It’s time to talk about the next solid card from UFC this Saturday from Glendale, Arizona with a main event featuring two all-out fighters in Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
But we have to start off talking about what transpired at UFC 223 this weekend. Not only was the main event changed from Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson for the UFC Lightweight Championship to Khabib vs. UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway, to Khabib vs. Anthony Pettis, to Khabib vs. Paul Felder, to finally the fight that happened Khabib vs. Al Iaquinta for the title, but all anyone could talk about was Conor McGregor.
Yes, the UFC Lightweight/Featherweight Champion, who was stripped of both his titles due to inactivity and a sideway move to the boxing ring for a mega payday vs. Floyd Mayweather, arrived at New York bringing chaos with him. McGregor, after hearing of a confrontation between Khabib, Khabib’s entourage and Conor’s good friend Artem Lobov, got into the pre-fight press conference and attacked the bus leaving the arena with Khabib on board.
McGregor threw a dolly toward the bus that shattered the window of the bus, injuring Michael Chiesa’s face and Ray Borg’s eyes. Both fighters had their fights cancelled. McGregor was charged with assault and paid $50,000 to make bail; he is due back in a New York court on June 14.
This seems like a calculated move by McGregor to drum up more interest in his fighting career in the UFC. I am sure UFC President Dana White knew something would happen, but I don’t think he approved McGregor getting that carried away.
While yes, McGregor is in trouble with the law, I think we all know the equation fame + money, usually equals no jail time and just larger fines. Conor will probably have to settle out of court with Chiesa and Borg for costing them a night’s work and injury, trauma, all those fun lawyer terms and at the end of the day maybe a $1M-$2M “investment” from McGregor will lead to the most anticipated fight in UFC history.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC Lightweight Champion after beating Iaquinta) vs. Conor McGregor (the former champ who didn’t lose his title in the Octagon) possibly in Russia, a massive fight with massive $$$ to be made thanks to Conor’s antics.
I think McGregor learned a lot from Mayweather and how to make money as the bad guy, Seems like a risky but financially sound business decision to me.
Moving on to this weekend, No. 5 lightweight contender Dustin Poirier vs. No. 6 Justin Gaethje battle in the main event on FOX on what could be a fight of the year type candidate. Poirier has four fights of the night and Gaethje is 2 for 2, meaning two UFC fights, two fight of the night.
Poirier -130 (William Hill)
Gaethje +125 (GC Technology)
Currently only two books have a line (William Hill and CG Technology) but more of your favorite books will have lines as the week goes along, as well as some of them offering a total.
Gaethje (18-1) is a bit of bulldog; he pursues his opponent with a bit of reckless abandon and has great offense at times. Defensively he’s a mess but takes a bunch of great shots to stop. He went toe-to-toe with Michael Johnson in his debut in a wild fight that was probably one of the Top 10 most entertaining fights I have ever seen. What it lacked in skills and defense the fight made up for with buckets of heart and will.
Gaethje, as mentioned, has two UFC fights against Johnson and former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez; he beat Johnson but lost to Alvarez. Poirier (22-5) has also fought both of those guys, losing to Johnson and fighting a no contest with Alvarez that should have been a DQ win for Poirier. My thoughts on this fight are simple, Poirier should try to win a decision, but I don’t think he has the ability or striking defense to implement that game plan.
Gaethje is going to work to maul the other guy like always. I don’t believe Poirier has enough firepower to win and although Poirier might win a round or two early on the cards, Gaethje eventually gets to him and gets the stoppage win. GAETHJE
Other fights on the card, exciting prospect Isreal Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori, fan favorite No. 12 ranked Welterweight Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira, No. 7 Women’s Strawweight Michelle Waterson vs. No. 10 ranked Cortney Casey.
The Scratch Sheets: ESPN created a new streaming app, ESPN Plus, and on June 9 will show the WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. You might remember Horn winning a decision over Manny Pacquiao in Australia on ESPN.
The ESPN Plus streaming app has a price tag of $4.99 a month, with the cancel at any time option, much like Netflix, Hulu and UFC Fight Pass. Sure beats the $64.99-$99.99 price tag, and to get to see Crawford fight is easily worth $5 people.