The UFC is helping bring the summer to a close with one of the most highly anticipated fight cards of 2019 in UFC 242, Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier, this Saturday, September 7th, from Abu Dhabi. The UFC returns to the Middle East for the first time since 2014, and the fight card kicks off at 9:15am CST, with the main card airing at 1:00pm. In the main event, interim Lightweight champion and Louisiana-native Dustin Poirier looks to accomplish what 27 professional fighters before him could not: defeat current champion Khabib Nurmogomedov. Follow along as we give the current betting odds for each of the 5 bouts on the main card of UFC 242, and our picks for how we see each fight going down.
Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira (15-2)
Odds as of 9/2/19: Carlos Diego Ferreira +220; Mairbek Taisumov -260
In the first matchup of the main card, Mairbek Taisumov takes on Carlos Diego Ferreira. This matchup features two fighters who both ride in on impressive win streaks; 4 for Ferreira and 6 for Taisumov. Ferreira last lost to Dustin Poirier in April of 2015, but he’s been in the win column ever since. Taisumov’s last Octagon appearance was a decision win over Desmond Green back in September of 2018. However, prior to that Taisumov hadn’t seen the third-round since 2014, with 5 wins by KO/TKO, 3 of which came in the first-round.
Our pick: Mairbek Taisumov, 2nd-round KO/TKO
Curtis Blaydes (11-2-0, 1NC) vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4)
Odds as of 9/2/19: Curtis Blaydes -450; Shamil Abdurakhimov +360
The next matchup has Curtis Blaydes going against Shamil Abdurakhimov. Blaydes enters as a heavy favorite, but Abdurakhimov brings a lot of experience into this fight. Abdurakhimov is on a 3 fight win streak, and he’s gone 5-1 in his last 6, with big wins over Walt Harris, Chase Sherman and Andrei Arlovski. Blaydes is coming off of a decision win over Justin Willis in March of this year. He’s 6-2-1 in his last 9, and he’s looked virtually unstoppable against everyone not named Francis Ngannou.
Our pick: Curtis Blaydes, decision
Islam Makhachev (17-1) vs. Davi Ramos (10-2)
Odds as of 9/2/19: Davi Ramos +275; Islam Makhachev -335
In the third matchup of the main card we will see Islam Makhachev take on Davi Ramos. Ramos is on a 4 fight win streak including 3 finishes. Ramos has finished 7 out of his 10 career victories by way of submission. Makhachev’s only defeat came in 2015, and he has won his next 5 leading up to this one.
Our pick: Islam Makhachev, decision
Edson Barboza (20-7) vs. Paul Felder (16-4)
Odds as of 9/2/19: Edson Barboza -160; Paul Felder +140
In the co-main event, Paul Felder faces Edson Barboza. The two squared off in 2015 with Barboza getting the edge by way of a unanimous decision. Since that fight, Barboza has gone 4 and 4, with losses to Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee, Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Felder, on the other hand, has gone 6-3 since their first matchup, gaining victories in 4 of his last 5 with big wins over Stevie Ray, Charles Oliveira and James Vick.
Our pick: Paul Felder, 1st-round KO/TKO
Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) vs. Dustin Poirier (25-5-0, 1NC)
Odds as of 9/2/19: Dustin Poirier +360; Khabib Nurmagomedov -450
In the main event, interim champion Dustin Poirier looks to unify the UFC Lightweight title by taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov in his second attempt at a title defense. At 27-0, the Dagestani combat sambo champion Nurmagomedov enters this fight a heavy favorite. He’s 11-0 in the UFC, with wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta and Conor McGregor. Poirier enters this fight on arguably the greatest win streak in UFC history, with stoppages over Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, and a stupendous unanimous decision victory over Max Holloway at UFC 236 to win the interim belt.
While Nurmagomedov’s hands have certainly improved as of late, it’s no secret that his wrestling and smothering ground-game are where the Dagestani usually makes his stand. That being said, Poirier is an accomplished wrestler and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt. Nurmagomedov hasn’t faced a black belt since dos Anjos back in 2014, and in his 11 Octagon appearances, Nurmagomedov has never faced a fighter as well-rounded as Poirier.
Our pick: Dustin Poirier, 4th-round KO/TKO
Safest pick: Islam Makhachev over Davi Ramos
Best chance for an upset: Paul Felder over Edson Barboza
Tell us what you think! Where do we have it right, and where do you think we got it wrong? Comment with your picks, and don’t forget to bookmark our page and check back often for more predictions and fight coverage. If you like what you see, go ahead and give our Facebook page a like and follow us on Instagram @mmatribune.