Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier step into the Octagon on Saturday night (Picture: Getty Images)

Ladies and Gentlemen, ittttssssss tiiiimmmmmeeee! *read in Bruce Buffer’s voice* UFC 242 is tonight, live from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. For those keeping score, this writer is 3-2 in picks so far while writing for Vendetta Sports Media. So with that being said, lets keep it brief and get into my preview and picks for the fights tonight.

Mairbek Taisumov x Diego Ferrerira (Lightweight)

Mairbek Tiasumov and Diego Ferrerira get things kicked off on the main card in the Lightweight Division. Taisumov, a 5 year UFC veteran, is looking to ride his power (5 of his 6 wins on this streak by KO/TKO), and this wave of momentum to force his way into the top-15 rankings. Standing across the cage from him is Diego Ferrerira, winner of 4 in a row and has a fight against current interim champ Dustin Poirier, who also is looking to claw his way back into the rankings. Both men love to stand and trade, and I don’t think this fight sees the judges. Tiasumov- 2nd Round TKO

Curtis Blaydes x Shamil Abdurakhimov (Heavyweight)

Do I love me a good Heavyweight tilt, and this has all the potential to live up to the hype. Curtis Blaydes and Shamil Abdurakhimov are going to battle, and someones streak has to come to an end. Blaydes, winner of 5 of his last 6, is coming off a fairly one sided victory over Justin Willis back in March of this year. A man who loves to let his hands fly and lay it all out, and he has a perfect dance partner in Abdurakhimov. “Abrek” is riding a 3 fight win streak and riding the hot hand after a 2nd round finish of Marcin Tybura in April. These men don’t see the mat often, unless it is to go after a downed opponent. Heavyweights either steal the show, or put on slumber parties. Seeing that I am a betting man, I am not betting on the latter. Expect the younger man with the stronger chin to go over here. Curtis Blaydes- 2nd Round KO

Islam Makhachev x Davi Ramos (Lightweight)

This one intrigues me. Islam Makhachev vs Davi Ramos on paper pits two grapplers together. Both men score 3+ takedowns per fight, and have fairly high takedown percentages, (4.33 per fight, 86% for Islam, 3.3 per fight, 58% for Ramos). Typically, this means us as a fan take the time to go to the bathroom, maybe go grab a drink or some more food. And thats fair, but occasionally grapplers will let the hands fly and produce fireworks. However, I do not see that being the case here. Baby Khabib goes over here with dominant wrestling and ground control. UFC 242 should be a coming out party for Makachev. Islam Makhachev- Unanimous Decision Bold Take- Final is 30-25 X3

Edson Barboza x Paul Felder (Lightweight)

UFC 242 seems to be like a Lightweight Grand Prix, doesn’t it? Personally, I love this fight. This might be the one I am looking forward to the most on this card, and I am a massive Khabib Fan. Maybe I am just an AKA fan…anyway. Barboza and Felder square off again in Abu Dhabi, their first fight taking place way back in 2015 with Barboza going over Felder by UD. Since that time, both men have enjoyed much success in the UFC. I love Felder, Roufusport in Milwaukee and all they have going for them. But I think the creative striking and leg kicks from Barboza are too much for Felder again, hopefully, this time without a brutal, accidental low blow, (go watch at your own risk). Barboza- Unanimous Decision

Khabib Nurmagomedov x Dustin Poirier (Lightweight Championship)

Wrestler versus Striker? 27-0 against 4 fight win streak against 4 former champions? Good. Lord. This fight has everything you could want in a fight. Khabib typically is known for being just an elite wrestler, but he showed in his last fight 11 months ago against Conor McGregor that he does has power in those hands. A man fighting him will need elite wrestling defense and a good chin. Enter Dustin Poirier. 69% takedown defense is nothing to sneeze at. He has shown in his last few fights the ability to stuff the takedown, and he will be tested tonight for sure. It is always hard to predict these kind of fights because normally the wrestler gets the better but doesn’t have the best strike defense. In my heart, I would love to see Louisiana get another world champion in the UFC, but I think Khabib, fighting in front of his fans, mixed with his all world wrestling is too much and grinds out a gritty performance against Dustin Poirier. Nurmagomedov- Unanimous Decision

UFC 242 stands to be one of the better cards of the year, hosting some very recognizable names in the sport live from Abu Dhabi. Check back in to see how I did!

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