Conor McGregor may have taken the edge off his infamous machismo, but his unwavering self-belief system remains intact. The former two-division champion insists he will show MMA observers that he is still on top of his craft when he takes on second-ranked Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 257 on Saturday. The lightweight battle tops the UFC 257 fight card from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, with the main card set for 10 p.m. ET. McGregor, now ranked No. 4 at lightweight, hasn't fought since knocking out Donald Cerrone a year ago and steps up in competition against the resilient Poirier, a former interim champion who is looking to redeem a first-round loss to McGregor when they met in 2014.
McGregor is a -340 favorite (risk $340 to win $100), while Poirier is a +275 underdog in the latest Poirier vs. McGregor odds at William Hill Sportsbook. In the co-main event of Poirier vs. McGregor 2, Dan Hooker (-125) takes on UFC newcomer Michael Chandler (+105) in another battle of lightweight contenders. Before settling any UFC 257 picks of your own, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has to say.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every professional MMA card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 23 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $22,000. The accomplished MMA analyst heads into 2021 on the heels of a memorable run in 2020 that saw him hit on 24 of his last UFC 34 main event picks, a stretch that included a streak of five straight underdogs.
Marley started 2021 off on a winning note by encouraging SportsLine members to support former featherweight champion Max Holloway (-160) against rising contender Calvin Kattar (+140) in the main event of the first UFC Fight Night of the year last weekend. Holloway controlled the action from the opening bell, and his lopsided decision victory gave Marley's followers another easy winner. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, Marley has examined every fight on the UFC 257 card and locked in his picks. You can only see his coveted UFC 257 predictions here.
UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 preview
Marley knows the main event is not only going to play a major role in the future of an uncertain division, but it is also bound to draw massive interest because of McGregor, who is arguably still the sport's biggest star despite fighting just twice in the past 27 months.
Both fighters have lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is still recognized by the UFC as its sitting lightweight champion despite the Russian's repeated claims that he will not fight again following a third-round submission of top-ranked contender Justin Gaethje in October.
Although many observers believe Saturday's main event should have at least an interim title at stake, the winner will undoubtedly have the inside track to the division's next title shot, regardless of whether it involves Nurmagomedov.
McGregor and Poirier first met in September 2014 when both were rising prospects, but the bold Irishman was getting the bulk of the promotion. The lead-up to the fight also introduced MMA fans to the psychological warfare that has now come to be expected from McGregor, who repeatedly taunted and belittled Poirier ahead of their battle in the Octagon.
McGregor took charge against a rattled Poirier (26-6-1) and finished the fight with a first-round technical knockout. Poirier has often cited McGregor as the hardest puncher he has ever faced.
McGregor went on to become a two-division champion and the sport's biggest star, while Poirier quietly went on to win 10 of his next 12 fights to also become mentioned among the sport's elite. The 32-year-old Louisiana native has wins against the likes of Gaethje and former featherweight titleholder Max Holloway on his resume. You can see who to back here.
UFC 257 predictions
We'll share one of Marley's UFC 257 predictions here: He is backing Amanda Ribas (-320) to defeat Marina Rodriguez (+260) in a battle of ranked women's strawweights. Ribas (10-1) caught the attention of UFC brass and MMA observers everywhere with her decision victory against the previously-undefeated and well-regarded prospect Mackenzie Dern in October 2019. Her world-class grappling skills were on display again in July, when she submitted former rising star Paige VanZant midway through the first round. The 27-year-old also has generated quite a fan following because of her gregarious nature outside of the cage.
Rodriguez (12-1-2) is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the division. She already has outlasted a handful of UFC contenders but suffered the first loss of her MMA career in her last outing against veteran Carla Esparza.
"Ribas has a huge edge on the ground, which is why the line is so steep. We have seen Ribas stopped by a worse striker in the past, but I think she gets multiple takedowns and picks up a submission or a clear decision win," Marley told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 257 picks
Marley also has strong picks for McGregor vs. Poirier 2 and every other bout on the UFC 257 fight card. He's also backing one fighter who "is more dangerous on his feet and on the mat" to get a TKO victory. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins McGregor vs. Poirier 2? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 257, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $22,000 on MMA in the past 23 months, and find out.
UFC 257 odds
Conor McGregor (-340) vs. Dustin Poirier (+275)
Dan Hooker (-125) vs. Michael Chandler (+105)
Joanne Calderwood (-125) vs. Jessica Eye (+105)
Ottman Azaitar (-165) vs. Matt Frevola (+145)
Amanda Ribas (-320) vs. Marina Rodriguez (+260)
Arman Tsarukyan (-275) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (+235)
Brad Tavares (-140) vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (+120)
Sara McMann (-120) vs. Julianna Pena (+100)
Khalil Rountree Jr. (-330) vs. Marcin Prachino (+270)
Makhmud Muradov (-135) vs. Andrew Sanchez (+115)
Movsar Evloev (-475) vs. Nik Lentz (+380)
Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-115) vs. Amir Albazi (-105)