Conor McGregor (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)An Argument For the Underdog: Dustin Poirier VS. Conor McGregor Michael Davis September 25, 2014 Events, Spotlight UFC 178 is an unusual card in that it has a few fights that are more anticipated than the main event. One such fight is the bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. As with any other fight card there will be a lot of spectators that have money on the line. There are different gambling strategies which increase the odds of making money off of the sport. One basic way to make a profit is by identifying a quality underdog. Generally speaking, the odds are usually about right, but on Saturday night it’s very possible that the favorite McGregor will find his first defeat since signing with the UFC. One culprit that tends to send the odds pickers lines into obscure domains is hype. If you take the hype behind McGregor out of the picture things become much clearer. Conor McGregor has been on a tear both in the cage and out over the past couple years. The only other fighter that can hold a candle to McGregor’s ability to generate publicity is the one and only Chael Sonnen. When he isn’t talking he is often backing up his words with great performances and is showing signs of improvement every time he steps inside the cage. His overall professional record is 15-2-0 and he hasn’t suffered a defeat since 2010. Since joining the elite ranks in the UFC, McGregor has collected 3 victories over notable opponents Marcus Brimage, Max Holloway, and Diego Brandao. In two of his 3 UFC bouts he has defeated his opponent by 1st round knockout and in the bout that went to a decision, he suffered a knee injury that most would not have been able to fight through. With his ability to talk eclipsing his ability to fight, he has generated more hype than may be deserved though. According to Betus.com, McGregor is a -280 favorite which is pretty steep when you consider who will be standing across the cage from him on Saturday night. McGregor’s opponent at UFC 178, Dustin Poirier (+210 underdog betus.com), is a seasoned featherweight in the UFC division. He has found his way in and out of contender-ship over the years, but he always puts on a great fight. If you are only looking at the numbers Poirier’s record is quite similar to McGregor’s at 16-3-0. The difference is in the quality of opposition that Poirier has faced. Poirier will be stepping into the UFC’s famed Octagon for the 11th time when he faces McGregor and prior to signing with the UFC he had 2 fights with the now defunct, but previously elite WEC. The comparison between the fighters that Poirier has fought versus the fighters that McGregor has fought isn’t a comparison at all. The experience of Poirier is only one reason why he is a great underdog for a gambler to roll the dice on. When comparing the two fighters’ strengths and weaknesses on paper, Poirier looks to be in a favorable position. Let’s first look at how McGregor wins. In his 15 victories, 13 have come by way of knockout or technical knockout and he has only 1 submission and 1 decision. That is a very impressive record and there is no denying that McGregor is a finisher with heavy hands that can drop anybody. When it comes to his defeats, both have come by way of submission. Though his last loss was nearly 4 years ago, it can’t be denied that his weakest area is his submission game. Poirier, on the other hand, has accumulated his victories in a more balanced way while still maintaining a record that proves he is a closer. In his 16 victories he has 7 knockouts or technical knockouts, 6 submissions, and 3 decisions. Poirier’s defeats include two decisions and 1 submission which was applied by proven submission expert, the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung. With a quick analysis of the data it’s easy to determine that Conor will be looking for the knockout if he plans on remaining undefeated in the UFC and Poirier has more tools at his disposal to win this fight. That is why Dustin Poirier is a quality underdog for a bettor to pick. Ultimately, it’s always a gamble when you’re betting and especially in the sport of MMA where anything can happen. There is only one way to find out if McGregor’s hype train will get derailed by the seasoned vet Dustin Poirier and that’s by tuning into the pay-per-view come Saturday night. Good luck to all the bettors and enjoy the fights!