UFC 242 Predictions: Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier

UFC 242

UFC 242 is upon us. The event will be held inside du Arena in Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Sept. 7). Headlining the card will be a lightweight title unification bout between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim title holder Dustin Poirier. Taking the co-main event spot will be a 155-pound rematch between Edson Barboza and Paul Felder.

MMA News continues to keep you posted on the latest UFC 242 updates. Earlier today, we covered the weigh-ins, which you can see the results for here. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have once again linked up to provide main card predictions for UFC 242.

Take a look at the bouts set for the main card:

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) vs. Dustin Poirier (ic) – for undisputed lightweight title
  • Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
  • Mairbek Taisumov vs. Diego Ferreira 

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier

Fernando Quiles Jr.: It’s no secret that Nurmagomedov will look to take this one to the ground, while Poirier hopes to keep the fight standing. “The Diamond’s” takedown defense isn’t too shabby, but he does have a history of overcommitting which leaves him open to takedowns. He displayed this in his bout with Jim Miller. Poirier was able to thwart Eddie Alvarez’s wrestling, but those two were in a brawl and Nurmagomedov’s grappling is far superior. While Poirier has a chance, I think it’s a very slim one. (Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov)

Ed Carbajal: It’s hard to pick against Nurmagomedov here. He’s undefeated, trains regularly with former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier even though he’s fighting at 155, and even with the criticism about his striking, he is a dominant grappler. Even though Poirier is probably the best he’s ever been, he could have problems with Nurmagomedov. If somehow he can use is footwork and striking to nullify “The Eagle’s” grappling, he can win.  But others have tried making it hard not to go with Nurmagomedov. (Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov)

Andrew Ravens: This fight is pretty simple – Poirier must keep this fight on the feet. If he can do that then I would think that most would give the edge in the striking department against Khabib. However, in his last few fights, Khabib has shown his desire to show off his striking skills as the fight gets deeper in the rounds. Obviously, Khabib is going to want to take the fight to the ground and dominate the challenger. This is a huge problem for not only Poirier but for all of his opponents. I don’t see him stopping that and have Khabib winning by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Khabib Nurmagomedov

Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder

Fernando Quiles Jr.: While Barboza is on a skid, let’s not forget about what the man is capable of. Back in Dec. 2018 he battered Dan Hooker with some nasty kicks in a bout that should’ve been stopped far sooner. Barboza’s recent string of losses have been to Nurmagomedov, Kevin Lee, and Justin Gaethje. Those are high-level fighters. Felder has been on a roll as of late, but I think people have forgotten just how good Barboza is. I think he peppers Felder with kicks for three rounds to go 2-0 against “The Irish Dragon.” (Prediction: Edson Barboza)

Ed Carbajal: Barboza has gone 1-3 in his last four fights and two of those come by way of knockout. Felder has dealt with some injuries but is game fighter and is coming off a win. Sometimes, when fighters call fights as often as Felder has they become more cerebral in their own fights. Felder might be the fresher fighter in every sense of the word and even though he lost the first time around, that was four years ago and a lot has changed since then. He could pull off a win against Barboza. (Prediction: Paul Felder)

Andrew Ravens: Although Barboza took home a unanimous decision victory in their first fight, the two fighters have changed so much since then as Barboza is 1-3 in his last four fights while Felder has turned the tide and is 4-1 in his last five fights. I see Felder getting his revenge with a dominant performance and earning a unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Paul Felder)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Paul Felder

Islam Makhachev vs. Davi Ramos

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Makhachev’s grappling is high-level. One of the things he’s good at too is mixing things up on the feet to set up his entries. I doubt he has fear of Ramos’ ground game, but he won’t be too lax either. I think Makhachev gets the better of Ramos on the feet and controls him on the ground to avoid submissions. (Prediction: Islam Makhachev)

Ed Carbajal: Makhachev is a heavy favorite on this card and with good reason. He brings a high finish rate and is the younger side of this matchup. Ramos has a lot of wins by decision but going up against someone like Makhachev makes it hard to pick him. (Prediction: Islam Makhachev)

Andrew Ravens: Both guys are on a winning streak, which makes for a tough fight to predict. They bring such a dynamic style to the Octagon on Saturday night. Ramos is known to finish his fights by submission while Makhachev seems more well-rounded, which makes me think that he’s more dangerous and would have to give him the edge by first-round TKO. (Prediction: Islam Makhachev)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Islam Makhachev

Curtis Blaydes vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Abdurakhimov has been able to string together a three-fight winning streak following his sluggish TKO loss to Derrick Lewis back in Dec. 2016. I don’t see Blaydes having much of an issue getting Abdurakhimov to the ground. I think he’ll use his wrestling to set up some nasty ground-and-pound for the TKO win. (Prediction: Curtis Blaydes)

Ed Carbajal: Blaydes is the heavy favorite for this fight but oddsmakers may be going on name recognition alone. Abdurakhimov is coming off a three-fight win streak and touts nine wins by KO or TKO. Don’t be surprised if he pulls off an upset in Abu Dhabi. (Prediction: Shamil Abdurakhimov)

Andrew Ravens: Blaydes is still looking to gain his momentum although he’s coming off a dominant win over Justin Willis. Obviously, styles make fights and the styles that both men bring to the Octagon should make for one heck of a fight. While Abdurakhimov has been on a tear as of late, Blaydes seems to be in the top tier of the division and should score a second-round TKO win. (Prediction: Curtis Blaydes)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Curtis Blaydes

Maribek Taisumov vs. Diego Ferreira

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Taisumov is a head hunter, there’s no mistaking that. He’s nabbed 15 knockouts in his 27 wins as a pro. He even has nine submissions, but his standup will be key in this fight. Ferreira is always a threat on the ground with six submissions to his credit, but he hasn’t pulled off a submission win since June 2014. I think Ferreira could find a little bit of success early, but ultimately he’ll get cracked. (Prediction: Mairbek Taisumov)

Ed Carbajal: This fight opens up the card and for some reason, I don’t think it will see all three rounds. Both men are finishers and both are coming off win streaks that will end at UFC 242. Taisumov is the favorite here and with good reason, his high knockout rate means he can end the fight when they stand. While Ferreira can say the same for the fight going to the ground, they’ll be starting on their feet and that favors Taisumov. (Prediction: Mairbek Taisumov)

Andrew Ravens: Both fighters bring knockout power into this fight, which should make for some fun exchanges in the pocket and most likely someone going to sleep. Taisumov has won six straight fights with five coming by knockout while Ferreira has had four straight wins. I just like Taisumov here but think either guy has a knockout chance. (Prediction: Mairbek Taisumov)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Mairbek Taisumov

That’ll do it for the UFC 242 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 242.