The first pay-per-view of 2021 is a big one with Conor McGregor returning against Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 257. Cageside Press has its picks set.

Staff Writer
Rodriguez vs. Ribas
Eye vs. Calderwood
Hooker vs. Chandler
McGregor vs. Poirier
Dan Doherty (7-4)
Mike McClory (6-5)
Jay Anderson (5-6)
Dylan Bowker (5-6)
Justin Gibbons (5-6)
Josh Evanoff (5-6)
Gabriel Gonzalez (5-6)
Ryan Fortune (5-6)
Doug Murray (5-6)
Heath Harshman (5-6)
Jason Payne (4-7)
Eddie Law (3-8)
Joe McDonagh (3-8)

The main event of UFC 257 is a rematch six years in the making as Conor McGregor returns to the cage against Dustin Poirier. McGregor knocked out Poirier in the first round of their matchup at UFC 178 in 2014. Both men have held the lightweight title since then, but in recent years, Poirier has been more active. Since 2018, McGregor is 1-0 with a knockout over Donald Cerrone, while Poirier is 4-1 with wins over Max Holloway and Justin Gaethje. McGregor was picked by nine of 13 writers.

The co-main event features the highly-anticipated UFC debut of Michael Chandler, who had dominated the Bellator lightweight division for many years. Welcoming him to the promotion is Dan Hooker, who has emerged as one of the top 155ers in the world since moving up from featherweight in 2017. Hooker was slightly favored, with seven picks to Chandler’s six.

Flyweight contenders Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood cross paths at UFC 257. Calderwood was in position to get a title shot, but fell to Jennifer Maia in a short-notice fight, her second loss in her past three fights. For Eye, she could certainly use a win as she is 1-1 following her title fight loss against Valentina Shevchenko. All but one writer picked Calderwood.

Amanda Ribas and Marina Rodriguez open up the UFC 257 main card. Ribas is off to a great start to her UFC tenure, going 4-0 with a pair of submissions. Rodriguez has an odd record of 2-1-2 in the Octagon and is coming off a controversial decision loss to Carla Esparza. Ribas was unanimously picked.

Due to its late addition to the main card following Ottman Azaitar’s removal from the event, Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov was not picked.


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