expect a calm, cool, and calculated Conor McGregor slowly, but eventually, piece his opponent apart. I would not expect a fourteen second Aldo knockout, but for Conor to end this fight for the second time in the first round is highly possible.