The hype towards UFC 264 and the much-anticipated Poirier-McGregor 3 fight continues to rise. We break down the entire card, and offer free picks for each of big night’s fights!
UFC 264 Early Prelims Breakdown
The night’s fights kick off with a middleweight bout between Hu Yaozong (+145) and Alen Amedovski (-188). There is a ton of value here with Yaozong despite his 3-2 record. He has a significant age, height, and weight advantage over Amedovski. If he can keep it standing, expect an early underdog victory to set the tone for the evening.
Pick: Hu Yaozong (+145)
Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-400) vs Jerome Rivera (+300) is the next fight to take place, and Zhumagulov is favored highly for good reason. In his two UFC fights, Zhumagulov has gone to decision, but he is a much more polished fighter than Jerome Rivera. I anticipate a knockout this time around.
Pick: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-400)
A pretty solid third fight continues the pace of the undercard as Omari Akhmedov (+140) faces off against Brad Tavares (-170). The tale of the tape for these two fighters is very similar, but Tavares has been looking good in previous fights and should keep up the momentum in this one.
Pick: Brad Tavares (-170)
Jennifer Maia (-200) vs Jessica Eye (+160) is the first womens’ bout in the card and should be an interesting one. Maia is much more technical on the ground, and if she could takedown Eye repeatedly it will be sooner rather than later before Maia wins the contest.
Pick: Jennifer Maia (-200)
Featherweight matchup, Ryan Hall (+210) vs Ilia Topuria (-270), closes out the Early Prelims in what could be a clinic by Topuria. This fight has first round knockout potential and Topuria should prove again why he’s undefeated.
Pick: Ilia Topuria (-270)
The UFC 264 Preliminaries begin with Trevon Giles (-115) vs Dricus Du Plessis (-115) in what will be a very tough matchup. Du Plessis is the slight favorite, but this matchup is essentially a toss up. Giles is a solid fighter when facing other stand-and-bangers, and at -115 is a very solid value.
Pick: Trevon Giles (-115)
Sean Brady (-180) is one of the scariest fighters on the scene right now and is set to face off against power striker Kevin Lee (+150). At 14-0, take any line under -200 as a discount as Brady is on the path to dominance for a long time in this sport.
Pick: Sean Brady (-180)
Niko Price (+140) and Michael Pereira (-170) battle next, and as long as he could manage to not get himself disqualified, Pereira is in a good position to take care of Price. I think Price could keep it interesting on the feet, but Pereira’s ground game should shine here.
Pick: Niko Price (+140)
Veteran Carlos Condit (+145) and Max Griffin (-175) go to war to finish the preliminaries and while Condit is much older, definitely has a shot to pull this fight off. His value should hold, as long as the line does not move dramatically.
Pick: Carlos Condit (+145)
UFC 264 Main Card Breakdown
Sean O’Malley (-400) goes against Louis Smolka (+300). O’Malley is a guy the UFC is trying to groom and give easy opponents to boost his confidence and Smolka is not very impressive in many areas. Meanwhile O’Malley has an elite striking arsenal that is known to devastate, and knock out, opponents. Do not overthink this whatsoever, hop on this line before it approaches -500.
Pick: Sean O’Malley (-400)
Irene Aldana (-155) and Yana Kunitskaya (+125) go to war next and here is a great situation to bet the underdog. Kunitskaya is the younger fighter, the more hungry fighter, and has been quite solid as of late. Aldana is only 2-2 in her last few fights and looks like she could be on her way down the ranks. If Kunitskaya can avoid the knockout blows that have been her weakness in the past, and show some chin strength while delivering at a higher rate, she should have no problem coming away with a decision victory.
Pick: Yana Kunitskaya (+125)
Tui “Bam Bam” Tavasa (-150) is set to face off against former Carolina Panther Greg Hardy (+120) in what should be an absolute slugfest. Tuivasa may be more technical, but simply put, Hardy has fists of steel and Tuivasa hasn’t proved to have a tough enough chin.
Pick: Greg Hardy (+120)
Stephen Thompson (-140) is stepping into the Octagon for his first time in 2021 in the co-main event against Gilbert Burns (+110) and it should be a fight of the night candidate. With the wonderboy approaching 38, his chance at another title opportunity is closing, but can he get the job done against a stud like Burns?
While Burns got knocked out in his bout against Usman in his last fight, he absolutely took it to Usman in the first round and was the first person to give him any type of trouble whatsoever in his reign as Middleweight Champion. Although Thompson has more output, Burns’ power is exciting and could be the deciding factor in this fight. For plus money, yet again the underdog is the way to bet.
Pick: Gilbert Burns (+110)
Conor McGregor (-115) vs Dustin Poirier (-115) is what the people all paid to see and will for sure draw a large crowd not only to the PPV, but to betting tickets as well. McGregor has been a favorite in the eye of the public for quite some time now, but against Poirier his UFC odds will be close to even for the first time since his fight against Khabib.
This means that the public will be all over Conor McGregor and inevitably push his line deeper into the negatives. But it is not his line we’re concerned about, it’s Poiriers. Poirier has been making his way up this division for a long time, and it is his time to get a chance at the belt.
Many fighters including the UFC Middleweight champion Kamaru Usman have referred to McGregor as done, and have gone as far as saying that he is not a real fighter anymore. If that’s even half true, then a bet against Poirier is the wrong one to make. A hungry Dustin Poirier takes the best of 3, officially putting an end to the discussion of the better fighter.
Pick: Dustin Poirier (-115)
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