Mystic Mac Is Back

The news fight fans have all been waiting for: Conor McGregor signed the contract to fight Dustin Poirier for UFC 257 on January 23rd. The location has yet to be determined, but the two will headline the event at 155 pounds. This fight was known for a while now, but nothing is certain especially between McGregor and the UFC until the contracts are signed.

This will be a rematch between the two as McGregor won the first match via TKO at UFC 178 when they fought at 145. This will be McGregor’s first fight since defeating Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 last January.

Love him or hate him, you’re still gonna watch McGregor. His PPV when he fought Khabib Nurmagomedov sold over 2.4 million buys, most in UFC history and third all-time behind Mayweather McGregor and Mayweather Pacquiao. For UFC PPVs, he has five of the highest six buy-rates with only UFC 100 coming in third with 1.6 million buys. While his last fight did not generate the same number of PPV buys, it still sold over 1 million with a generally weaker card.

Last year McGregor promised to fight three times in 2020, and then the pandemic hit. He was offered to be the back-up for the Khabib vs. Ferguson fight at UFC 249 last May, but McGregor turned it down saying he’s the main event and would never be the back-up for any fight. McGregor knows his worth and has a ton of pride, so he is either going to be the main event or bust.

He is not fighting for money anymore, he’s fighting for love again and wants to be the best. He looks fresh and said he’s going to implement new things with his fight against Dustin. I don’t know what to expect, but if it’s anything like those shoulder strikes in the clinch to Cowboy, I’m all for it. With Khabib announcing his retirement after defeating Justin Gaethje, Dana White isn’t fully convinced he will stay retired and announced the McGregor Poirier fight will not be for the title.

I do not expect the rematch to be as easy for McGregor this time around. Dustin went back up to lightweight following that loss and has been feasting ever since. In his 13 fights, he has only lost twice with his only recent loss coming to Khabib in September of 2019. You can not fault any fighter for losing against Khabib when he’s only lost two rounds in his 29 professional fights. He has been a puzzle no one has come close to figuring out.

Poirier has been in some absolute wars at lightweight against Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, and, most recently, Dan Hooker producing Fight of the Night bonuses as well as Performance of the Night bonuses. Dustin’s chin has held up better in the lightweight, and his cardio has held up in his main event fights. Grab your popcorn this fight will live up to expectations.

This weekend UFC 255 will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event has two flyweight title fights as well as a couple of number one contender fights. In the main event, we have Deiveson Figueiredo defending his belt against Alex Perez and then Valentina Shevchenko defending her belt against Jennifer Maia. The card might not have the biggest names on it, but it is still a well-rounded card that will produce good fights.

The main event was supposed to be between Figueiredo and Cody Garbrandt, but Garbrandt had to pull out with an injury. Figueiredo won the belt against Joseph Benavidez in July in a dominating performance and left no controversy that he was the better fighter this time after not making weight and a controversial headbutt that led to Benavidez being knocked out in their first go-around. Alex Perez got the call-up and has won 6 of his 7 fights in the organization including 4 wins via stoppages. Expect the main event to be a fast-paced fight with a lot of dynamite.

In the co-main event, Shevchenko will have her fourth defense at flyweight and has won all her title fights dominantly. In the sport, Shevchenko is one of the best pounds for pound fighters and has been one of few fighters who has given Amanda Nunes a challenge as their rematch was a split decision. Despite all her success, Jennifer Maia is not to be overlooked. Maia is a fighter looking to leave her mark and still has the ability to make this an intriguing fight. While the odds are heavily on Shevchenko’s side, anything can happen so do not sleep on Maia.

My personal fight to watch is Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval. These two fighters have put the flyweight division on notice over the last year. There were talks before if Dana White would get rid of the division, but lately, the flyweights have been one of the more exciting divisions to watch.

Moreno came back to the company in September 2019 and fought Askar Askarov, Khabib’s cousin, to a draw in what was a fascinating fight and has since defeated Kai Kara-France and Jussier Formiga. Royval’s first fight in the UFC was against Tim Elliot and submitted him in the second round. He was not satisfied with his performance and then submitted Kara-France as well in the second round in an impressive performance. Expect the winner of this to call for the title fight as both deserve it.

Mauricio Rua also returns to the ring as he has a rematch against Paul Craig where they fought to a draw a year ago. Also on the main card, we have the always interesting Mike Perry taking on Tim Means. Perry has been in controversy in and out of the ring over the past year, and has decided not to use cornermen in his consecutive fight, and also missing weight by five pounds. On Twitter, he announced the highest bidder will be in his corner, so naturally, Darren Till went into troll mode as he loves to do with Perry.

However, Perry’s pregnant girlfriend will be there for him in his corner instead of Darren Till, which many of us wanted to see. To finish the main card, we have Kaitlyn Chookagian taking on Cynthia Calvillo. Chookagian has talked about taking a break from the sport to start a family, but a win here puts her right back into title contention. Calvillo defeated Jessica Eye, who was the #1 contender at that time, in her first main event and a win against Chookagian will have her most-likely fighting for the title.

The prelims also serve us with some interesting storylines. Shevchenko’s sister, Antonina, is also fighting Brazilian Ariane Lipski. Antonina is coming off a decision loss to Chookagian while Lipski has won her last two fights, so this is an important fight for both as a win can boost them in the rankings.

Joaquin Buckley is back into action against Jordan Wright, just a month after one of the best knockouts you will ever see in MMA. If you haven’t seen it yet, expect it to be shown numerous times during the prelims Saturday night. These are the two fights to look for on the prelims, while there are a couple of Contender Series fighters making their debuts as well who will try to stand out.

If you want to place some bets on the fights here are my best picks:

  • Ariane Lipski ML
  • Buckley/Wright over 1.5 rounds
  • Paul Craig ML
  • Calvillo/ Figueiredo Parlay