UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier

Preview and Predictions for UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier by Danny Rourke and Darell Garner 
This week the UFC heads to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier in a unification bout for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Due to the time differential with the United States, UFC 242 will be a a rare afternoon Pay Per View in the US on Saturday. The action begins with:
UFC Fight Pass       Early Prelims    10:15AM/ET       FX                             Prelims    12:00PM/ET     PPV                        Main Card      2:00PM/ET


UFC 242 Main Card Predictions

 
Mairbek Taisumov (-250) vs. Diego Ferreira (+210)
Mairbek “Beckan” Taisumov (27-5-0) meets Diego Ferreira (15-2-0) in a Lightweight contest.  Despite visa issues preventing him from competing in the United States, Mairbek Taisumov has been victorious in last six bouts, most recently defeating Desmond Green last year at UFC Moscow. Overall, Taisumov is 7-1 since signing with the UFC in 2014. Diego Ferreira has now won four in a row since losing to Interim Lightweight Champion Dustin Poirier in April 2015. Diego looked great in a Unanimous Decision win over Dagestan’s Rustam Khabilov at UFC Prague in February, and should be able crack the Lightweight divisional rankings if he can get past another tough Dagestani in Mairbek Taisumov. I think Diego Ferreira’s balanced attack will lead him to victory unless Taisumov’s heavy hands can find the sixteenth knockout of his career. However, Ferreira has only been finished once in 17 professional bouts. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Ferreira via Second Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Ferreira via Decision 


#4 Curtis Blaydes (-350) vs. #9 Shamil Abdurakhimov (+280)
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (11-2-0,1NC) plans to continue working his way into title contention as he takes on Shamil “Abrek”Abdurakhimov (20-4-0) in a battle between ranked Heavyweight contenders. Curtis Blaydes was able to rebound from his second loss to Francis Ngannou with a Unanimous Decision win over Justin Willis at UFC Nashville in March, improving his UFC record to 6-2-0, 1NC since joining the promotion three years ago. With wins against Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, and Aleksei Oleinik— Curtis Blaydes has proven his meddle and etched out a place for himself  in the UFC Heavyweight division. Shamil Abdurakhimov has quietly won three in a row (vs. Tybura, Arlovski, Sherman) and five of his last six to become the ninth ranked Heavyweight in the world. While this fight appears close on paper and Shamil Abdurakhimov is durable as hell, I don’t think this fight ends any other way than Curtis Blaydes getting his hand raised. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Blaydes via First Round KO
D’Bo’s Pick: Blaydes via Decision 


#15 Islam Makhachev (-290) vs. Davi Ramos (+245)
Islam Makhachev (17-1-0) takes on “The Tasmanian Devil” Davi Ramos (10–2-0) in an intriguing Lightweight matchup. After dropping a Unanimous Decision to Sergio Moraes in his promotional debut at Welterweight, Ramos is 4-0, with three  wins by Submission since moving down to 155 pounds. Islam Makhachev is 6-1 since joining the UFC in 2015, and is currently on a five fight win streak, earning a Unanimous Decision victory over Arman Tsarukyan at UFC St. Petersburg in his last Octagon appearance in April. Makhachev is close friends with Khabib Nurmagomedov, and you can expect that Islam will have the full support of the Abu Dhabi crowd. Ramos has never been finished in his pro career and Makhachev as the tendency to go the distance in his fights. I would say the clearest path to victory is a win by Decision for Makhachev, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Tasmanian Devil is able to slap on a fight ending Submission. This one should be fun. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Ramos via Second Round Submission 
D’Bo’s Pick: Makhachev via Decision 


#7 Edson Barboza (-175) vs. #10 Paul Felder (+155)
Edson Barboza (20-7-0) faces the “Irish Dragon” Paul Felder (16-4-0) in a rematch four years in the making. Paul Felder and Edson Barboza  first clashed at UFC on FOX 16 in July 2015 with Barboza coming away with a Unanimous Decision win in a close and competitive contest. Since his bout with Paul Felder, Barboza has gone 4-4 against  the “Who’s who” of the Lightweight division. Edson Barboza still remains one of the most entertaining fighters on the UFC, but following his KO loss to Justin Gaethje in March at UFC Philadelphia, Barboza has now lost three of his last four heading into the rematch with Felder. The Irish Dragon defeated James Vick by Unanimous Decision in his last bout at UFC Phoenix in February, and has won four of his last five, with the lone loss coming via Split Decision in a Welterweight contest against “Platinum” Mike Perry. While their recent records suggest that Barboza and Felder are headed opposite directions, I think this is anybody’s fight and is a certain Fight of the Night contender. 
Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Barboza via Second Round KO
D’Bo’s Pick: Felder via Decision 


MAIN EVENT— UFC Lightweight Championship
{C} Khabib Nurmagomedov (-425) vs. #1 Dustin Poirier (+340)
In the UFC 242 Main Event, “The Eagle” Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0-0) takes on Dustin “the Diamond” Poirier (25-5-0,1NC) in unification bout for the UFC Lightweight Championship. With Khabib unable to compete during the months of Ramadan, Dustin Poirier was able to capitalize on his opportunity to became world champion, albeit an Interim Champion, by defeating Max Holloway in an instant classic at UFC 236 in April. Poirier took the fight to Holloway, busting him up en route to earning a Unanimous Decision win. Poirier is 5-0,1NC over his last six bouts highlighted by finishes of Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, and Eddie Alvarez, in addition to his win over Holloway. That’s a tough cast of characters right there! Khabib is 11-0 since joining the UFC in 2012, and proved to the world that he is a deserved champion with his Fourth Round Submission of  Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last October. Khabib’s bout fight with Poirier, and a potential future clash with Tony Ferguson will determine Khabib’s place in UFC history. If Khabib beats Poirier and Ferguson, he will retire undefeated, and undoubtedly be considered to be one of the greatest of all time, regardless of weight class. With Eddie Alvarez’s lack of success in utilizing his wrestling to hamper Poirier, Khabib will have to be at the top of his game for the entirety of the fight to come away with a win against Poirier. It is Champ vs. Champ in one of the most anticipated fights of the year! I am excited to see how this one plays out, and I am leaning towards Poirier to pull off the upset in Abu Dhabi. 

Danny’s Crystal Ball Prediction

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: Poirier via Decision 
D’Bo’s Pick: Poirier via Third Round TKO

Next week the UFC heads up to Vancouver, Canada for UFC on ESPN+16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje. Share your thoughts and picks with us in the Comments section below and enjoy the fights!!

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