Dustin Poirier (surprisingly?) opens as betting underdog for UFC 299 fight vs. Benoit Saint-Denis

Dustin Poirier is significantly higher ranked than Benoit Saint-Denis, but the oddsmakers see “The Diamond” having his hands full at UFC 299 – so much so, in fact, that he’s opened as a slight betting underdog.

Poirier, No. 4 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie lightweight rankings, and No. 13 Saint-Denis are scheduled to meet in a five-round co-main event March 9 at Keysa Center in Miami.

According to DraftKings, Poirier (29-8 MMA, 21-7 UFC) has opened as a +124 underdog, with Saint-Denis (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) coming back as a -148 favorite. This means a $100 bet on Poirier would yield a payout of $124; a bettor would have to wager $148 on Saint-Denis to win $100. It’s an interesting opening line given both fighters’ experience and stature within the UFC lightweight division.

Poirier, 34, is a former UFC interim champion at 155 pounds who will attempt to rebound from a second-round knockout loss to Justin Gaethje in their “BMF” title fight this past August at UFC 291 this past August. Poirier never has lost consecutive fights during his 15-year professional career.

Saint-Denis, 28, is on the rise in the UFC lightweight division, riding a five-fight winning streak, all of which have been stoppages. The latest of those victories came in November at UFC 295, where he knocked out Matt Frevola with a spectacular head kick in the first round. Poirier represents a huge jump in competition for Saint-Denis, easily the biggest opportunity of his career.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 299.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie