Dubai: Former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier wore down lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor with crippling leg kicks to set up a TKO in round two of their rematch from 2014 in the main event at UFC 257 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
“Let’s do it again,” said Poirier as he called himself ‘the champ’. McGregor, who won the first fight six years ago, paid tribute to Porier’s striking and readily agreed to fight him for the third time. But he was clearly shatter by the loss as he said: “I’m gutted. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. In this business you got to stay active, I’m here. Let’s do it again. Poirier is such a good fighter.” Poirier’s wife, Jolie, who was ringside screamed out to the crowd at the Etihad Arena: “I told you!”
Earlier, three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (21-5 MMA) made a big statement on his UFC debut with a chilling first-round KO over New Zealand’s Dan Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC)
Chandler stalked a retreating Hooker down right from the bell, sometimes stopping to ask him to do something and not back away, before displaying his athleticism and explosive power to overwhelm a totally off-colour Hooker.
“It tell you all this, this is the greatest moment in my professional life,” Chandler told UFC commentator Jon Anik in the ring. “I’ve got to get something off my chest. Conor! Surprise, surprise. There is a new king in the lightweight division, Dustin Poirier your time has come, Khabib in your quest for 30 (wins) you’ve got to beat somebody, so beat me if you can. God bless. See you at the top.”
In a fight that caught UFC boss Dana White’s attention, Makhmud Muradov eanred a second straight TKO win after stopping former Ultimate Fighter winner Andrew Sanchez at at 2:59 of the third round in their middleweight contest.
White walked across to the side of the Octagon to congratulate Muradov, who is undefeated in UFC. Muradov was making a comeback after a 13-month gap and he did not waste time to show that he had the power and skills to compete against a high-level opponent with a sparkling exhibition of striking.
“I’m ready whenever for anyone,” Muradov said, who moves to 3-0 in UFC. “Even after one week, if my hand’s not broken, I’m ready.”
No. 9 ranked strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez, 33, pulled off an upset when she finished No. 11 Amanda Ribas by a standing TKO, 54 seconds into the second round, her first win in three fights.
After a 2-0-1 start to her UFC career, Brazil’s Rodriguez went 0-1-1 with a draw against Cynthia Calvillo and a loss to Carla Esparza. However, she has won six overall fights inside the distance.
UFC 257 Results
Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor via second-round TKO
Michael Chandler def. Dan Hooker via knockout – Round 1, 2:30
Joanne Calderwood def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Makhmud Muradov def. Andrew Sanchez via third-round TKO (2:59)
Marina Rodriguez def. Amanda Ribas via second-round TKO (0:54)
Tsarukyan def. Matt Frevola via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Brad Tavares def. Antonio Carlos Junior via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Julianna Pena def. Sara McMann via submission (R3, 3:39)
Marcin Prachnio def. Khalil Rountree via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Movsar Evloev def. Nik Lentz via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)