To quote the inimitable Bruce Buffer; “it’s tiiiiimmmeeee” for another Conor McGregor fight week! The return of the Mac. The season of the unpredictable. The theater of the unknown. Ladies and gentlemen, the UFC’s first pay-per-view of the year 2021, and they’re giving us a loaded fight card for the ages. The main event features a rematch 6 years in the making between Irish superstar “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) and arguably the most exciting fighter in lightweight history, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (26-6-1 MMA, 18-5-1 UFC).
With title implications on the line, as well as bragging rights, both McGregor and Poirier are showing up focused, in tip-top shape, and determined to earn their respective rematches with undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0 MMA, 13-0 UFC). According to UFC president Dana White, Khabib stated that if either men want another crack against him, they better show up and show out.
Currently, the odds have Conor McGregor a -300 favorite with the comeback on Dustin Poirier at +250. These betting lines are drastically different from their first meeting where Poirier opened a -225 favorite. Eventually, McGregor’s massive backing flipped the line, and “The Notorious” closed around a -275 favorite at UFC 178: Johnson vs Cariaso in 2014.
Prior to the blockbuster main event, UFC fans are treated to yet another stacked card with former champions, rising contenders, undiscovered prospects and everything in between. UFC 257 will surely kick off the UFC’s 2021 pay-per-view cycle with a bang.
In this article, I will discuss two of my favorite parlay legs on the UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2 fight card. Please remember to always gamble legally and responsibly.
Khalil Rountree Jr. (-325)
I would normally never recommend laying chalk on the massively inconsistent Khalil Rountree (8-4-1 MMA, 4-4-1 UFC) under almost any circumstance. In most cases, Rountree would be considered a prohibitive favorite at a number like this. However, his opponent Marcin Prachnio (13-5 MMA, 0-3 UFC) appears to have zero business in the UFC. In fact, Prachnio has been knocked out in the first round in all 3 of his UFC appearances. The Polish fighter has not shown a single sign of improvement in his tenure with the big show which has lasted from 2018 to 2020.
Although Rountree has alternated wins and losses since 2017, one fact has remained the same. Khalil Rountree can strike and Khalil Rountree can knock people out. Ever since moving to Thailand, Rountree’s striking prowess reached a new level under the tutelage of the famed Tiger Muay Thai camp. In his bout versus Eryk Anders (13-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) at UFC 236: Holloway vs Poirier 2, Rountree’s gains were on full display as he landed 4 knockdowns throughout the 15 minute drubbing of the ultra-durable Anders.
The fighters that have historically given Rountree fits in the past have either massively outsized him like Johnny Walker (18-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC), taken the fight to the ground like Ion Cutelaba (15-6-1 MMA, 4-5 UFC), or out-paced Rountree like Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC). It appears on paper as though Marcin Prachnio can do none of the above. I expect Khalil Rountree to have a notable speed advantage in this matchup, and I see him handing Marcin Prachnio his 4th consecutive knockout loss in the UFC. Most likely in the first round. This seems like a decent spot to parlay Rountree, and I fully anticipate another violent finish.
Movsar Evloev (-515)
Russia’s Movsar Evloev (13-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is the biggest favorite on the UFC 257 fight card, and rightfully so. All due respect to the gritty veteran Nik Lentz (30-11-2-1 MMA, 14-8-1-1 UFC), but he’s simply outmatched in this fight. Many people, myself included, have referred to Movsar Evloev as “little Khabib” due to his relentless takedown ability and winning mindset.
It’s easy to look good when a fighter is always dominating, but how do they respond when adversity hits?
In Evloev’s bout versus credentialed wrestler Mike Grundy, the Russian was put in a deep choke which would have forced a tap from almost any other human on planet earth. In fact, none of us would have held it against Evloev if he “lived to fight another day” or went to sleep in the submission.
Evloev did neither.
Movsar Evloev stayed relaxed, created the tiniest of openings for air, escaped the submission attempt, and went on to dominate Grundy at UFC on ESPN: Whittaker vs Till in July 2020.
Fast forward to 2021, and Evloev is presented with the challenge of dismantling his first UFC veteran. Nik Lentz has been in the UFC since 2009 and is always a tough out, win, lose or draw. Lentz’ best attributes are his durability, D1 wrestling background, octagon experience, and nasty guillotine choke. This bout will not be a cakewalk for Evloev, and I fully expect the fight to go all 15 minutes. That being said, I also expect Evloev to dominate. The Russian’s pace, MMA wrestling, and will to win should prove to be too much for the battle-tested Lentz. Despite being the biggest favorite on the card, I still believe Evloev can make a nice addition to fight-week parlays, and in hindsight might even outperform his hefty price tag.