Poirier beats McGregor via doctor’s stoppage
By Emmanuel Morgan
LOS ANGELES -Conor McGregor said he would walk Dustin Poirier “around the octagon like a dog.” Instead, he laid next to the cage with a cadre of medics attending to him while the referee, Herb Dean, raised Poirier’s left hand in victory.
At the end of the first round of the UFC 264 main event Saturday (10) night, McGregor threw a punch, but stepped back and landed awkwardly on his left leg, appearing to break a bone. The fight concluded because McGregor was unable to continue.
After a week of intense build-up, the hostility between the two men did not ease and in fact seemed to escalate. During a post-fight interview, Poirier called McGregor “a dirtbag”. McGregor, still on the ground next to commentator Joe Rogan, insulted Poirier’s wife.
It was the third fight between the two lightweights, a grudge match meant to settle the score and anoint a new unquestioned challenger for the champion of the 155-pound division, Charles Oliveira. Now, it leaves an inconclusive result that most likely will require a fourth try, though probably not in the immediate future.
“This is not over,” said McGregor, who has now fought four times in the last five years and lost three times, including twice to Poirier.
UFC president Dana White told reporters after the bout that Poirier would fight Oliveira next and that McGregor would undergo surgery on Sunday (11). White said he is open to matching McGregor and Poirier up again.
Before the bizarre ending, McGregor and Poirier came out swinging and kicking. Poirier scored a mid-round takedown, and kept McGregor on the ground for most of the rest of the round, landing a flurry of elbows to McGregor’s face that left his ear bloody.
Afterward, Poirier said that he believed McGregor fractured his ankle earlier in the fight, when Poirier successfully defended a kick, and that the break was completed when McGregor stumbled backward. McGregor, using unprintable language, disagreed.
The anticlimactic ending concluded a night of exciting fights, from the aerodynamics of Niko Price to the stylistic showdown between Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson.
Burns won the co-main event via decision. The bout pitted Burns, a jujitsu specialist, against Thompson, a karate striker. Thompson landed clean shots, but Burns used his expertise on the ground to win on the scorecards.
Irene Aldana, the No. 4 ranked female bantamweight fighter, executed a stout performance against No. 5 ranked Yana Kunitskaya, delivering powerful blows and finishing her in the first round. Aldana has won three of her last four fights, with her most recent defeat coming against a former champion, Holly Holm. Aldana will certainly move up in the rankings and she could either challenge Amanda Nunes, the current champion or could draw another top contender.
Sean O’Malley, a rising bantamweight, finished Kris Moutinho in the third round after displaying a striking clinic. Moutinho’s face absorbed so much damage that referee Herb Dean mercifully stopped the fight. O’Malley, a fan favourite, will most likely next fight an opponent ranked in the top 15 in the division.
Greg Hardy, a former NFL player, was knocked out by Tai Tuivasa.
-New York Times