Kicking off the UFC 257 main card is a bout in the womens strawweight division between Marina Rodriguez (12-1-2 MMA, 2-1-2 UFC) and Amanda Ribas (10-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
Rodriguez, 33, signed to the UFC in 2018 through Dana White’s Contender Series after knocking her opponent out in the first round. Since then, all of her fights have gone to the judges scorecards. Going 2-1 with two draws during her time with the promotion, she has shown a tendency to struggle most against grapplers.
Ribas, 27, has been on fire since joining the UFC in 2019. Going 4-0 with two of her wins coming by way of submission, she has proven that she’s looking to finish her fights. She holds a win in the UFC over one of the most decorated women’s jiu-jitsu competitors of all-time, Mackenzie Dern.
Ribas via Submission (Round 2) | Odds: Rodriguez (+260), Ribas (-330)
Andrew Sanchez (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Makhmud Muradov (24-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Sanchez, 32, is The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 winner. He is a complete well-rounded fighter with a wrestling based mixed martial arts style. Sanchez is coming off a huge first-round knockout victory over talented prospect, Wellington Turman.
Muradov, 30, is undefeated since joining the UFC in 2019. While currently being on a two-fight winning streak in the UFC, altogether he has won 13 consecutive fights. With nine of his 13 consecutive wins ending in knockout, Muradov is a striker through and through. In his last fight, he earned himself a highlight reel knockout over Trevor Smith in the third round. He holds a 1″ height, and 1.5″ reach advantage going into this fight.
Prediction: Muradov via Decision | Odds: Sanchez (+125), Muradov (-150)
Jessica Eye (15-8 MMA, 5-7 UFC) vs. Joanne Calderwood (14-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC).
Eye, 34, is 1-2 in her last three fights. She has good all around mixed martial arts skills, however in most of her fights she looks to keep it standing. Of Eye’s five UFC victories, she has one by stoppage which was against Leslie Smith at UFC 180: Werdum vs. Hunt. In her last fight, she lost to Cynthia Calvillo by unanimous decision. She will hold a 0.5″ reach advantage over Calderwood.
Calderwood, 35, is also 1-2 in her last three fights. With 5 wins by KO/TKO on her record, Calderwood is primarily a striker, however she has proven she can earn herself a submission victory as well, if the opportunity presents itself. In her last bout, she lost by first-round armbar submission to Jennifer Maia. Her 0.5″ reach deficit shouldn’t be a factor in this fight. In fact, she may even appear to be the bigger fighter when the two get in the octagon.
Prediction: Calderwood via Decision | Odds: Eye (+100), Calderwood (-120)
Dan Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) vs. Michael Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
The co main event is a lightweight bout with huge title implications on the line.
Hooker, 30, is a striker through and through. Despite losing his last fight by decision to half of UFC 257’s main event, Dustin Poirier, Hooker is 7-2 in his last nine UFC bouts. Four of those wins coming by way of KO/TKO, and one coming by way of guillotine choke submission. Hooker will hold a 4″ height and reach advantage.
Chandler, 34, will be making his UFC debut against Hooker. He is coming off a first-round knockout victory over former UFC lightweight champ, Benson Henderson at Bellator 243. Chandler is 9-2 in his last 11 fights, with four of those wins coming by way of KO/TKO, and two coming by way of submission. Chandler is your classic boxer-wrestler style of fighter. He brings power in every technique he throws whether it be shooting for takedowns or throwing punches, kicks, and elbows.
Prediction: Hooker via Decision | Odds: Hooker (-140), Chandler (+120)
Dustin Poirier (26-6 MMA, 18-5 UFC vs. Conor McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC)
The main event is the rematch that is six years in the making.
Poirier, 32, lost to McGregor by first round KO/TKO back in 2013. Since then, he has gone on to become interim lightweight champ, and he is currently the no. 2 ranked lightweight according to the UFC’s official rankings. With 18 of his 26 wins coming by way of a finish, Poirier has 11 KO/TKO’s and 7 submissions on his record. While he does have seven submissions on his record, at this point in his career he usually looks to keep his fights standing. One X-factor in this match up however is the amount of damage Poirier has absorbed throughout his career in comparison to his opponent, McGregor. Poirier has shown some of his best work against arguably the top three strikers the lightweight division has to offer.
McGregor, 32, is coming off a 40-second knockout over Donald Cerrone that took place last January at UFC 246. Being the UFC’s first-ever simultaneous two-division champion, McGregor has proven himself time and time again inside the octagon. His striking skills have been well documented as some of the best the sport has ever seen. With an above elite level of striking skills, McGregor brings an array of flashy kicks to the table as well, which all help to set up his famous left hand shot that so many fighters have succumbed to before. He has won 19 times by KO/TKO. He will also hold a 2″ reach advantage going into this fight, however it shouldn’t play too much of a factor due to Poirier’s high level of boxing skills as well. The X-factor for McGregor is going to be the confidence that he KO’d Poirier before, and that he will likely have a significant power advantage as he usually does in all of his fights.
Prediction: McGregor via KO/TKO (Round 3) | Odds: Poirier (+250), McGregor (-310)