The highly anticipated UFC 264 will go down tonight as Conor McGregor takes on Dustin Poirier for the third time. This is a MASSIVE event, and along with it comes a bunch of watch parties and events where the fight will be played, so if you’re a somewhat social person, there’s a good chance you’ll come across this fight tonight. Here’s all the basics you need to know ahead of the bout, essentially a UFC 264 for dummies. You’re gonna wanna read this because there’s nothing that’ll get a young ladies pants off faster than knowing about UFC, trust me, I speak from A LOT of experience.
First, here are some videos to get you jacked up for the fight
Tonight marks the third time Conor and Dustin will be squaring off, with the score in the trilogy being 1 to 1. The first fight took place at 145 pounds when both men were up and comers and Conor knocked Dustin out inside one round. The second fight occurred in January of this year, this time with both men arguably at the height of their careers, and after a close first round, Poirier knocked out McGregor in the second. In the buildup to the second fight, Conor McGregor, who is known for his aggressive trash-talking, took the surprising route of the nice guy and was extremely cordial with Dustin. Arguably too nice, if you ask me. For this fight, however, Conor has returned to his vintage self, verbally attacking Dustin both in person and on Twitter for the last 3 months. This begs the question: will Conor’s trash talk affect Dustin’s mentality? In the past this tactic has worked for Conor, his opponents have frequently wilted under the pressure of his trash talk, and we’ll find out if that is the case for Dustin tonight.
A vague outline of how the fight will play out
Look, as evidenced by my UFC gambling history, I cannot predict fights well. But, I’m gonna try and lay down some basic things that will MOST LIKELY happen in the fight, and try to convey what’s a good sign and bad sign for both men. For Conor, his most dangerous weapon is his ruthless left hand. He’s most likely going to spend the majority of the fight trying to land it, because if he hits Dustin with it there’s a good chance he scores a knockout. However, Conor’s endurance has been a struggle for his entire career, so he usually earns his knockouts in the first 1-2 rounds, so the longer the fight goes the better for Dustin. Poirier also has some power in his hands himself, as evidenced by the knockout he earned back in January, so he won’t shy away from striking with Conor. And, Dustin is one of the best in the UFC at getting his opponents timing down, and completely out-boxing them on the feet. So, Dustin will most likely try to weather the early storm from Conor, and pick up steam as the fight goes on.
A few things to watch for
With that outline in mind, here’s a few things to watch for in the fight, and I’ll explain why.
Dustin Poirier’s leg kicks: In the second fight, the biggest reason for Poirer’s success was his ability to effectively kick the calf of Conor McGregor. This completely immobilized Conor, and he was knocked out shortly after he could no longer move fluidly on his leg. If Dustin lands these kicks again tonight, Conor is going to be in BIG trouble.
Will Dustin Poirier take the fight to the ground? In the second fight, Dustin only attempted one takedown and was successful, but McGregor eventually got up to his feet. Poirer does have a slightly more dangerous ground game then Conor, so getting the fight to the floor could be a big advantage for Dustin.
What happens when Conor lands his left hand? Conor McGregor is undoubtedly one of the best strikers the UFC has to offer, so it’s not really a question if he’s going to land his left tonight. He’s gonna land it. The question is how Poirer will react when he’s hit. Dustin has been known to take a tremendous punch, but one of his two career knockout losses did come to Conor McGregor. So, will Conor be able to crack his iron chin? Because if Poirier eats a few bombs off the chin and doesn’t go down, McGregor could easily get discouraged.
How will Conor react if the fight goes into the later rounds? As mentioned earlier, Conor biggest weakness throughout his career has been his stamina. We’ve seen him tire out before, and really slow down as the fight goes on. Will he do that tonight? We know that Dustin won’t. So if the fight reaches the fourth and fifth round and Conor slows down, Dustin will be able to put a crazy pace on Conor, and it may just be a matter of time until McGregor is knocked out again. But, if Conor doesn’t tire, and remains fresh into the later rounds, that’s terrible news for Dustin. Having to take punches from a fresh Conor McGregor over four or five rounds will really add up, and that could be recipe for a knockout for McGregor.
So, I hope you learned something if you read this. Now you can have a few things to watch for, and maintain a better understanding of the context behind the fight. And if you’re gonna be watching this at a bar or something, don’t be afraid to mansplain everything I just said to some girl tonight. They love when guys do this.