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UFC 242: Nurmagomedov vs Poirier Odds and Picks

UFC 242: Odds and Picks

For the first time in over five years, the Octagon heads to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for UFC 242. Headlining the card is a bout for the lightweight title between Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov and Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier. The current champion, Nurmagomedov, is a -450 favorite with the challenger, Poirier, coming back at +325. I have a breakdown and a pick for each fight on the main card.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier

Nurmagomedov (-450) is laying his perfect 27-0 record on the line and is making his second title defense as he returns to the Octagon for the first time since UFC 229 last October. The Eagle won the vacant belt against Al Iaquinta in April of last year and defended it with a fourth-round submission of Conor McGregor in October.

The Russia native is an incredible wrestler who puts immense pressure on his opponent, constantly stalking forward to get his hands on his foe and bring him to the floor. He averages 5.09 takedowns per 15 minutes and has landed multiple takedowns in each of his last eight fights. Additionally, he has constantly improved his striking, including dropping McGregor with a well-timed overhand right in their fight.

Poirier (+325) looks to extend his six-fight winning streak, his longest since he became a professional and won his first seven bouts. The Diamond won the interim title by earning a unanimous-decision victory over Max Holloway at UFC 236 in April, while Nurmagomedov was off on a suspension. Prior to the Holloway victory, Poirier earned wins over former champions Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis.

The Louisiana native has tremendous experience as he is making his 23rd walk to the Octagon and he looks very calm and comfortable in the cage. Poirier has a really fast and accurate jab that he uses to give himself some breathing room and that allows him to move forward where he throws a flurry of strikes. The southpaw averages 5.75 significant strikes per minute, but he also absorbs 4.08 significant strikes per minute. He has only been taken down three times over his last six fights and defends 69 percent of attempts.

This is a classic striker vs grappler matchup as Poirier will look to keep the fight standing and let his hands fly for five rounds at a high pace. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov will look to pressure the Diamond and drag him to the floor where he can work his nasty ground and pound or look for a submission. Both men have great conditioning, which makes this fight even more intriguing.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-450) via decision

Edson Barboza vs Paul Felder

Barboza (-155) is looking to get back on track after dropping three of his last four fights. The Brazil native had a three-fight winning streak snapped at UFC 219 with a decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov and followed that up with a doctor’s stoppage loss to Kevin Lee. Most recently, he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Justin Gaethje in March.

The 33-year-old has extreme power in his strikes. Most notably, he fires nasty leg kicks that have earned him three finishes in that manner. He doesn’t use a ton of extra energy in the standup, typically standing firm just on the outside of his opponent’s strikes and he waits for them to plant themselves for a second and then fires his kicks. One issue he has is dropping his hands when he moves backward, which resulted in his knockout loss to Gaethje in March.

Felder (+125) has won four of his last five fights, with his only loss coming by split decision when he broke his arm early in the bout but survived to get to the judges’ scorecards. “The Irish Dragon” had a three-fight finish streak, all knockouts by elbows, prior to losing to Mike Perry by split decision. Felder bounced back from that defeat to earn a decision win over James Vick in February.

The Pennsylvania native is very aggressive, always cutting the cage down and not giving his opponent any breathing room. He is also very creative, throwing plenty of elbows and spinning attacks, often coming off of misses. Don’t look for him to take this fight to the floor as he hasn’t earned a takedown since he dragged Daron Cruickshank to the canvas twice in 2016.

This is a fight of the night rematch from 2015 when Barboza scored a unanimous-decision victory. Since that loss, Felder has gone 6-3 while Barboza has gone 4-4 so it’s only fitting to play it back. In that first fight, the Irish Dragon often followed Barboza, letting him scoot out of danger rather than cutting off the cage. Additionally, the Brazil native was very light on his feet compared to his more recent fights. I anticipate another back-and-forth brawl that will surely entertain.

Prediction: Paul Felder (+125) via decision

Islam Makhachev vs Davi Ramos

Makhachev (-335) aims to secure his sixth straight win and continue to climb the lightweight standings. The Russia native had his perfect record snapped in his second fight in the UFC when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Adriano Martins. Since then, Makhachev has rattled off five straight wins, including two first-round finishes over that span.

Makhachev, much like fellow Dagestan fighters, is predominantly a wrestler as he averages 4.25 takedowns per 15 minutes. He has landed a takedown in five of his six UFC wins, with the only victory without a takedown coming as a first-round, first-minute knockout over Gleison Tibau. What allows him to achieve as many takedowns as he does is his variety of methods, whether it’s a traditional single or double leg takedown or more unconventional trips.

Ramos (+255) looks to extend his four-fight winning streak after losing his UFC debut. “The Tasmanian Devil” entered the Octagon with a 6-1 record, but immediately dropped his first bout by unanimous decision. That being said, the Brazil native settled down after that with four straight victories, including three submission wins, heading into this fight.

The 32-year-old is very patient on his feet, analyzing his opponent every move and figuring out the best game plan for attack. He has decent striking, typically loading up on his overhand right as well as throwing leg kicks. However, the main attack for Ramos is taking the fight to the floor and working toward a submission as seven of his 12 professional wins have ended in that manner.

