UFC 257 takes place Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The event features a lightweight rematch between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Here are the two best bets for the pay-per-view card.
McGregor is heavily favored in his return bout, currently sitting at -310. That line is far too wide considering the improvements Poirier has made since losing to the Irishman in 2014. But the odds get a lot more appealing if you take McGregor by knockout, TKO, or disqualification.
McGregor's fights rarely go the distance. Of his 12 Octagon appearances, only his rematch against Nate Diaz and his fight against Max Holloway made it to the final horn. "The Notorious" has scored eight knockout wins in the UFC - including the first Poirier fight - and he's lost by submission twice.
With that in mind, it's hard to see McGregor beating Poirier any other way than by knockout; even though this prop limits how McGregor can win, it's a smarter wager than betting him straight at a much heftier price.
Poirier has grown tremendously in the past seven years, but McGregor still has some significant technical advantages over the former interim champion. McGregor is one of the best strikers in the sport, and Poirier remains hittable. If Poirier engages McGregor the way he does most opponents, the former two-division titleholder will likely crack him with a hard left hand.
Poirier has proven durable in the past, but he's also been knocked out twice, and McGregor brings a different level of power to the table. Expect McGregor to put his opponent down for good midway through the contest.
Hooker is set to welcome Chandler, a former Bellator lightweight champion, to the Octagon in Saturday's co-main event.
The public appears to be on Chandler's side: Hooker opened as a -160 favorite but has been bet down to -125. If money keeps coming in on Chandler, the fight could even close as a pick 'em. But there's reason to be confident Hooker will get the job done Saturday, and these odds are too good to pass up.
Hooker had an up-and-down stint at featherweight, but he's evolved into an elite lightweight since moving up to the division in 2017. "The Hangman" is one of the most exciting fighters in the weight class, recording "Fight of the Year" candidates against Poirier and Paul Felder in 2020.
Hooker is massive for 155 pounds, standing 6-foot with a 75.5-inch reach. Chandler, meanwhile, is 5-foot-8 with a 70-inch reach. A devastating striker, Hooker should be able to consistently connect from the outside while Chandler struggles to close the distance and land his own offense.
It must always be remembered that Chandler has one-punch knockout power, but Hooker has an incredible chin. Even if Chandler does connect, don't be too worried about the New Zealander getting finished.
Hooker's other advantage is that he's fought the better competition. Chandler has been in the sport for over a decade, but it's tough to say just how good he actually is. "Iron" fought in Bellator from 2010 until his UFC signing in 2020, and though he did beat some high-level fighters such as Eddie Alvarez, Benson Henderson, and Patricky Freire, most of his wins came against athletes who wouldn't be top contenders in the UFC's lightweight division.
We know exactly how good Hooker is - he nearly finished Poirier when they met last summer - so it feels more comfortable siding with him. The 30-year-old's physical advantages will simply put Chandler in too many tough spots to win.
Here are the full odds from theScore Bet for UFC 257 on Jan. 23:
Early preliminary card