That’s all for tonight. Thanks as always for following along with us and be sure to check out the full fight report here.
“It’s hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time,” McGregor says. “That’s just it. I just wasn’t as comfortable as i needed to be. ... I have to dust it off and come back and that’s it and that’s what I will do.”
Will he be back in 2020?
“Of course,” McGregor says. “I need activity, guys, come on. You don’t get away with being inactive in this business and that’s the way it is. I’ll take me licks.
“It’s a tough one to swallow.”
“I’m happy but I’m not surprised,” Poirier says. “I put in the work. Conor took this result very professionally. He’s a pro. We’re 1-1. Maybe we have to do it again. I’m just happy. I’m happy in the place I’m in. I’m happy with the person I see in the mirror.”
Dustin Poirier has knocked out Conor McGregor in the second round!
Poirier continues to attack McGregor’s leg from distance and the leg appears dead. Poirier is getting a lot more confident boxing from this distance. And now a massive left from Poirier snaps McGregor’s head back and he’s hurt! McGregor is hurt badly and Poirier is raining down blows. Poirier is pouring on the punishment, landing one shot after another ... and it’s over! Referee Herb Dean has waved it off and Conor McGregor has been knocked out in the second round.
McGregor sprints from his side and beings shooting left hands one after another. Poirier times him well and lands a flush counter right. Poirier sprints in and gets an early takedown. McGregor immediately backs himself into the cage and gets himself back upright within half a minute. A nice shoulder strike by Poirier lands and they’re wrapped up in close quarters along the cage. Another nice shoulder strike by Poirier, followed by a sharp knee to the body by McGregor. Then another. Then another. They’ve been clinched for about a minute now, exchanging shoulder strikes, and now McGregor has reversed their position so it’s Poirier up against the cage. McGregor lands an elbow over the top and now they’re out of the clinch and back in the center of the octagon. McGregor then lands and right hand from distance. McGregor is pressuring Poirier while Poirier tries to hold him off with calf kicks. You’ve got to score it to McGregor, but an encouraging showing for Poirier.
The Guardian’s unofficial score: McGregor 10-9 Poirier (McGregor 10-9 Poirier)
It’s main event time at the Etihad Arena. McGregor is first out of the tunnel, walking out to his familiar Notorious BIG medley. Next it’s the determined-looking Poirier, who enters the arena to James Brown’s The Boss.
One fight that didn’t happen as scheduled tonight was the showdown between the unbeaten lightweight Ottman Azaitar and the American Matt Frevola.
That’s because Azaitar was released by the promotion on Friday after his camp violated Covid-19 protocols by bringing an unauthorized guest into the Fight Island bubble.
“He and his team cut their wristbands off and got them to people on the outside, one guy,” UFC president Dana White told MMAJunkie.
“This guy got inside the bubble, went in through a room, shimmied down four balconies, went through his (Azaitar’s) balcony, and dropped off a bag of we don’t know what.
“Then he changed his clothes and went back outside of the bubble. We got everything on camera, we saw the whole thing, how it all went down, pulled his fight and cut him.”
Frevola instead fought Arman Tsarukyan after the Armenian’s original opponent Nasrat Haqparast pulled out due to illness, losing a three-round unanimous decision.
Michael Chandler has made his UFC debut a smashing one, scoring a dramatic first-round technical knockout of Dan Hooker and punctuating it with a backflip off the top of the octagon.
The time of the official stoppage by referee Mark Goddard was 2:30 of the first round.
Afterward, Chandler cut an animated promo in calling out McGregor, Poirier and retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
We’ve got one more fight before the main event between McGregor and Poirier: a three-round lightweight bout between title-contending lightweights Dan Hooker and Michael Chandler, who is making his UFC debut after a decade in the rival Bellator promotion. Those fighters are making their ringwalks now.
Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood has won a unanimous decision over Jessica Eye of the US in their three-round women’s flyweight scrap. The scores were 30-27 (twice) and 28-29.
“I like making it hard for myself,” she says. “It’s the Scottish way.”
Calderwood’s sixth win in the UFC could set the stage for a flyweight title shot against Valentina Shevchenko.
Preamble and schedule
Conor McGregor returns to action after a 12-month absence to take on Dustin Poirier in the main event of tonight’s UFC 257 at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena.
McGregor and Poirier first met in a 2014 featherweight bout with the Irishman scoring a knockout win in less than two minutes.
We’re halfway through tonight’s pay-per-view undercard. Here’s what’s happened and here’s what’s coming.
- Women’s Strawweight: Marina Rodriguez def Amanda Ribas by second-round TKO (elbow and punches)
- Middleweight: Makhmud Muradov def Andrew Sanchez by third-round TKO (knee and punches)
- Women’s Flyweight: Jessica Eye v Joanne Calderwood
- Lightweight: Dan Hooker v Michael Chandler
- Lightweight: Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor
Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a preview of tonight’s main event.