Dustin Poirier finally got his revenge.
In a rematch 6 1/2 years in the making, Poirier stunned Conor McGregor with a second-round TKO in the main event of UFC 257 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi early Sunday.
The last time Poirier and McGregor fought, “The Diamond” entered with vitriol and saw his night cut short as McGregor stopped him in the first round. This time around, a more composed and much-improved Poirier used a diet of leg kicks and grappling to find the opening he needed in the second round to unload a volley of punches that bounced off McGregor’s head and finish the job.
“I’m happy but I’m not surprised,” Poirier said. “I put in the work.”
Since they last fought, Poirier has gone on a 10-2 run with victories over four former champions. Although he was the No. 2-ranked lightweight, he was still the underdog entering the fight. But that’s just how Poirier likes it.
“The goal was to be technical and to pick my shots,” he said. “I know Max Holloway says he has the best boxing here but I have two wins over the kid. I boxed well with Conor.”
A composed Poirier never allowed the fight to turn into a brawl. He worked in a clinch game in the first round along with the leg kicks. McGregor’s precision striking was on display as he picked off his opponent with left hands but seemed uncomfortable once Poirier got inside and secured a takedown. Unlike his last fight, vs. Donald Cerrone, McGregor soon realized he wouldn’t be able to blitz his opponent like he did many others.
When the second round opened, Poirier’s calf kicks started to pile up and McGregor was wearing damage. That also prevented the Irishman from darting in and out with his movement. Poirier recognized that McGregor was compromised and began to mix up his strikes. After eating a left hand, Poirier sat down on a short right that landed and stunned McGregor. With his opponent unable to escape danger, Poirier rolled in with a volley of strikes that had McGregor’s back up against the fence.
A collected Poirier continued to fire punches as McGregor sought an escape before ducking right into a right hand that put the former two-division champion down for good at the 2:32 mark.
The victory marks Poirier’s fifth over former champions and puts him in a position to challenge for the title that a seemingly retired Khabib Nurmagomedov still holds. UFC president Dana White met with Nurmagomedov earlier in the week in an attempt to convince the undefeated champion to come out of retirement and dangled a rematch with McGregor in front of him. Poirier had other plans.
McGregor was gracious in defeat and suggested that his inactivity had done him in; this was only his third UFC fight in the past 4 1/2 years.
“It’s hard to overcome inactivity,” he said. “That lower calf kick was very good. I wasn’t comfortable as I needed to be. Dustin was some fighter. I have to dust it off and come back. I need activity. You don’t get away with being inactive in this business. I’m going to regroup.”
As for Poirier, he believes the UFC lightweight title belongs to him, regardless of whether Nurmagomedov comes out of retirement.
“I feel like this was the title fight,” Poirier said. “If Khabib’s not coming back, I feel like me and Conor are the two best guys. I’m the champion.”
Although Poirier believes that he has done enough to be named the world champion, former Bellator champion Michael Chandler staked his claim for a crack at UFC gold with a first-round knockout of Dan Hooker in his UFC debut.
Chandler signed with the UFC in September 2020 after a tenure in Bellator that included him becoming a three-time lightweight champion. The 34-year-old proved he could hang with the top tier of the UFC lightweights as he obliterated Hooker with a left hand midway through the first round.
With the division wide open, Chandler immediately called out every single top fighter it has to offer.
There was a huge shakeup at UFC 257. Here’s what else happened in Abu Dhabi.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier live updates, highlights from UFC 257
Dustin Poirier puts Conor McGregor away in the second round
Round 2 (12:42 a.m.): Combination by Conor. Leg kick by Poirier. Conor returns a leg kick. Poirier is killing McGregor’s lead leg. McGregor fires a body shot that lands. McGregor catches a leg kick and lands a right hand. Poirier eats a left hand. Hard right hand by Poirier hurts Conor! Poirier crushes McGregor!!!!! It’s OVER!
Round 1 (12:36 a.m.): McGregor fires a left hand. Has Poirier on his back foot. Poirier lands a right hand. Poirier with a takedown. McGregor gets to his feet. Lands a shoulder strike. And another. Poirier presses Conor against the cage. Knees on the inside by McGregor. Conor reverses and lands another shoulder strike. Short elbow from McGregor. Right hand lands. McGregor crashes him with a left hand. Poirier misses. Conor picking him off with ease. Poirier with a nice check hook and a leg kick. Spinning hook kick from Conor. Left hand by Conor to close the round. 10-9, McGregor
12:23 a.m.: Poirier is the next to enter as the higher-ranked fighter in the lightweight division. The crowd jeers as James Brown’s “The Boss” pulsates from the arena speakers.
12:19 a.m.: McGregor enters first and the crowd roars in approval. He looks calm and at ease.
12:13 a.m.: It is now time for the main event as Dustin Poirier looks to get revenge against Conor McGregor in a rematch six years in the making.
Michael Chandler squashes Dan Hooker in UFC debut.
Round 1 (12:10 a.m.): Chandler starts by pressuring Hooker. Not a whole lot happening in the first minute. Leg kicks by Hooker as Chandler continues to chase. Chandler with a right hand. Another leg kick hurts Chandler. Chandler smashes Hooker with a left hand! Hooker is in trouble! Chandler pounces and this one is OVER!
11:48 p.m.: Up next is Michael Chandler’s UFC debut against Dan Hooker. This is certainly no easy task for Chandler as Hooker is coming off of a Fight of the Year contender against Dustin Poirier.