Ramos’ takedowns seem very traditional, looking for blast double legs and into a body lock to drag the fight to the floor. I’m not sure if that will be enough to take down Makhachev. Additionally, he hasn’t had to defend a takedown in the Octagon, so that will be interesting to see him off his back as he typically is on top working toward a submission. Overall, I think the Russia native has more tools both in the standup and in grappling.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev (-335) via decision

Curtis Blaydes vs Shamil Abdurakhimov

Blaydes (-500) looks to string wins together following his unanimous-decision win over Justin Willis in March. The 28-year-old had a streak of six fights in which he didn’t suffer a loss, earning a rematch with the only man to beat him, Francis Ngannou. Unfortunately for “Razor,” he suffered the same result in the rematch with a first-round knockout loss to the Predator.

The Oklahoma native is a well-rounded fighter who is predominantly a wrestler but has steadily improved his standup game as well. Blaydes has good cardio, averages 6.79 takedowns per 15 minutes and has landed multiple takedowns in seven of his nine UFC fights. When he is able to bring the fight to the floor, he then goes to town with his vicious ground and pound.

Abdurakhimov (+350) looks to extend his three-fight winning streak. The Russia native split his first four fights in the Octagon, falling by knockout to Timothy Johnson and Derrick Lewis while earning decision wins over Walt Harris and Anthony Hamilton. Since the loss to Lewis, “Abrek” has won three straight fights, including two by knockout.

The 37-year-old is fairly light on his feet but does tend to stand a little flat-footed, which leaves him vulnerable to heavy leg kicks. Additionally, he only stuffs 66 percent of takedown attempts as he loads up on his punches and is sometimes off balance when he throws. Lastly, he doesn’t throw many combinations, rather throwing one power punch at a time.

The only man to stop Blaydes in the Octagon is title contender Francis Ngannou and Abdurakhimov doesn’t possess the same power as Ngannou. Razor will have the speed advantage and his blast double is almost unstoppable at heavyweight. I anticipate him to have success over and over again dragging the fight to the canvas and working his ground and pound.

Prediction: Curtis Blaydes (-500) via knockout

Mairbek Taisumov vs Diego Ferreira

Taisumov (-260) returns to the Octagon for the first time in nearly a year and looks to pick up where he left off. “Beckan” is riding a six-fight winning streak, five of which were knockouts, while his last win was a unanimous-decision triumph. Overall in the UFC, Taisumov holds a 7-1 record with his only loss coming against Michel Prazeres in 2014.

The Russia native has extreme power in his hands and is very patient in waiting for his opportunities. He does a good job of baiting his opponent into throwing a strike and then dips out of the way and throws huge counter-strikes. If they land, they put his opponent to sleep. Of his 27 professional wins, 15 have ended by knockout, including five of his last six fights.

Ferreira (+200) aims to extend his four-fight winning streak. The Brazil native had a two-fight losing skid to Beneil Dariush and Dustin Poirier in 2014 into 2015 but has rebounded since to win four straight bouts, including two by knockout. Most recently, he secured a unanimous-decision victory over Rustam Khabilov in February.

The 34-year-old tends to keep the fight standing as he is aggressive and likes to exchange hands with his opponent. Ferreira averages 4.70 significant strikes per minute, but only lands 37 percent of his strikes and doesn’t have a ton of power behind his punches, earning just three knockout wins in his career. Don’t expect him to engage in a grappling match as he has landed just one takedown in the Octagon and it came in his debut in 2014.

Long layoffs don’t seem to bother Taisumov. This is just his fourth fight since the start of 2016, but he has three wins over that span. Ferreira likes to get in the face of his opponent and back them up with strikes, but he lacks true knockout power, and the Russia native is very good at maintaining distance and attacking his foe when they get into his striking range.  

Prediction: Mairbek Taisumov (-260) via knockout

Here’s a look at the full list of odds for UFC 242: Nurmagomedov vs Poirier:

UFC 242: Nurmagomedov vs Poirier Betting Odds

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier
FighterOdds
Khabib Nurmagomedov-450
Dustin Poirier+325

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Edson Barboza vs Paul Felder
FighterOdds
Edson Barboza-155
Paul Felder+125

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Islam Makhachev vs Davi Ramos
FighterOdds
Islam Makhachev-335
Davi Ramos+255

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Curtis Blaydes vs Shamil Abdurakhimov
FighterOdds
Curtis Blaydes-500
Shamil Abdurakhimov+350

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Mairbek Taisumov vs Diego Ferreira
FighterOdds
Mairbek Taisumov-260
Diego Ferreira+200

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Don Madge vs Fares Ziam
FighterOdds
Don Madge-185
Fares Ziam+150

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Khalid Taha vs Bruno Silva
FighterOdds
Khalid Taha-260
Bruno Silva+200

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Ottman Azaitar vs Teemu Packalen
FighterOdds
Ottman Azaitar-230
Teemu Packalen+180

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Liana Jojua vs Sarah Moras
FighterOdds
Liana Jojua-150
Sarah Moras+120

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Belal Muhammad vs Takashi Sato
FighterOdds
Belal Muhammad-360
Takashi Sato+270

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Nordine Taleb vs Muslim Salikhov
FighterOdds
Nordine Taleb-125
Muslim Salikhov-105

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Omari Akhmedov vs Zak Cummings
FighterOdds
Omari Akhmedov-120
Zak Cummings-110

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Joanne Calderwood vs Andrea Lee
FighterOdds
Joanne Calderwood+180
Andrea Lee-230

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Adam Yandiev vs Punahele Soriano
FighterOdds
Adam Yandiev+120
Punahele Soriano-150

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

Zubaira Tukhugov vs Lerone Murphy
FighterOdds
Zubaira Tukhugov-500
Lerone Murphy+350

Odds as of Sept 4 at Bovada

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