Is Conor McGregor Undervalued vs. Dustin Poirier at UFC 257?
Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor goes down Saturday night as one of the more anticipated UFC fights in a long while. Let’s start by saying McGregor is worthy of that being a big favorite on the FanDuel Sportsbook. The feisty Irishman has been a good bet since November 17th when he was -200, and it looked like even then, this line was going to move in one direction because of one simple reason. Even though McGregor is as big of a name as he is in mixed martial arts, he is one of the most underrated and undervalued fighters in the UFC in a long time.
How does the data support that? Over his last nine fights, only twice has even opened above a -225 favorite. Here’s a guy who’s won over 80% of his professional fights, and yet the market hasn’t brought him out higher than thinking he’s got a 70% chance of winning. Why? Because his competition level is always very good.
The former UFC lightweight champion is one of the best guys in this weight class, especially now as we haven’t seen him fight a lot at 155. Although Poirier is able to take a shot better at 155, it’s not like McGregor staying at 145. He’s moved up as well. In rematches, we know historically, the winner of the first wins the second fight 65% of the time. Since 2012, it’s closer to 70% of the time, and when the fighter is favored in the first one and wins and then is favored in the second, they win eight out of ten times.
It just sets up nicely for McGregor to come in and win because, stylistically, it all falls in his favor. He’s a counter puncher, and that’s exactly what Dustin Poria is going to give him. Oh, he’s a boxer that throws over five significant rights per minute. Sure Poirier holds the advantage over McGregor’s grappling game, but the data says it’s been a bit different recently. Over his last five fights, he’s minus nine in takedowns and has zero multiple take-down fights. So don’t expect “The Diamond” to just take McGregor down on the ground and control him all night to get a decision.
McGregor should ends this one quickly with the under very live. A first-round finish is very doable and would not be all that surprising. If you’re looking for a long shot with value because most finishes happen early in mixed martial arts, here it is. There’s a 30% chance of a fight ending in round one. By round three, that probability is cut in half, unlike boxing, where you’re systematically breaking your opponent down.
That doesn’t happen in mixed martial arts, as finishes generally occur early. Historically McGregor has had some quick finishes, and there’s a ton of value there.
For Conor McGregor to win this fight, the true line should be more like -400 rather than -330. He wins this fight four out of five times, and this is not a bet against Dustin, who is a great fighter; it’s a bet on Conor McGregor, who’s wholly undervalued in this spot.