Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier are set to finally determine a winner in their rivalry when they meet on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 264. The action is set to go down from Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena to cap off a 13-fight card featuring plenty of meaningful action.
The combatants first met in 2014 on McGregor's rise to superstardom when the Irishman scored a first-round TKO of Poirier, who was also a rising contender in the featherweight division at the time. Then, the two met seven years later in January in the lightweight division with Poirier evening the score with a second-round TKO of his own. Now they look to put the final touches on this rivalry in arguably the biggest PPV event of the year.
There was a bit of controversy on the scales for one of the undercard fights on Friday. Women's bantamweight Irene Aldana missed the mark by 3.5 pounds for her scheduled bout with Yana Kunitskaya set for the main card. It's the second straight time that a Kunitskaya opponent has missed this badly, but the first miss by Aldana in her career. The fight will still go forward with Aldana forfeiting 30% of her purse to Kunitskaya.
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We know it's easy to get lost in the minutiae of a big event. So we're here to help give you a concise outlook of what to expect and what to know for every main card fight. Let's take a closer look at what to expect on Saturday with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
Sean O'Malley -800 vs. Kris Moutinho +550, bantamweights: Louis Smolka was originally slated to face O'Malley (13-1), already a step down from what most wanted from the rising contender's next opponent. The UFC has thrown heavy promotional effort behind the exciting, heavy-hitting O'Malley and he seemed to be moving toward a title shot before a surprising upset loss to Marlon Vera. While plenty of interesting options for opponents called to step in and take the fight, the UFC looked externally, signing Moutinho (9-4). Except for his most recent fight, Moutinho's entire career took place in the CES MMA cage. Moutinho is riding a two-fight winning streak, bouncing back from a two-fight losing skid. Moutinho has only finished four of his nine career victories but has been stopped in all four of his losses. O'Malley has nine knockouts and one submission win on his record.
Irene Aldana -120 vs. Yana Kunitskaya +100, women's bantamweights: After a rocky start to her UFC career, losing both of her initial fights in the Octagon, Aldana (12-6) has straightened things out with a 5-2 run. Her most recent fight was a decision loss to Holly Holm in a UFC Fight Night main event. The Holm fight was Aldana's only fight in 2020, in part because of a mid-year positive COVID-19 test that delayed the Holm fight from August to October. Aldana has nine finishes in her 12 career victories. In Kunitskaya (14-5), Aldana faces another highly-ranked opponent in the UFC's bantamweight division. Kunitskaya made her Octagon debut after capturing the Invicta FC bantamweight champion, immediately being thrust into deep waters as she faced Cris Cyborg for the UFC featherweight title. Kunitskaya lost the fight by TKO in the first round. She has gone on to win four of her next five fights, including a current two-fight winning streak.
Tai Tuivasa -135 vs. Greg Hardy +115, heavyweights: Hardy (7-3), a former NFL star whose career ended after domestic violence allegations that came with photographic evidence, has been a controversial part of the UFC roster since two sub-one minute knockouts on Dana White's Contender Series. He lost his official UFC debut by disqualification after an illegal knee before two wins. A third was overturned for Hardy violating the rules once again, this time using an inhaler between rounds. Hardy has since gone 2-2, with losses to Alexander Volkov and Marcin Tybura in a fight where fatigue caused him to crumble. Tuivasa (11-3) began his UFC career with three straight victories before a trio of losses. He is currently riding a two-fight winning streak, knocking out Stefan Struve and Harry Hunsucker, both in the first round. In Tuivasa's 11 career victories, he has scored 10 knockouts, all in the first round.
Stephen Thompson -165 vs. Gilbert Burns +140, welterweights: Thompson (16-4-1) is a former two-time welterweight title challenger, battling Tyron Woodley to a draw before losing the rematch by majority decision. Thompson has been a consistent high-level competitor and one of the most successful fighters in UFC history to come from a karate base. After a two-fight losing skid, Thompson got back on track with two straight wins over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal. At 38 years old, Thompson is attempting to push for one final run at a title shot. Burns (19-4), however, is coming off his own title shot, losing to Kamaru Usman by third-round knockout in February. That loss snapped a six-fight winning streak for Burns, who emerged as one of the stars of the early pandemic era with a knockout of Demian Maia and dominant win over Woodley. Burns has a balanced attack, with eight submission wins, six knockouts and five decisions.
Dustin Poirier -125 vs. Conor McGregor +105, lightweights: Poirier (27-6) is on the best run of his professional career with a 7-1 record since 2017. Five of those wins came against men who have held UFC gold. The lone loss in that stretch came against Khabib Nurmagomedov, the most dominant champion in lightweight history. Poirier's improvement -- which he largely attributes to no longer being lost to the moment -- was on display in January when he survived early pressure from McGregor to score the second-round knockout win. In fact, four of his seven most recent victories came via stoppage, bringing him to 20 stoppage wins in his 27 career victories.
McGregor (22-5) entered the UFC as an absolute killer, rattling off nine straight wins in the Octagon, culminating in a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo to win the featherweight championship. Since that win, McGregor's dominance has come to something of a halt even as he won the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez. The former two-division champ has gone just 3-3 since 2016. Mixed in that period were multiple short-lived retirements and a trip to the boxing ring for a loss to Floyd Mayweather in a mega-fight. Still, McGregor remains a highly dangerous fighter who has stopped 20 of his opponents, only winning on the scorecards twice in his pro career.
Who wins Poirier vs. McGregor 3? And which fighter is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC 264, all from the UFC insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.