UFC 257: Dustin Poirier uses flurry of punches to take out Conor McGregor in round 2
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Poirier stopped Conor McGregor with a flurry of punches midway through the second round on Sunday, avenging his loss to the Irish superstar with a UFC 257 knockout victory.
Poirier (26-7) caught McGregor with a series of headshots before bending his knees with both left hands. Poirier then sent McGregor to the canvas with a short right hand and finished it quickly, setting off stunned excitement among the few thousand screaming fans allowed inside the Etihad Arena on Yas Island.
In his first fight in a year, McGregor (22-5) enjoyed a solid first round before being stopped by punches for the first time in his mixed martial arts career. McGregor, whose previous four losses have all come by submission, remained on the canvas for several moments afterward, rallying after his second loss in three fights since 2016.
“You know, it’s hard to get over inactivity over long periods of time,” said McGregor, who hadn’t fought since he beat Donald Cerrone last January. “I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be, but Dustin is a fighter. If you devote the time to it, you will feel right at home here. I have to dust off and come back, and that’s what I will do. … I’ll take my licks, but I’m drained.
McGregor and Poirier first met in September 2014 as a featherweight, and McGregor won by knockout in just 106 seconds in his incredible early career success. McGregor became the featherweight champion 15 months later, while Poirier rebuilt his career with just one loss in his next 11 fights.
With a second chance to derail McGregor while bolstering his own hopes of regaining the lightweight title, Poirier did not fail.
Sporting a shaved head and beard, McGregor pushed the action early against Poirier, who landed an early withdrawal before ending up against the cage for stretches of the first round. In the second, Poirier disturbed McGregor with kicks in the legs before throwing the punches that ended it.
In the main co-event of UFC 257, three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler made a stunning UFC debut with a violent knockout of New Zealander Dan Hooker midway through the first round .
Chandler could be the next clash for Poirier in a lightweight title fight apparently left vacant by longtime 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement after his final victory last fall.
So far, UFC President Dana White has failed to persuade Nurmagomedov to reverse his vow to his mother to quit the sport after his father’s death, not even for a very lucrative rematch with McGregor, who has repeatedly vowed to fight after this loss for Poirier.
McGregor hasn’t fought regularly in recent years, but his popularity hasn’t waned: UFC 257 is set to be one of the most popular pay-per-view events in promotion history, according to White, and the Distribution issues in the United States at the start of the PPV portion of the map led to fans bombarding social media and ESPN with complaints.
Chandler’s long-awaited arrival in the UFC was worth the wait for his 27th professional fight in a career that began in 2009.
After a deliberate start, Chandler (22-5) stabbed the body as he rushed forward and grabbed Hooker with a left hand to his face which crumpled his opponent. Chandler finished off a stunned Hooker with ground punches before climbing to the top of the cage and doing a full standing backflip into the octagon from the top of the fence.
And Chandler was still excited in his post-fight interview, calling the fight “the biggest moment of my professional life.”
“Conor McGregor! Surprise, surprise, there is a new king in the lightweight division, ”added Chandler. “Dustin Poirier, your time is coming. And Khabib, if you ever see fit to honor us with being here in the UFC Octagon on your quest for 30 (wins), you know you have to beat someone, then beat me – if you do. can !
Marina Rodriguez opened the pay-per-view game of UFC 257 by upsetting fellow Brazilian strawweight Amanda Ribas. Rodriguez got a save in the second round with a flurry of punches and a knee in the first minute.
UFC 257 concluded a three-show run in eight days with a few thousand fans allowed inside the promotion’s coronavirus bubble in the Middle East. The promotion had not hosted shows with fans since the pandemic began last March.
The UFC returns to Las Vegas in two weeks for another round of shows at the fanless Apex Gymnasium on its corporate campus.