It’s the third part of a trilogy that has been seven years in the making and one of the most anticipated rematches in recent memory. UFC 264 comes live from the T-Mobile arena in Paradise, Nevada on July 10th, in what could be one for the ages when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor face off for the third time overall, and the second time in seven months. Let’s preview the card, so that you can be ready for UFC betting for one of the biggest events of the year.
McGregor vs Poirier: A Closer Look
Poirier and McGregor have one victory apiece with McGregor taking the first matchup back in 2014 by KO, while Poirier took the rematch in January of this year. The seven-year gap between fights seems to have hurt McGregor more than Poirier, as Conor’s fighting style was incorporating boxing techniques ahead of an anticipated boxing match against Manny Pacquiao.
This led to Poirier easily attacking McGregor’s base with swift kicks to his lead leg, which ultimately became his downfall. Will vintage McGregor be back for the trilogy? Or will we see the same Conor that hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent since Eddie Alvarez in 2016?
McGregor needs to get back to his roots and taking Poirier down via a knockout may be the only way to outduel the Diamond. If the two fighters get into a defensive matchup, Poirier has a great chance to win by strikes.
Betting on UFC 264
The odds are currently dead even at -110 for each fighter in the 2-way winner bet. Two other bets to keep an eye on, Dustin Poirier by decision is currently +580 and McGregor by KO, TKO, DQ, or Submission is +135.
Moving on to the other matchups on the main card, the co-main event is a scintillating matchup between Brazilian Gilbert Burns and Wonderboy Stephen Thompson. The winner of the match likely takes on Leon Edwards to be the number one contender for the UFC Welterweight championship. Burns is coming off a tough defeat at the hands of the current champ, Kamaru Usman, while Thompson has impressive back-to-back victories over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal.
It’s an interesting matchup of styles as Burns can use his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu to either take his opponents down or pummel them with speed. The only problem for Burns is that Thompson is one of the most difficult fighters in the UFC to take down with a 78% takedown defense rate. Thompson also has tremendous footwork and a range advantage, so a defensive style will suit him more as he piles up strikes against Burns from a distance. Thompson is a slight favorite at -139 right now on the 2-way match winner bet.
UFC Betting: Fight Breakdown
In the heavyweight division, Greg Hardy gets his wish when he takes on Australian Tai Tuivasa in what should be a hard-hitting affair. Hardy is still raw but his athleticism as a heavyweight is nearly unmatched. He won two of his three fights in 2020, although his most recent matchup was a loss against Marvin Tybura. Hardy has a size and reach advantage, but endurance and finishing matches strong have been his Achilles heels. If Tuivasa can tire Hardy out, he may be able to justify why he is currently a -143 favorite to win the match.
Jumping over to a strong matchup in the women’s bantamweight division where Mexican Irene Aldana takes on Foxy Yana Kunitskaya. The winner of this matchup could find themselves competing for the championship in the future. Aldana last fought Holly Holm at UFC Fight Island 4, where she lost in a five-round unanimous decision. Kunitskaya has won her last two matches and four of her last five overall, as the Russian continues to climb the bantamweight rankings. Sportsbooks like Aldana right now to get back in the win column as she is a -149 favorite to come out of UFC 264 with a victory.
The main card is rounded out by a bantamweight fight that sees the return of Sean O’Malley who will square off against Louis Smolka. O’Malley is coming off a knockout victory over Thomas Almeida in March, and puts his sparkling 13-1 record on the line. Smolka has been an inconsistent fighter during his latest UFC tenure, and O’Malley is a heavy favorite right now with odds of -400 to pull off the victory.
The Prelim card is highlighted by a welterweight matchup between veteran and former interim champion Carlos Condit against red-hot Max Griffin. Condit has recently rattled off back to back victories, most recently against Matt Brown. Griffin has been a man possessed, ending his last two fights by KO and TKO respectively. Griffin enters as a -182 favorite but both fighters are coming in hot.