UFC tips: 3 value picks for McGregor v Poirier and rest of UFC 264 card

It's Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier III this weekend and our top tipster Simon Head has sussed out the best bets.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

05:30 (Sunday morning): Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier – McGregor to Win by Points

Conor McGregor won the first fight, but Dustin Poirier got revenge in the second, so who’s going to claim bragging rights by taking the third and final leg in their UFC trilogy? That’s the big question everybody is eager to find out this coming weekend at UFC 264, which will take place in front of a packed house at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.

McGregor got into Poirier’s head leading into their first fight before finishing him in the first round. But things were much more cordial between the pair ahead of their rematch, and Poirier arrived with a perfect gameplan as he finished the Irishman to level the score.

But it sounds like McGregor is much more amped up for the trilogy fight, and has vowed Poirier is “going to pay” when they face off for a third time.

So, which way should we lean when searching for value in this fight? From watching both men compete over the years, I still believe that McGregor at his best beats Poirier at his best. I also think that McGregor will be much smarter and sharper this time around.

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As for Poirier, I think there’s only one way to nullify the Irishman, and that’s to wrestle. But the American loves getting dragged into a tear-up, and I suspect that’s going to be the case here, and that favours McGregor.

You can back McGregor to win by KO/TKO (as he did in the first fight) or Poirier to win by the same method (like he did in the rematch). But if we’re searching for value, how about backing the fight to go all the way to the scorecards this time around? They’re both seasoned, they know each other extremely well and, as a result, there’s a decent chance this one could last longer than both of the first two meetings.

At the time of writing, Poirier is the narrow betting favourite, meaning there’s some outstanding value available for McGregor backers, and there’s none better than the market available for a McGregor win on the scorecards.

If you’re leaning toward Poirier to edge the trilogy, you can get a similarly tasty price for a decision victory, but I’m picking Conor.

MORE TIPS: Here’s our 3 best bets for McGregor v Poirier 

ConorMcGregorDustinPoirierJun21

04:30 (Sunday morning): Gilbert Burns v Stephen Thompson – Burns to Win via Submission

A battle between two welterweight contenders features in the night’s co-main event, with Gilbert Burns looking to stake his claim for a second title shot by defeating fellow former challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Burns hits harder, has the better ground game and, on paper, has more ways to win. But “Wonderboy” is the UFC’s answer to a Rubik’s Cube – he’s so tricky to work out once you get in the cage with him.

If Burns keeps it standing with Thompson, he’s almost certainly going to lose a decision, or maybe even get stopped. But if the former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion can get “Wonderboy” to the mat, the skill discrepancy should turn things in “Durinho’s” favour. The safe bet is Thompson to win on the scorecards, but if we’re looking for the best value pick, Burns to claim the victory via submission offers the best realistic option.

03:30 (Sunday morning): Greg Hardy v Tai Tuivasa – Hardy to Win by Points

Two heavyweight sluggers will duke it out in a main card clash that should deliver plenty of fireworks, but who’ll come out victorious? Tai Tuivasa loves nothing better than to stand and bang. He’s not really interested in fighting on the ground, but if you go toe to toe with him, expect a war.

That’s pretty appropriate, give the fact that Greg Hardy is known as “The Prince of War.” The former NFL star is evolving his MMA skillset from fight to fight, and is growing into a formidable heavyweight prospect. He’s still raw, but looking at this matchup on paper, Hardy’s underdog status offers some nice value opportunities.

He undoubtedly has more ways to win than Tuivasa, with his ability to shoot in and take his man to the mat likely to be a major factor in this fight. And with the backing of American Top Team in his corner, expect him to come into the fight with a shrewd game plan.

People will be hoping for an all-out slugfest, but don’t be surprised if Hardy mixes things up. If he does, a Hardy decision victory looks like outstanding value.

UFC 264 betting tips:

Sunday 05:30: Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier – McGregor to Win by Points
Sunday 04:30: Gilbert Burns v Stephen Thompson – Burns to Win via Submission
Sunday 03:30: Greg Hardy v Tai Tuivasa – Hardy to Win by Points

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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