UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov (C) vs. Dustin Poirier (IC): Khabib vs. Poirier Odds

UFC 242 Main Event: 

The main event of UFC 242 may seem cut and dry to some thanks to Nurmagomedov’s lengthy undefeated record of 27-0, but undefeated records don’t mean anything if the difficulty isn’t increased with tougher challenges (Khabib Odds: -440).

There was a time when Royce Gracie was considered the best fighter in the UFC. The same can be said for transcendent megastar Ronda Rousey. The sport evolved and eventually, other fighters figured them out. The champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s fights aren’t exactly unpredictable. Step 1: Takedown. Step 2: Smother and point strike. Step 3: Repeat.

This fight will come down to a couple of things if it goes in interim champion Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier’s favor (Poirier odds: +320) : takedown defense and/or his ability to get back to his feet.

Poirier will get taken down. Once people are on the canvas with “The Eagle”, his death grip either keeps his opponents there and he mauls them like he said he must do to Poirier or he just increases the pressure of the takedown rate so nothing comes of stand-ups.

According to UFCStats, formerly FightMetric, Nurmagomedov has a takedown accuracy rate of 44 percent to Poirier’s 37 percent. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Well, his takedown average per 15 minutes (a standard 15-minute non-title fight for new betters) is 5.09 to Poirier’s 1.63.

There is a gap in their average fight times of 13:56 to 9:36 in favor of the champ. Nurmagomedov also has five decision victories to three finishes dating back to May 2013 according to Sherdog.com. This could just come down to if Poirier will exhaust himself looking for a finish or if “The Eagle” will pay for drawing the fight out to show dominance.,

How UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier odds rest on the Matt 

We like the American’s chances thanks to his striking versatility so long as he stays out of the clinch with Nurmagomedov which could lead to, again, takedowns.

According to the latest “UFC Countdown” special, a key component of Poirier’s camp has been improving his wrestling. Hopefully, defense and getting up as mentioned previously. Nurmagomedov, age 30, has been wrestling since age eight according to Russia’s Sport-Express. That includes against bears (LOL.) He has been trained somewhat like a Spartan.

He is a machine.

However, look at UFC 241’s main event and you will find the latest example of an upset. You will see unbeaten streaks like that of Daniel Cormier aren’t everything. Cormier lost that fight, in part, because he didn’t keep his hands up. He didn’t respect the striking of his adversary.

With such an impressive history and somewhat of a “home-field advantage” is Nurmagomedov doing the same?

Not to sound like a broken record, but as with UFC 241, this fight is all about pressure. Nurmagmedov wears on his dance partners and grinds to dust. Pressure also helps create diamonds. Poirier is a part of perhaps the most competitive division in the UFC and is on a 9-1 run.

Poirier told USA Today’s MMAJunkie.com, “The run I’m on right now. If I go out there out and stop Khabib, that’s the current featherweight champ (Max Holloway), the current lightweight champ, I’d beat them both back-to-back.”

“Then look at the other champs I’ve beat: (Anthony) Pettis, Eddie (Alvarez), (Justin) Gaethje, that’s a lot of champions in a row. The perseverance I’ve had to show to just get to this opportunity is a part of that story to be the best.”

Sherdog feels like a Porter victory is possible depending on hand speed like in the case of Nurmagomedov’s fight with Michael Johnson at UFC 205. In other words, this was something also discussed in the OddsUSA UFC 241 preview: volume. Unfortunately, Poirier might have to put himself in takedown danger to try and impose his will.

The conclusion?

Even more than Poirier, combat sports have been Nurmagomedov’s life’s work. The up and down journey Poirier has been on feels kind of like something akin to “Cinderella Man” or other great fight movies. He has been a part of the UFC for ages and never been so close to truly being a champion.

As Poirier said, he has “a piece of the world title” because of the word interim. A win might make this one of the best modern stories in all combat sports, but this is real life. Sometimes life punches you in the face and ruins your dreams.,