UFC 257 start time: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier: Live stream, PPV price, fight card, prelims, TV. Here’s everything you need to know to catch the UFC 257 event on Saturday on Fight Island. After a successful comeback in January 2020, Conor McGregor had designs on fighting several times over the year. A global pandemic and financial disagreements with the UFC shut those plans down, but McGregor is now ready to make his return after a year out of the Octagon when he faces Dustin Poirier in the lightweight main event of UFC 257.
Poirier and McGregor met in 2014, with McGregor scoring a knockout in less than two minutes. The Irishman would go on to win the featherweight and lightweight championships while also retiring multiple times, entering the boxing ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and having several issues with the law. Poirier eventually made his own move to lightweight, finding the most success of his career and capturing the interim title in the division. All these years later, McGregor vs. Poirier feels like a fresh pairing.
Below is all the information you need to catch UFC 257 on Saturday night.
How to watch UFC 257 prelims
Date: Jan. 23 | Location: Etihad Arena — Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Channel: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
How to watch UFC 257 main card
Date: Jan. 23 | Location: Etihad Arena — Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+ | Price: $69.99
The pay-per-view set to open the UFC calendar for 2021 goes down on Saturday night with UFC 257 from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The sport’s biggest star heads back to the Octagon in the main event as Conor McGregor faces off with Dustin Poirier in a lightweight battle.
McGregor and Poirier met in a 2014 featherweight bout, with McGregor scoring a knockout victory in less than two minutes. Poirier is a different fighter than he was then, and McGregor has only fought at lightweight twice in the UFC. The UFC 257 clash also carries some extra weight as the lightweight division undergoes a major transformation in the wake of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s apparent retirement.
This card got even more interesting on Friday during the weigh ins. Ottman Azaitar, who was scheduled to face Matt Frevola, never made it to the scale and was pulled from the event for what was described as a violation of the safety protocols. Dana White later revealed that Azaitar and his team cut off their resort wristbands and gave them to people outside the bubble, who then snuck into Azaitar’s room to drop off a bag. Azaitar was promptly released by UFC.
As a result, Frevola will now take on Makhmud Muradov, who was originally scheduled to face Nasrat Haqparast, but Haqparasat was not medically cleared to weigh in by officials.
Let’s take a closer look at the complete fight card with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook before getting to our expert picks and predictions below.
UFC 257 fight card, odds
Conor McGregor -340 vs. Dustin Poirier +275, lightweights
Dan Hooker -140 vs. Michael Chandler +120, lightweights
Joanne Calderwood -120 vs. Jessica Eye +100, women’s flyweights
Amanda Ribas -330 vs. Marina Rodriguez +260, women’s strawweights
Makhmud Muradov -140 vs. Andrew Sanchez +120, middleweights
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Matt Frevola, lightweights
Brad Tavares -125 vs. Antonio Carlos Junior +105, middleweights
Sara McMann -130 vs. Julianna Pena +110, women’s bantamweights
Khalil Rountree -330 vs. Marcin Prachnio +260, light heavyweights
Movsar Evloev -575 vs. Nik Lentz +425, featherweights
Zhalgas Zhumagulov -110 vs. Amir Albazi -110, flyweights
UFC 257 picks, predictions
Campbell Brookhouse Coca Crosby Mormile
McGregor vs. Poirier McGregor Poirier McGregor McGregor McGregor
Hooker vs. Chandler Hooker Chandler Hooker Chandler Hooker
Calderwood vs. Eye Calderwood Calderwood Calderwood Eye Eye
Ribas vs. Rodriguez Ribas Ribas Ribas Ribas Ribas
Muradov vs. Sanchez Muradov Muradov Muradov Muradov Muradov
Campbell on why McGregor will win: The more things change, the more they still somewhat stay the same. Is Poirier the same fighter who was finished inside of one round by Poirier in 2014? No chance. He’s tougher, bigger, more experienced and not a threat to crumble mentally like he did in the face of McGregor’s mental warfare. But even though Poirier has a much better chance to win in the rematch, McGregor’s greatest strength is still a major threat to Poirier’s chin early in this fight. Few in history have had the combination of speed, power and precision in their striking game as McGregor. Look for him to work harder, absorb more damage but still come out with the same result.
Brookhouse on why Poirier will win: Poirier is not only a better fighter than he was in the first fight with McGregor, he’s also a smarter fighter. Fighting McGregor means surviving early flurries, and doing that requires a combination of toughness and smarts that Poirier possesses. McGregor has lost when he’s been pushed deeper into fights and had opponents meet his pace, wearing him down and creating openings. Poirier has the ability to do that. McGregor absolutely could show up and blast through Poirier, he really is that good, but Poirier also has the right combination of skills to pull off the upset.
Campbell on why Hooker will win: This fight has the potential to be an absolute war and given the stakes, there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t get there. The problem for Chandler is that he’s more vulnerable to heavy damage and is facing a bigger and more precise foe who is willing to swim in as deep of water as Chandler can drag him too. Provided Hooker can find a way to keep his back off the canvas for long stretches, this is his fight to win and Chandler will likely force Hooker to score a finish to do so.
Brookhouse on why Chandler will win: Hooker is a big, skilled striker and that has been Chandler’s undoing in the past. Much of this fight comes down to whether or not Chandler can mix up his striking and wrestling effectively enough to keep Hooker uncomfortable and ineffective. Hooker has very good takedown defense, but even the threat of getting taken down can make him hesitate to let his strikes go freely. If Chandler can control the pace and score some takedowns to keep Hooker from getting into a rhythm, he’s going to have a successful UFC debut.
Although UFC was able to rebound from the limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic and figure out of a way to keep business running as usual in 2020, one of the biggest regrets was how much the lack of a live gate seemed to derail Conor McGregor’s comeback plans.
McGregor (22-4) had opened the year with a bang by finishing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds at UFC 246 in January following a two-year layoff. The pay-per-view card was a monster success from a business standpoint and appeared to spark a rebirth in McGregor’s career after just one UFC appearance in three years.
But the 32-year-old McGregor never got the chance complete his first calendar year with three UFC fights since 2016 like he had hoped for. And considering the content of the private messages he released to the public last year during a public feud with UFC president Dana White, which showed McGregor pushing for a fight against a faded Diego Sanchez, it might be a blessing in disguise.