UFC 257 will be held at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Sunday January 24th (AEDT) and is headlined by a Lightweight fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
Both fighters have been champion of this division at some stage in their career with McGregor winning the belt from Eddie Alvarez back in 2016 and Poirier winning the Interim belt against Max Holloway in 2019.
As with any Conor McGregor fight, there is added interest and a massive audience as he sets his sights on a big 2021 and another shot at the title.
Poirier is looking to avenge the loss he suffered to McGregor back in 2014 and prove he is worthy of another title shot also.
The Co-Main Event sees the UFC debut of former Bellator Lightweight champion Michael Chandler who takes on New Zealander Dan Hooker.
Our full UFC 257 Preview – McGregor v Poirier of every fight on the Main Card, as well as our betting suggestions, can be found here.
UFC 257 Main Card
Sunday, January 24 (AEDT)
UFC Lightweight Fight
The biggest star in the history of the sport returns this weekend on Fight Island.
There really is nothing like a Conor McGregor fight week.
He takes on Dustin Poirier for a second time, having won by TKO in the first round back in 2014.
McGregor kick started a very successful 2020 for the promotion this time last year with a dominant display against Cowboy Cerrone and that is the last time we have seen the Irish superstar inside the Octagon.
Poirier returns to Lightweight after his loss to McGregor in 2014 at Featherweight and has gone 10:2:1 NC since.
He captured the vacant UFC Lightweight belt and became the Interim Champion when he defeated Max Holloway at UFC 236 in April 2019.
He is the only fighter to have shared the cage with both Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
There is no doubting that Poirier has improved out of sight since their last meeting but stylistically this looks a bad match up for him.
He is a fantastic stand up fighter and his boxing is his strength but he takes on arguably the best counter striker that we have ever seen inside the Octagon.
The way to victory for Poirier is via his grappling but Conor McGregor has exceptional take down defence to negate this threat.
There is plenty of fights that in this Lightweight Division that will trouble Conor McGregor.
I don’t think this is one of those fights.
4 Units Conor McGregor To win by KO/TKO/Submission @ $1.50
UFC Lightweight Fight
Michael Chandler makes his debut in the UFC after making the transition from Bellator, something that many fighters have done before him.
He will take on perennial top 10 UFC Lightweight Dan Hooker who has won four of his last five fights inside the Octagon.
Hooker was last seen in June of 2020 where he went to war with Dustin Poirier earning both fighters Fight Of The Night honours.
It’s not just his toughness that stands out when watching Dan Hooker fight.
He is quite tall for this division who fights long and his kickboxing is second to none.
He uses his lateral movement really well and is never flat footed. He fights really well off his back foot also.
Chandler is a former champion in Bellator who will be looking to use his wrestling to his advantage in this match up.
Despite his wrestling prowess, Chandler has a first round knockout win over former UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson in November last year and can not be taken lightly on the feet.
But there is levels to this game and Chandler has picked the wrong opponent to make his UFC debut against.
2 Units Dan Hooker To Win by KO/TKO @ $3.20
UFC Women's Flyweight Fight
The last fight on the Main Card is a Women’s Flyweight fight between Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood.
Both of these ladies are pushing into their mid thirties and have had varied success inside the UFC.
After losing four straight, Jessica Eye put together three wins in a row to earn a title shot against the Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Unfortunately for her she cements herself into Shevchenko’s highlight reel forever when she lost via a vicious head kick in the second round.
Calderwood has won three of her last five fights with the two losses coming to Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia.
Two ladies that are right at the top of the division at the moment.
Joanne Calderwood has too many weapons at her disposal for Eye in my opinion but I think the judges will be needed to split these two.
3 Units Joanne Calderwood To Win By Decision @ $2.25
UFC Lightweight Fight
There are two high profile Lightweight fights on this card but this is another cracker of a fight in the division.
Ottman Azaitar is undefeated in 13 professional fights with 10 of those wins coming via first round knockout.
The German knocked out Teemu Packalen inside the first round when he made his UFC debut in September of 2019 and one year later he finished Khama Worthy in just 93 seconds.
His opponent is Matt Frevola who has just one loss to his name from 10 professional fights.
Four of his first six fights did not require the judges but he has not been seen inside the Octagon since October 2019.
Ottman Azaitar has incredible knockout power and if you need any examples of this, simply youtube the guy especially his one punch KO when making his UFC debut.
He has very good take down defence to negate most threats of the fight going to floor and I think he will be too skillful and strong on the feet.
2 Units Ottman Azaitar by KO/TKO @ $2.30
UFC Women's Strawweight Fight
Amanda Ribas is undefeated in four fights in the Octagon including a first right submission win over Paige VanZant in July 2020.
The 27 year old BJJ black belt has been held in high regard since making her debut and there has been talks of a title shot against Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko.
Rodriguez has just two wins from her last five fights however two of those were majority draws and she lost a very close split decision against Carla Esparza in July last year.
Eight of Rodriguez’s last nine fights have gone the distance proving just how tough and hard to dominate she is.
Amanda Ribas is a really well rounded fighter who can stand and strike or take things to the ground where she has many and varied ways of finishing her opponent.
Rodriguez has shown how tough she is to finish but Ribas is on another level to many she has fought recently.
I can see Ribas overwhelming her opponent at times on the feet or on the ground and getting a finish.
2 Units Amanda Ribas To Win By KO/TKO Or Submission @ $3.30
UFC Lightweight Fight
Antonio Carlos Junior
UFC Middleweight Fight
Ottman Sara McMann
UFC Women Bantamweight Fight
UFC Light heavyweight Fight