Holloway v Poirier Betting Tips
It’s fair to say that the UFC Lightweight division is a mess at the moment. With the undisputed champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, out suspended after his post-fight fracas with Conor McGregor’s team at UFC 229, and the former interim champ Tony Ferguson away dealing with personal issues of his own, Max Holloway will step up a weight class to complicate things even more.
Holloway is on one of the hottest streaks of any fighter in the UFC, having gone 13 fights without a loss. He hasn’t exactly been facing cans, either: during the course of his last eight fights he’s taken out former champ José Aldo twice, submitted tough veteran Cub Swanson, taken a decision against Jeremy Stephens and beaten top contender Charles Oliveira.
His most recent fight, however, is by far his most impressive to date. He took on Brian Ortega at UFC 231 in December and turned what many thought would be his toughest contest to date into a one-sided beating. At one point in the fight, Holloway was so far ahead that he provided some on-the-spot coaching to his opponent in the centre of the Octagon.
His victory against Ortega, as well as his double-win over José Aldo, means that Holloway is a big favourite going into UFC 236, and odds on him winning the fight currently stand at around 4/10. In Dustin Poirier, however, Holloway may face his toughest test yet.
A UFC title has eluded him so far, but Dustin Poirier has demonstrated that he has everything it takes to be a champion, and he has beaten some of the division’s best fighters on his way to this interim title fight.
Poirier’s last three fights alone are enough to warrant a shot at the Lightweight belt: he took out two of the toughest fighters in the UFC in Eddie Alvarez (who has since departed to fight in Singapore’s ONE FC) and Justin Gaethje, both of those after a submission victory of former champ Anthony Pettis. He has earned bonuses in four of his last five fights and is currently the #3 contender in the division, behind Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor.
There’s no doubt that Dustin Poirier is tough enough to hang with Max Holloway for a full five rounds, but it remains to be seen whether he can match the relentless pace that the Featherweight champ pushes in his fights. Poirier has beaten Holloway once before, in 2012 at UFC 143, but the Max Holloway of seven years ago is not the same fighter of today, as he’s keen to point out whenever Conor McGregor reminds him of how their last fight went (McGregor beat Holloway in 2013).
When it comes to the extra 10 pounds of weight that Holloway will be carrying, it might not have a tremendous impact on his cardio, considering the huge amount of weight that he normally has to cut for his Featherweight fights. His cut this time might just be punishing instead of potentially deadly, and it might mean that the Max Holloway going into UFC 236 is the happiest, healthiest version of him you’ll have seen for a while. If that’s the case, his position as the bookies’ favourite will be justified.
Other UFC 236 Betting Tips
There are five main card fights set to take place on Saturday, including the main event, as well as a number of preliminary fights. Take a look at Sports.net’s previews and betting tips for the other high-profile fights on the card below
- Kelvin Gastelum v Israel Adesanya
There’s another interim title on the line at UFC 236, as Kelvin Gastelum takes on flashy kickboxer Israel Adesanya in the Middleweight division. Both fighters go into the event with recent victories over former champions – Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva respectively – yet Adesanya’s perfect 16-0 record, as well as his inventive, flamboyant striking, means he is the big favourite to win.
It might be that Kelvin Gastelum is being overlooked, though, as although his record isn’t unblemished like his opponent’s, it does show a fighter that has the potential to finish any fight. His knockout of Michael Bisping was scary considering how tough the former Middleweight champion was and how difficult his other opponents found it to finish him. Gastelum has quick hands and a strong wrestling background, and it’s surprising to see him as such an underdog – this could be the biggest “upset” of the night.
- Eryk Anders v Khalil Rountree Jr
Khalil Rountree Jr’s stock rose significantly following his knockout of kickboxing veteran Gökhan Saki at UFC 226 in July last year, but his momentum stalled when he lost to rising star Johnny Walker in devastating fashion in November. Rountree will attempt to get back on track against former college footballer Eryk Anders this weekend, and although he goes into the event as the underdog, it has the makings of a great fight.
Johnny Walker’s size and strength were a big problem for Rountree, but Anders comes in as a natural Middleweight moving up a division, so size won’t be as much of a factor this time. Anders got off to a flying start in professional MMA, going 10-0, including two wins in the UFC, but he’s lost three of his last four.
One of those, however, was against Light Heavyweight title contender Thiago Santos, a fight that Anders took on just six days notice. Despite the lack of preparation, Anders ran Santos closer than most other fighters have been able to. After 15 minutes of combat, and after taking Santos’ biggest shots, Anders was exhausted. He struggled to make it to his stool between rounds, and the referee waved the fight off. If he’d trained through a full camp, who knows how close it would have been? With the same determination he showed in that fight, and with a proven ability to take big shots and keep going, Anders is favourite for his bout against Rountree for a reason.
Top UFC Betting Tip
His eye-catching style and tremendous talent mean that Israel Adesanya has attracted a lot of attention during his UFC run so far, and he has drawn comparisons to the man he most recently beat, former Middleweight champion and future UFC hall-of-famer Anderson Silva. While the plaudits are certainly warranted, it means that Kelvin Gastelum goes into his fight against Adesanya as an underdog, despite strong recent performances.
There are perhaps only two other Middleweight fights that Gastelum would currently go into as the underdog – against Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero – both of whom would be the deserved favourites against him, so this fight is the best chance to back him at a good price with a decent shot of winning.