UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor II Preview

 

By Kyler Kuehler

UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor II will air on January 23, 2021, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+/Fight Pass)

AMIR “THE PRINCE” ALBAZI (13-1-0) vs ZHALGAS “ZHAKO” ZHUMAGULOV (13-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the flyweight division. Albazi brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Zhumagulov brings striking and grappling. Both are just about equal in techniques; Albazi is better with his grappling. He will be able to bring Zhumagulov to the ground and keep him there for the majority of the fight. Zhumagulov will get back to his feet a few times, but only to be taken back down again. He will then try to grapple with Albazi, but will not withstand Albazi’s power. My prediction: Albazi wins via submission in Round 3.

NIK “THE CARNY” LENTZ (30-11-2, 1 NC) vs MOVSAR EVLOEV (13-0-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Lentz brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Evloev brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Both are well-rounded; Evloev is a better grappler. He will use his jiu-jitsu and wrestling to take quick advantage of Lentz. Lentz will try to avoid Evloev’s takedowns, but he will not prevail. Evloev will take him down before he knows it and out grapples him with ease. My prediction: Evloev wins via submission in Round 1.

ANDREW “EL DIRTE” SANCHEZ (12-5-0) vs MAKHMUD “MACH” MURADOV (24-6-0)
This is a three-round fight in the middleweight division. Sanchez brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Muradov brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both contain identical techniques; Muradov is better with his pacing. He will attack Sanchez with cleaner strikes and avoid many of his attacks. Sanchez will try to bring him to the ground only for Muradov to counter and bring Sanchez to the ground instead. Muradov will then gain full control and turn the fight into an all-out grappling match. My prediction: Muradov wins via unanimous decision.

Preliminary Card (ESPN/+)

KHALIL “THE WAR HORSE” ROUNTREE JR. (8-4-0, 1 NC) vs MARCIN PRACHNIO (13-5-0)
This is a three-round fight in the light heavyweight division. Rountree brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Prachnio brings karate and jiu-jitsu. Rountree will be using his boxing to cause major damage to Prachnio. Prachnio will try to use his karate to defend. He will be able to defend against Rountree, but not for long. Rountree will break through his defense and attack him full force until he can no longer continue. My prediction: Rountree wins via TKO in Round 2.

#7 JULIANNA PENA (9-4-0) vs #9 SARA MCMANN (12-5-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s bantamweight division. Pena brings kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. McMann brings kickboxing and wrestling. The Olympic style wrestling McMann possesses looks to be all she will need to take the fight. However, Pena has great takedown defense along with great wrestling. She will be able to keep a majority of the fight standing and force McMann to strike with her. McMann will try to, but her striking will not be as efficient as Pena’s. My prediction: Pena wins via unanimous decision.

#14 BRAD TAVARES (17-6-0) vs #13 ANTONIO “CARA DE SAPATO” CARLOS JUNIOR (10-4-0, 1 NC)
This is a three-round fight in the middleweight division. Tavares brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Junior brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. Tavares will try to use his wrestling to take Junior out. Junior will manage to keep the fight standing and force Tavares to strike with him. Junior will then use his Muay Thai to tear Tavares apart. Tavares will try to defend, but the power Junior will put into his strikes will prove too much. My prediction: Junior wins via TKO in Round 2.

ARMAN TSARUKYAN (15-2-0) vs NASRAT HAQPARAST (12-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Tsarukyan brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Haqparast brings boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. Haqparast’s striking abilities look to be too much for Tsarukyan to handle. Tsarukyan will be able to avoid many of Haqparast’s strikes and keep his distance. He will then bring him to the ground and out grapple him with his jiu-jitsu and wrestling. My prediction: Tsarukyan wins via unanimous decision.

Main Card (Pay-Per-View – ESPN+)

#8 MARINA RODRIGUEZ (12-1-2) vs #9 AMANDA RIBAS (10-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s flyweight division. Rodriguez brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. Ribas brings Muay Thai, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Rodriguez is a tough fighter and looks to give Ribas a good fight. Ribas is an even better fighter and contains more aggression. She will be throwing harder and faster strikes which will cause major damage to Rodriguez. Rodriguez will try to defend, but will not be able to withstand the power of Ribas. My prediction: Ribas wins via TKO in Round 2.

MATT “THE STEAMROLLA” FREVOLA (8-1-1) vs OTTMAN “BULLDOZER” AZAITAR (13-0-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Frevola brings Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Azaitar brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. Frevola’s jiu-jitsu and wrestling combinations look to be too much for Azaitar to handle. However, Azaitar is a great grappler himself and will be able to grapple with Frevola. He will even counter his grappling moves and use ground-and-pound. My prediction: Azaitar wins via unanimous decision.

#6 JESSICA “EVIL” EYE (15-8-0, 1 NC) vs #7 JOANNE “JOJO” CALDERWOOD (14-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s flyweight division. Eye brings boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Calderwood brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. Eye is a tough fighter and is well-equipped in every way. Though, Calderwood is more aggressive and will be unloading heavy attacks on Eye. Eye will try to do the same, but she won’t be able to stand against Calderwood’s power. My prediction: Calderwood wins via unanimous decision.

#6 DAN “HANGMAN” HOOKER (20-9-0) vs MICHAEL CHANDLER (21-5-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Hooker brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. Chandler brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Hooker holds great Muay Thai that could challenge Chandler. However, Chandler has a great defense and will be able to withstand many of Hooker’s attacks. He will then use his wrestling and bring Hooker to the ground. Once on the ground, he will transition to ground-and-pound to cause major damage to Hooker. My prediction: Chandler wins via TKO in Round 2.

#2 DUSTIN “THE DIAMOND” POIRIER (26-6-0, 1 NC) vs #4 CONOR “THE NOTORIOUS” MCGREGOR (22-4-0)
This is a five-round main event in the lightweight division. Poirier brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. McGregor brings striking, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is the former featherweight and lightweight champion. McGregor makes another return and looks to make another statement against a former opponent. However, Poirier is not the same fighter and has grown much with both his power and stamina. He looks to give McGregor a true test this time. Though, McGregor still is loaded with knockout power and can stand and strike with anyone. He will not hold anything back and go after Poirier the moment the bell rings. Poirier will try to find a way to take control, but McGregor will be too fast to make it possible. My prediction: McGregor wins via knockout in Round 1.