The Ultimate Fighting Championship and their President Dana White had a continuous production through the pandemic that lasted five months. And after taking their first break over the Christmas period, the warriors of the caged octagon returned to action in Abu Dhabi this past weekend. But on January 23rd a rematch of epic proportions will occur in the brand-new Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Ending the UFC’s trip to Fight Island with UFC 257 pay-per-view.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier
UFC Lightweight Bout
Saturday, January 23, 2021 – 10:05 PM EST at Etihad Arena
Former two-division champion and arguably the most well-known martial artist on the planet Conor McGregor will square up against former Interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier.
A rematch seven years in the making has finally surfaced, but of the two men who have evolved to a higher level. We will find out this weekend when the cage door closes and the boys who once fought now collide as men.
Conor McGregor (22-4-0)
Who would have the thought the small blonde-haired fella from Dublin, Ireland had the potential to become a polarizing figure in the combat sports world? I know McGregor believed in himself, confidence in abundance combined with a lifelong eagerness to evolve his martial arts knowledge has gifted the Irishmen with a life he once visualized.
Aged thirty-two, McGregor has spent eight years fighting across multiple divisions and capturing championships in those weight classes. You might believe the hunger has run dry, but with a vacant UFC lightweight title in sight, McGregor should return and give back to the business that helped build him.
It’s hard to envision where a loss this weekend would leave McGregor. The owner of nineteen professional career knockouts has never suffered consecutive losses even through fighting the most elite MMA athletes on earth. Victory will lead to championship fight, and to add some additional drama the co-main event could well provide the opposition for the future lightweight title match.
Dustin Poirier (22-6-0)
Dustin Poirier knows too well what it takes to become a champion amongst a division packed with killers. The Louisiana native once fought McGregor in the featherweight division. Since losing that fight has been on an absolute tear through the lightweight roster.
It was almost as if McGregor sparked a drive in Poirier, reminiscent of a young Max Holloway losing to McGregor and evolving from it. It’s been seven years since their first fight and Poirier has gone 10-2 with some gold sprinkled on top.
In recent years Poirier has one loss, absolutely no shame in losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov and fortunately an opposite style of fight versus McGregor. Poirier can now avenge the loss that once triggered him into greatness.
McGregor vs Poirier Fight Preview
Suppose a blueprint on how to defeat Conor McGregor was available – I am sure Cowboy Cerrone would have avoided the shoulder strikes that McGregor stunned him within the opening seconds of their contest last year. Poirier will need to be on top of his game to adapt during the fight, avoid the paths his opponent wants to take and focus on preventing the chase.
With that said, game plans, in theory, can sound more sustainable than in practice. Unless Poirier can wrestle McGregor or remove the Irishmen’s lead leg, I anticipate a frustrating and eventual knockout loss for The Diamond.
Removing McGregor’s lead leg is the only alternative option for Poirier other than wrestling, 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. Should Poirier want to wrestle, McGregor won’t accept takedowns in the centre of the octagon, especially from the average wrestling offence that Poirier has shown in the past.
One of McGregor’s most significant offence is his defence, 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.
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.
UFC Pick: Conor McGregor to win Inside the Distance at (-250) with BetMGM