UFC 264: McGregor vs. Poirier 3 Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2021

UFC 264: McGregor vs. Poirier 3 Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

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    The Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier rivalry has had many twists and turns, setting up a rubber match for all the marbles at UFC 264 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

    McGregor and Poirier first fought in 2014, when Notorious won by first-round knockout. The second affair was much more cordial in the buildup earlier this year before Poirier ended McGregor's night early with a second-round TKO win. 

    This time around, the buildup has been much less friendly. McGregor in particular is fired up. Poirier was drawn into a firefight back in 2014 after letting his emotions get the best of him. This one will tell us whether McGregor's most recent loss was from a lack of focus or if The Diamond is simply the better fighter. 

    The highly anticipated trilogy fight isn't the only thing on the card. The co-main will feature an important welterweight scrap, with Gilbert Burns taking on Stephen Thompson. Greg Hardy, Tai Tuivasa and Sean O'Malley are among the other draws on the card. 

    Here's a look at the complete offering along with predictions for the biggest fights. 

UFC 264 Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—July 10

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    Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV)

    • Conor McGregor +100 (wager $100 to win $100) vs. Dustin Poirier -127 (wager $127 to win $100)
    • Gilbert Burns +130 vs. Stephen Thompson -162
    • Tai Tuivasa -137 vs. Greg Hardy +110
    • Irene Aldana -124 vs. Yana Kunitskaya -100
    • Sean O'Malley -910 vs. Kris Moutinho +550

    Prelims (8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+)

    • Carlos Condit +150 vs. Max Griffin -190
    • Niko Price +141 vs. Michel Pereira -177
    • Ryan Hall +185 vs. Ilia Topuria -235
    • Trevin Giles -106 vs. Dricus Du Plessis -118

    Early Prelims (6:15 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass)

    • Jennifer Maia -200 vs. Jessica Eye +162
    • Omari Akhmedov +142 vs. Brad Tavares -177
    • Zhalgas Zhumagulov -345 vs. Jerome Rivera +260
    • Hu Yaozong +110 vs. Alen Amedovski -136

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Poirier Outlasts McGregor Again

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    Conor McGregor has always thrived in fights in which he controls the tempo. He may be known for his striking prowess, but his fights are rarely marked by chaos. 

    It's why it took a concerted and conscious effort to slow the pace down in his second fight with Nate Diaz. When he attempted to fight at Diaz's pace, things didn't go so well for him. 

    Similar dynamics are at play here. In the rematch, Poirier was able to establish his rhythm and pace, even in a closely contested first round. McGregor had success, but it came at a cost in the second round. 

    Poirier was able to utilize his leg kicks to throw the rhythm of the Notorious, wear him out and pick up the finish in the second round. With only six months or so between this fight and the last, it's hard to envision it going much different. 

    Poirier always shows up in great shape, and while McGregor may try to sell a new and focused version of himself, he's always had difficulty with those who can push a pace against him. That should be enough for Poirier to find a similar result.

    Poirier via third-round TKO

Thompson Frustrates Burns for Win

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    It's never easy for fighters to bounce back after losing their first title shot. After finally putting together a winning streak worthy of fighting for the title, there's a sense of starting over after Gilbert Burns' loss to Kamaru Usman. 

    Stephen Thompson is not the guy you want to face when trying to get your mojo back. 

    Thompson's unorthodox karate style and lighting-quick counters are a unique challenge. It's hard to beat him, much less look good while doing it. 

    Burns' game relies heavily on pressure. He loves to push the pace and be in his opponent's face. However, Thompson does a great job of making those types of fighters chase him while he's peppering them with leg kicks and jabs. 

    It isn't the most entertaining thing in the world, but it's effective. Maybe Burns clocks him one time and it changes the fight, but Thompson has been in there with more powerful strikers and negated their power. 

    Thompson via Decision

Tuivasa Outclasses Hardy

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    The UFC is teeing up a prime opportunity for Tai Tuivasa and Greg Hardy as the lead-in to the co-main event on a card that figures to pull great numbers. The organization has certainly tried to showcase Hardy since he joined the promotion, and Tuivasa is a fan favorite. 

    This one has classic heavyweight slugfest written all over it. Hardy's ground game is far from polished, and Tuivasa is much more interested in knocking people out than taking them down. It wouldn't be surprising if there wasn't a single takedown attempt. 

    That leaves the fight up to the striking. Both men possess knockout power. Hardy is obviously an elite athlete. There aren't many NFL-caliber athletes in the division. However, when it comes to polish, Tuivasa is the better overall striker. 

    That isn't to say Hardy can't win by knockout. This is heavyweight fighting in its purest form. The first man to land a solid strike will likely win. 

    But if we're predicting who has the best chance to set that strike up, it's Tuivasa. He has more strikes in his arsenal and a better chance at remaining in relatively good shape as the fight progresses. 

    Tuivasa via second-round TKO


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