Dustin Poirier got his revenge against Conor McGregor, and he did with style, knocking out the big rival in the second round.
The referee in the ring, Herb Dean, stopped the fight at 2:32 of the second round when Poirier dropped the Irishman following one hard right.
“We’re 1-1,” said Poirier. “Maybe we have to do it again.”
The match was the first UFC PPV of the year, and it attracted enormous attention. Conor (22-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) was a massive favorite coming in, while Poirier (27-6 MMA, 19-5 UFC) sat at +275, making his win here a pretty big upset.
McGregor would open the fight better, and even win the first round, showing that he still has all those qualities that made him the first two-division simultaneous champion.
— George Balekji (@GeorgeBalekji) January 24, 2021
The Notoriously used shoulder strikes early one, the same as against Donald Cerrone. Most of the opening part of the event was in the clinch, without some notable big moments.
However, as time went by, Poirier’s tactic was more and more obvious. He was aiming for McGregor’s calves, trying to hurt them as much as possible, and reduce his rival’s movement. One such hit came in the closing moment of the first sequence, and that was the first time that McGregor showed signs of weakness.
Previously, Poirier scored a takedown, but without utilizing the same as McGregor quickly came back on his feet.
The Irishman began the second round with the same intensity, hitting Poirier a couple of times. Still, the American had already sensed some blood and kept on chopping the opponent’s leg, before completely limiting Mcgregor’s mobility.
Once he got him back against the cage, he started throwing punches from all over. Even though he avoided several big-time hits, a few landed on his head, with the final one being a right that sent the former champion to the floor.
“The goal was to be technical and pick my shots and have a big finish,” Poirier said.
He had 48 significant strikes, 19 more than McGregor, and most of them were leg kicks, as he had 18 compared to Conor’s two.
“That low calf kick was very good,” McGregor said. “That leg was dead, man. … Dustin is some fighter. I have to dust it off and come back. And what’s what I will do.”
This message from McGregor suggests that he plans to come back and continue fighting, which is a massive deal for the UFC and his fans. Conor indicated before this battle that he wants to catch up for all the missed fights over the past four years once he entered the ring just four times.
How bout them Tigers pic.twitter.com/xaLEu9FJcV
— Tyler Murry (@TylerJMurry) January 24, 2021
In the co-main event of the night, Michael Chandler (22-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) had a monstrous debut, knocking out Dan Hooker (20-10 MMA, 10-6 UFC) in the first round, indicating that he needs to be counted in one talking about big matches in the lightweight.
He not only called out both of the guys who headlined the event but the reigning and retired champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“Khabib [Nurmagomedov], if you ever do see fit to grace us with your presence back here in the UFC Octagon, in your quest for 30-0, you’ve got to beat somebody. So beat me, if you can.”
Chandler, the former Bellator lightweight champ, needed two minutes and 30 seconds to finish the bout. His left hook sent Hooker to the canvas, and after that, a rain of hits followed with Herb Dean having to interfere and stop the match. For Hooker, this is the second straight loss, following the one against Poirier.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.