The biggest trilogy fight in UFC history arguably is finally upon us as Dustin Poirier takes on Conor McGregor to break the deadlock between them at UFC 264.
McGregor knocked Poirier out in their first fight back in 2014, but Poirier got his own back in January at UFC 257 with a knockout win of his own to level it up at 1-1. The winner of this bout is highly likely to challenge for the lightweight title in their next bout, so the stakes could not be any higher.
In the co-main event we have a huge welterweight contender fight too as former title challengers Gilbert Burns and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson go head-to-head with each other to try and climb towards another shot against Kamaru Usman in the near future.
Also on the card is the return of ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley as he opens up the main card, while the prelims are full of exciting bouts too.
Last time out at UFC Vegas 30, we went 12/6 with two perfect picks for our selection for a not so good outing. That took us to 352/554 (63.54%) with 160 perfect picks (45.45%) since starting up.
We’ll look to improve that with this huge 13 fight card, and after starting with the early prelims here we move on to the rest of the prelims now.
Trevin Giles (14-2) vs Dricus Du Plessis (15-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)
An absolute banger at middleweight in this one as Giles takes on Du Plessis at 185lbs. Giles has won three-in-a-row including a knockout over Bevon Lewis at UFC Vegas 13 before a decision against Roman Dolidze at UFC Vegas 22, while Du Plessis is also on a three-fight win streak after winning his UFC debut against Markus Perez via first-round knockout at UFC Fight Island 5.
Giles is a solid kickboxer, with a good power jab and lots of kicks and combinations. Du Plessis is also a good striker with good power but he also has a solid ground game with nine submission wins in his career and a 100% finish rate in his career. The South African always throws some heavy leg kicks and looks for some top control.
It’ll be a really close one but Giles has a tendency to start relatively slowly and make weird decisions, which will allow Du Plessis the opportunity to earn the victory in a wild back and forth bout.
PICK – Dricus Du Plessis via Decision
Ryan Hall (8-1) vs Ilia Topuria (10-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)
A very, very fun fight in the featherweight division as jiu-jitsu wizard Ryan Hall takes on the undefeated Ilia Topuria. Hall has won eight fights in a row but hasn’t fought since 2019 due to lots of people not wanting to fight him, while Topuria is 2-0 in the UFC with a decision win over Youssef Zalal at UFC Fight Island 5 and then knocking out Damon Jackson at UFC Vegas 16.
Hall is an absolutely brilliant jiu-jitsu practitioner but he also has great kicks and some decent striking while standing too. Topuria on the other hand is a really good wrestler and submission artist himself but he also has some really good boxing too. He’ll need to use that boxing in this fight because he does not want to go to ground against Hall.
Topuria has all the tools to counter Hall’s strengths and so long as it’s him pushing the pace of the fight and not on the defensive the whole time, he should be able to get an entertaining win.
PICK – Ilia Topuria via Decision
Niko Price (14-4) vs Michel Pereira (25-11) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
Potentially a fight of the night contender here in the welterweight division as two absolute entertainment machines go head-to-head. Price has alternated wins and losses in his most recent fights but saw his draw against ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC Vegas 11 overturned to a no contest after a positive marijuana test. Pereira is a showman who likes flips and dancing in the cage but has managed to win his last two-in-a-row against Zelim Imadaev and then Khaos Williams at UFC Vegas 17.
Price is a solid boxer who comes forward with reckless abandon and looks to put you out with every shot, while Pereira is a wild man who is spectacular and free-flowing with his attacks. Both guys throw with ridiculous venom and while Price has excellent cardio, Pereira’s is questionable at best.
Despite that though, Pereira has shown in his last two fights that he can tone down the crazy and be quite devastating. For that reason, I think he has the advantage. His grappling is excellent and he has genuine knockout power too so I think he’ll catch Price coming in and then get a submission to close the show.
PICK – Michel Pereira via Submission, Round 2
Carlos Condit (32-13) vs Max Griffin (17-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)
One of the best welterweights of all time goes head-to-head with ‘Pain’ Max Griffin in the featured prelim bout of the night. Condit snapped a five-fight win streak by beating Court McGee before earning a decision over Matt Brown at UFC Fight Island 7, while Griffin has won his last two with a KO over Ramiz Brahimaj before a knockout over Kenan Song at UFC Vegas 22 too.
Condit is great at everything, with good kickboxing skills and some excellent chokes on his record too while Griffin is a power striker but he’s also a strong wrestler now too. Condit has historically always had bad takedown defence and that isn’t good against someone who is happy to take his opponent down and stay patient on top with ground and pound to stay busy.
Griffin is fragile sometimes but there’s been a switch in mentality recently and while Condit looked better in his last two, it’s not enough to convince me he’s back.
PICK – Max Griffin via Decision