Here comes “The Ching.” MMA prepares to brandish its equivalent to boxing’s Floyd “Money” Mayweather on Saturday, Jan. 23 as Conor “Cha Ching” McGregor graces an online sportsbook, app and tablet near you. UFC 257 odds have been posted for weeks, with DraftKings Sportsbook initially installing McGregor at -235 in his main event fight against Dustin Poirier, who was first set at +185.
Sportsbook offers for UFC 257
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UFC 257 odds
A glance at UFC 257 odds from DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Conor McGregor -305 vs. Dustin Poirier +250
- Joanne Calderwood -117 vs. Jessica Eye -105
- Dan Hooker -125 vs. Michael Chandler +100
- Khalil Roundtree -335 vs. Marcin Prachnio +250
- Amanda Ribas -335 vs. Marina Rodriguez +250
- Brad Tavares -150 vs. Carlos Antonio Junior +120
- Ottman Azaitar -155 vs. Matt Frevola +125
- Shane Burgos -177 vs. Hakeem Dawodu +140
McGregor vs. Poirier wagering observations
This will be McGregor’s first fight since last January, a 40-second TKO victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Fight Island was named in late December as the site, but McGregor’s backers don’t care if it is Fight Island, Fantasy Island or Gilligan’s Island. He’s in, so they’re in.
It hardly matters that McGregor is the 12th-ranked pound-for-pound UFC fighter and that Poirier is seventh.
Other numbers speak louder.
McGregor is the biggest pay-per-view draw in MMA history, having headlined five out of the six highest-selling UFC pay-per-view events. His headline bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018 drew 2.4 million PPV buys, the most ever for an MMA event. It generated approximately $180 million.
His boxing match with Mayweather drew 4.3 million PPV buys in North America, the second most in history.
These days, buys often become bets.
When McGregor fought Mayweather in 2017, PASPA was still several months away from being overturned by the Supreme Court.
But the event still resonates with Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings. Amid an electrified Las Vegas, Avello got a call from Steve Wynn, whose book he was operating at that time.
“I’ll never forget that McGregor versus Mayweather fight as long as I live,” Avello told TheLines. “We were taking a ton of action on that fight, more than I can comprehend, but the fight was sponsored by the MGM and they weren’t sharing it with anybody else on the Strip. We couldn’t show it to our customers, that’s just how things were.
“Steve Wynn calls me up and says ‘Johnny, I want to show that fight in the sportsbook.’ I told him we had no shot, MGM wasn’t going to share it, etc., but he tells me to hold tight. Well, Steve is important with a lot of people and he calls me back 20 minutes later and says we can show the fight.
“The next thing you know, we are opening more tables and chairs than you can believe, as fast as we can go, and we end up showing that fight to our customers. What an exciting night and what an exciting fight. There is no doubt McGregor is magic.”
Much has changed since McGregor – Poirier I
McGregor has reached the stage where his cameos have epic ramifications. His events are treated as lucrative sideshows, almost holidays, in the UFC spectrum.
Bettors don’t worry about multi-fight agreements or whether a particular match will unfold (although a rematch with recently-retired Khabib – who defeated McGregor in 2018 – would be seismic). They are simply happy he appears.
“The betting public has a lot of appreciation for guys like McGregor, Cowboy Cerrone and Poirier,” Avello said. “Look, for this fight, +185 is a good price on Poirier, a guy who can possibly win the fight.”
Both combatants made significant strides since their first encounter in 2014, a fight in which McGregor was victorious. That was at UFC 178 in September 2014. McGregor caught Poirier with a left hand in the first round and followed up with a series of shots that led to a first-round TKO.
It was a big win for someone who wasn’t THAT Conor McGregor yet.
Stature arrived as he won the featherweight championship over Chad Mendes in 2015 and the lightweight title in 2016 with a stunning TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez to become the first simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history.
And then came the 2017 blockbuster with Mayweather, which forever transformed him. A McGregor fight is roughly an annual event now. And the pay is often astronomical.
Poirier doesn’t sport the same financial clout but also made good work of the last several years.
He has come a long way since the early stoppage loss to McGregor. The route to a title fight featured an 8-1-1 run, including a nice high-profile victory against Justin Gaethje.
Finally, in 2019, Poirier decisioned Max Holloway to garner the interim lightweight championship. But the thrill was short-lived. Later that year, he was submitted by Nurmagomedov, who was en route to becoming the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter.
The fortunes for underdogs seem to run in streaks for the UFC. Last May, in the circuit’s return, the dogs won the first four main events. Then came a run of favorites and a rare UFC 256 draw between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno just occurred. It was only the fourth draw in UFC championship history. Draws pay in the neighborhood of 50-1.
UFC 257 odds: Betting angles for McGregor vs. Poirier
“On the McGregor side, you still have time and you are probably going to wait for a better price, especially if you are making a large bet,” Avello said. “We didn’t put the prop bets up right away, but they will be there in advance of the fight. There will be plenty of ways to bet it.”
While social media accompanies a fighter’s high profile, Avello also credits their long-time work ethic.
“All of these top starts have built their legacy,” he said, “because they are winners. When you watch them, and you realize how hard they train and how little they make in some fights coming up, they deserve all the money they can make. They are worth all the hype.”
McGregor heads the hype train and his stature will anchor the event.
There will be undercard bouts announced in January. As usual, the bill should be loaded with several bettable bouts. Flyweights Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood were announced as the co-main and UFC 257 odds for their fight have been posted at most major books.
There will be some good pre-fight talk, and a focus here about how the main-event fighters have come to this point. There will be talk about Poirier and McGregor each having a win over Holloway, suggesting parity here.
But the biggest talk will concern the meal ticket of this event and it will stir the gambling pot.
Conor Cha Ching will ring in 2021.