Joanne Calderwood outstrikes Jessica Eye for decision
11:44 p.m: After three rounds, it looks like Calderwood will take the decision as she was the sharper and more consistent striker throughout the fight. She found a way to always land an extra strike on the break and neutralized Eye’s advances. But we’ll see how the judges have it.
11:31 p.m.: We’re only one round in but Eye and Calderwood are pushing a frantic pace with an endless barrage of punches and kicks coming from both sides. This one is shaping up to be a good one.
11:15 p.m.: Jessica Eye aims to climb back into title contention but has to face Joanne Calderwood, who has expressed just how much she doesn’t like Eye. Calderwood is coming off of a submission loss to Jennifer Maia while Eye looks to bound back after a decision loss to Cynthia Calvillo last June.
Makhmud Muradov finishes Andrew Sanchez in the third round
11:12 p.m.: Makhmud Muradov collected another third-round finish by stopping Andrew Sanchez. Muradov was faster, stronger and more persistent throughout the fight. Sanchez was in trouble early as Muradov scored with numerous calf kicks. Once he had Sanchez slowed down, he began picking him off with punches. He only gained momentum as the fight progressed and was in a full rhythm entering the final frame. Sanchez landed a right hand but walked right into an overhand right that shook him up. With Sanchez unable to find his equilibrium, Muradov hunted him down with punches and kicks until the referee called it off.
10:47 p.m.: Up next is TUF 23 winner Andrew Sanchez as he faces Makhmud Muradov in middleweight action.
Marina Rodriguez stops Amanda Ribas in the second
10:34 p.m.: After being planted on her back for much of the first round, Marina Rodriguez made sure that she wouldn’t take her place on the canvas in the second frame. With a distinct striking advantage, Rodriguez kept her distance and smashed Ribas with a right hand that sent her to the ground. Rodriguez pounced and it appeared that referee Herb Dean had stopped the fight. He didn’t and Rodriguez needed to step back in and finish what she started. She did just that with a brutal straight right that ended things once and for all.
10:14 p.m.: We’re kicking off the main card with Marina Rodriguez taking on Amanda Ribas in strawweight action. But, before we get into that fight, drones have flooded the arena!
10 p.m.: Tsarukyan was simply too much for Frevola as his grappling and wrestling neutralized his opponent from the outset. 10 takedown attempts proved to be too much as Tsarukyan earned the unanimous decision. Tsarukyan is going to be a problem in the division. We’re headed toward the main card!
9:41 p.m.: The final fight on the televised prelims is up next and takes place under curious circumstances. Matt Frevola takes on Arman Tsarukyan in a catchweight bout. Frevola was originally set to take on Ottman Azaitar until Azaitar was removed from the card, and the UFC, for violating COVID-19 safety protocols after attempting to sneak a teammate into his hotel room in Abu Dhabi. It was absurd and cost Azaitar his UFC career. Fortunately for Frevola, Tsarukyan needed an opponent after Nasrat Haqparast was removed due to illness. And here we are.
9:37 p.m.: Brad Tavares earned a decision over Antonio Carlos Junior in middleweight action. The takedown defense from Tavares was impressive as he prevented “Shoeface” from bringing the fight to the canvas. He also showcased some solid counterstriking. That performance is a start for Tavares as he attempts to work his way up the middleweight ladder.
9:01 p.m.: Just when you thought we were heading to another decision, Pena managed to get McMann’s back in the final round and cinch in a rear-naked choke to earn the submission victory. It’s a win that Pena needed to end a skid as she tries to work her way back into title contention. The best part was that Pena called out Amanda Nunes and accused the champion of “ducking” her. Interesting.
8:45 p.m.: Welcome to Sporting News’ coverage of UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier 2. As we continue through the prelims, we have had a stretch of three consecutive decisions. Sara McMann and Julianna Pena are up now. Will this fight also be decided by the judges or will Pena or McMann take it out of their hands.
McGregor vs. Poirier 2 start time
- Early prelims: 6:30 p.m. ET
- Prelims: 8 p.m. ET
- Main card: 10 p.m. ET
- Live stream: ESPN+
The main card of UFC 257 is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET, following the early prelims (6:30 p.m. ET) and preliminaries (8 p.m. ET).
How to watch McGregor vs. Poirier 2 on PPV
- UFC 257 early prelims TV channel: ESPN+, UFC FIght Pass
- UFC 257 prelims TV channel: ESPN+, ESPN 2
- UFC 257 main card channel: ESPN+ (pay-per-view)
The early prelims and preliminaries at UFC 257 are free to watch on ESPN+ for those who are already subscribed to the streaming service. The pay-per-view portion (i.e., the main card) can be purchased for $69.99. New subscribers can pay a bundle price of $89.99, which includes the fight and an annual subscription to ESPN+.
UFC 257 fight card
- Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor via 2nd-round TKO (2:32).
- Michael Chandler def. Dan Hooker via 1st-round TKO (2:30).
- Joanne Calderwood def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
- Marina Rodriguez def. Amanda Ribas via 2nd-round TKO (:54).
- Makhmud Muradov def. Andrew Sanchez via 3rd-round TKO (2:59).
- Arman Tsarukyan def. Matt Frevola via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
- Brad Tavares def. Antonio Carlos Junior via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
- Julianna Pena def. Sara McMann via 3rd-round submission (3:39).
- Marcin Prachnio def. Khalil Rountree Jr. via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Movsar Evloev def. Nik Lentz via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
- Amir Albazi def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).