The UFC heads to Abu Dhabi this weekend for the eagerly anticipated UFC 242 card. The card features a few excellent Lightweight fights, with Khabib and Dustin Poirier battling it out for the title. We’ll break down each of the top fights on this card, providing our best bets in the process.
‘The Eagle’ is considered by most to be one of the best active MMA fighters, sporting an excellent 27-0 career record. He joined the UFC in early 2012 and has won all of his 11 fights since, including 3 by submission. His last win was one of his most impressive, dominating Conor McGregor before submitting him in the 4th round. Known for his elite wrestling, few fighters have the ability to control fights like he does.
The American veteran is one of Khabib’s toughest opponents to date, sporting a strong 25-5-1 career record of his own. His decision win over Max Holloway last time out was particularly impressive, earning him the interim title. Having also beaten Alvarez, Gaethje, and Pettis within the last 2 years, it’s clear he can battle against the best. An elite striker for this division, 12 of his wins have come via knockout.
Prediction: Khabib to Win
While Poirier has looked very impressive of late, it’s tough to oppose Khabib against anyone in this division. He has a strong case as the greatest Lightweight of all time, which he can cement further in this clash. His wrestling ability and dominant ground game is unmatched in this division and I think he proves too much for Poirier. If the straight moneyline doesn’t appeal, Khabib by KO/Submission at $1.95 looks very tasty indeed.
One of the most feared competitors in the Lightweight division, Barboza enters this bout sporting a 20-7 career record. He has lost 3 of his last 4 fights, admittedly to tough competition in the form of Khabib, Kevin Lee, and Justin Gaethje. Known primarily for his elite kicking ability, 12 of his 20 career wins have come by knockout.
Now at age 35, the American veteran has a very solid 16-4 career record. Despite being just 6-4 in the UFC, he does have solid wins over James Vick, Charles Oliveira, and Stevie Ray. His game is also primarily based on elite striking ability, with 15 of his wins coming by either knockout or decision.
Prediction: Barboza to win
Despite his recent poor form, I give the definite edge to Barboza in this matchup. I think he has a noticeable speed and athleticism advantage over Felder and should outclass him in a striking battle. His leg kicks will be particularly punishing, giving him a movement advantage and making him very solid value at $1.65.
This rising Russian fighter has been in excellent form of late, entering this bout with a 17-1 career record. He has won each of his last 5 UFC fights, earning Fight of the Night honours in April this year. He is known primarily for his ability on the ground, earning an impressive 7 submission victories to date.
Without great pedigree in the UFC, Ramos is one of the lesser known fighters on this card. He is 10-2 for his MMA career, going 4-1 since joining the UFC in 2017. 3 of his 4 UFC wins have come via submission and I expect him to take this to the ground wherever possible.
Prediction: Makhachev to Win
While both of these fighters are very strong on the ground, I think Makhachev is the much more well-rounded of the two. He is a significant step up in opponent quality for Ramos and has a strong technical advantage here. Combine his elite wrestling ability with a stellar striking game and I’d be surprised if we see an upset in this one.