UFC 257 predictions, odds, best bets: Finding strong values for a loaded fight card on Fight Island

UFC is ready to kick off 2021 with a bang in its PPV debut of the new year. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor is back to once again start the year off in the main event when he takes on top ranked lightweight contender Dustin Poirier in a pivotal battle in the 155-pound division. With McGregor returning to the Octagon, bettors are ready to flock to the betting stalls to get in on the action.

McGregor heads into the fight with Poirier as a -310 favorite to beat Poirier (+250). The fight stands out as even more important with the retirement of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Whoever emerges victorious between McGregor and Poirier would seem to have the inside track on a title fight, whether for the vacant championship or against Nurmagomedov should the UFC be able to convince him to return for one more fight.

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There’s expected to be tons of action on the main event — and the card as a whole, for that matter. That’s why William Hill Sportsbook is offering tons of props for McGregor vs. Poirier for bettors to consider on Saturday night. Let’s take a closer look at some of those prop offerings before making our three best bets for the main card below.

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier

McGregor via KO/TKO/DQ


McGregor via submission +1800

McGregor via decision


Poirier via KO/TKO/DQ


Poirier via submission


Poirier via decision




Fight goes the distance: YES


Fight goes the distance: NO


Pick: Total rounds — Over 1.5 (-150) McGregor is an explosive finisher and he didn’t have much trouble finishing Poirier in the first round of their previous meeting. To lean on that ignores several realities. Poirier isn’t going to rush in like Jose Aldo, he isn’t on a run of several knockouts like Donald Cerrone and he’s a much better and more complete fighter at 155 pounds than he was at 145. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that McGregor eats up Poirier in a matter of minutes, but the more mature version of Poirier should be taking the kind of patient and cautious approach that makes this a good value bet, especially with the playbook on McGregor saying that dragging him into the second half of the fight is your best chance to score the victory.

Michael Chandler vs. Dan Hooker

Chandler via KO/TKO/DQ


Chandler via submission


Chandler via decision


Hooker via KO/TKO/DQ


Hooker via submission


Hooker via decision


Draw +5000

Fight goes the distance: YES


Fight goes the distance: NO


Pick: Chandler via decision (+250) — Hooker via knockout is viewed by the oddsmakers as the most likely way the fight will end. This is a product of both Hooker’s talents as a striker and Chandler suffering three TKO losses in his career (though one was a doctor’s stoppage). Yes, Chandler is hittable and Hooker can finish talented fighters when he can get his strikes flowing. But Chandler has legitimate wrestling skills and some power on the feet. If he can make Hooker hesitate on the feet because he’s worried about the threat of a takedown, Chandler can grind out two rounds on the scorecards to edge out the decision. The likelihood of the fight playing out is high enough that +250 is an attractive line.

Amanda Ribas vs. Marina Rodriguez

Ribas via KO/TKO/DQ


Ribas via submission


Ribas via decision


Rodriguez via KO/TKO/DQ


Rodriguez via submission


Rodriguez via decision


Fight goes the distance: YES


Fight goes the distance: NO


Pick: Amanda Ribas via decision (+120) — If you want to live a bit more of an exciting life for 15 minutes on Saturday, throwing some money on Ribas to score a stoppage isn’t unreasonable. Personally, I want to place bets that have the highest chance of making money. Nearly 70% of women’s strawweight fights go to decision. Ribas is a reasonably heavy favorite for a reason, but Rodriguez has never been stopped. Getting +120 for what seems like far and away the most sensible outcome is still a good value here without just throwing up a Hail Mary and hoping for the best.

Who will win McGregor vs. Poirier 2, and how will 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.

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