ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dustin Poirier stopped Conor McGregor with a flurry of punches halfway by the second spherical Sunday, avenging his loss to the Irish celebrity with a knockout victory at UFC 257.
Poirier (26-7) caught McGregor with a collection of photographs to the pinnacle earlier than buckling his knees with two left arms. Poirier then despatched McGregor to the canvas with a brief proper hand and completed it at 2:32 of the second, setting off surprised pleasure among the many few thousand screaming followers allowed contained in the Etihad Enviornment on Yas Island.
“I believe this can be a title combat,” Poirier mentioned of their light-weight bout. “I’m the champion.”
In his first combat in a yr, McGregor (22-5) had a powerful first spherical earlier than he was stopped by punches for the primary time in his combined martial arts profession. McGregor, whose earlier 4 losses all got here by submission, stayed on the canvas for a number of moments afterward, gathering himself after his second loss in his three MMA fights since 2016.
“You realize, it’s exhausting to beat inactivity over lengthy intervals of time,” mentioned McGregor, who hadn’t fought since beating Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds final January. “I simply wasn’t as comfy as I wanted to be, however Dustin is a few fighter. In case you put within the time, you’re going to get cozy in right here. I’ve to mud it off and are available again, and that’s what I’ll do. … I’ll take my licks, however I’m gutted.”
McGregor and Poirier met for the primary time in September 2014 as featherweights, and McGregor received by knockout in simply 106 seconds throughout his unbelievable early-career success. McGregor turned the featherweight champion 15 months later, whereas Poirier rebuilt his profession with only one loss in his subsequent 11 fights.
With a second likelihood to derail McGregor whereas boosting his personal hopes of regaining the light-weight title, Poirier didn’t miss.
“We’re 1-1, so possibly we now have to do it once more,” Poirier mentioned.
Sporting a shaved head and a beard, McGregor pushed the motion early in opposition to Poirier, who landed an early takedown earlier than getting backed in opposition to the cage for stretches of the primary spherical. However Poirier bothered and battered McGregor with leg kicks all through the combat earlier than throwing the punches that ended it.
Within the co-main occasion at UFC 257, three-time Bellator light-weight champion Michael Chandler made a shocking UFC debut with a violent knockout of New Zealand’s Dan Hooker halfway by the primary spherical.
Chandler may very well be the subsequent matchup for Poirier in a combat for the light-weight title apparently vacated by long-reigning 155-pound champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who introduced his retirement after his remaining victory final fall. Nurmagomedov has overwhelmed each McGregor and Poirier prior to now 2 1/2 years.
UFC President Dana White to this point has been unable to steer Nurmagomedov to return on his vow to his mom to give up the game after his father’s dying, not even for a wildly profitable rematch with McGregor, who repeatedly vowed to combat on after this loss to Poirier.
McGregor has not fought frequently in recent times, however his recognition was undiminished: UFC 257 is anticipated to be one of the vital widespread pay-per-view occasions within the promotion’s historical past, in accordance with White, and distribution issues within the U.S. early within the PPV portion of the cardboard led followers to bombard social media and ESPN with complaints.
Chandler’s long-anticipated UFC arrival was well worth the anticipate his twenty seventh skilled combat in a profession that started in 2009.
After a deliberate begin, Chandler (22-5) jabbed to the physique as he lunged ahead and caught Hooker with a left hand to the face that crumpled his opponent. Chandler completed a dazed Hooker with punches on the bottom earlier than climbing atop the cage and doing a full standing backflip into the octagon from atop the fence.
And Chandler was nonetheless fired up in his post-fight interview, calling the bout “the best second of my skilled life.”
“Conor McGregor! Shock, shock, there’s a brand new king within the light-weight division,” Chandler added. “Dustin Poirier, your time is coming. And Khabib, in the event you ever do see match to grace us together with your presence again right here within the UFC octagon in your quest for 30 (victories), you already know you’ve bought to beat someone, so beat me — in the event you can!”
Marina Rodriguez opened the pay-per-view portion of UFC 257 by upsetting fellow Brazilian strawweight contender Amanda Ribas. Rodriguez bought a second-round stoppage with a flurry of punches and a knee within the opening minute.
UFC 257 concluded a run of three exhibits in eight days with just a few thousand followers allowed contained in the promotion’s coronavirus bubble within the Center East. The promotion hadn’t held exhibits with followers since earlier than the pandemic started final March.
The UFC returns to Las Vegas in two weeks for one more run of exhibits on the fan-free Apex fitness center on its company campus.
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