By News Team
8th July 2021
UFC’s biggest star is ready to run it back for a third time as Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon in early hours of Sunday to face Dustin Poirier in an epic trilogy at a packed-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
We preview the main event and co-main below.
Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor III
After Dustin Poirier levelled the score in January by finishing Conor McGregor within two rounds at UFC 257 – avenging his prior loss to the former two-weight world champion – you just knew a third bout was in the offing, and here we are.
Both fighters have enjoyed success throughout their careers, with Poirier winning the interim lightweight title at UFC 236, while McGregor was the outright lightweight champion following a victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
Yet boasting six wins from seven fights, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier enters looking every bit the part of the best lightweight in the world, and he is the 4/5 favourite to win.
After an incredible march to the featherweight throne, Conor McGregor is just 3-3 from his last six fights and 1-2 since claiming the lightweight belt at Madison Square Garden to gain ‘Champ Champ’ status.
This will be the first time since 2016 that Conor McGregor has made two appearances in a year, and after admitting how difficult it was physically last time out – McGregor needs to make sure ring rust is not a factor again, but as always the Irishman will be raring to go, with him priced at EVS to win outright.
“The Notorious” usually has a reputation for setting the tempo from the first second, often flying out with a variety of kicks to force his opponent back to the cage before following up with his dirty boxing.
Just two of his professional MMA fights have gone the distance with both ending in victory for McGregor but it is no surprise to see Conor priced as big as 13/2 to have his hand raised via a decision, with him known for doing everything in his power to keep the final call away from the judges – you can find him at 11/8 to win via KO/TKO/DQ stoppage.
Get ready for a spectacle with both men desperate to win, who will be victorious? We’ll find out Sunday morning.
Gilbert Burns v Stephen Thompson
In a classic Jiu-jitsu versus Karate bout, welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson share the Octagon in the co-main event with both looking to make a case for another shot at the title.
Initially slated to challenge for the welterweight belt last summer, Burns finally had his first bite at the apple in February, coming out hot and putting champion Kamaru Usman in a vulnerable position before “The Nigerian Nightmare” was able to steady himself and secure a third-round stoppage win.
Burns had won six straight ahead of that contest and sees this weekend’s pairing as the chance to right his title wrongs, by solving the difficult riddle that is “Wonderboy.”
Thompson had two chances to wrest the welterweight title away from Tyron Woodley a few years ago and came away empty handed, before following his impressive win over Jorge Masvidal with a decision loss to Darren Till and a knockout defeat at the hands of Anthony Pettis that dropped him into contender purgatory.
However since then, the 38-year-old has claimed consecutive wins over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal to re-establish himself as a top contender for the title, with a win over Burns carrying the potential to move him closer to mounting another challenge.