Saturday night’s trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor was a whirlwind right up until a freak injury stopped things.
Ireland’s McGregor (22-6) missed on a punch in the closing seconds of the opening round of their UFC 264 lightweight main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, then appeared to break his left ankle as it rolled while he backpedaled away.
The ringside doctor waved off the fight, so it goes into the books as a TKO at 5:00 in favor of Poirier (28-6), who took the last two fights out of their three.
McGregor had to leave the arena on a stretcher.
It was an anti-climactic finish to an action-packed round, in which McGregor got off to a fast start with a wide variety of kicks, then administered a guillotine choke. Poirier popped out, then used his top position on the mat to rain down heavy hands and elbows. They had just re-stood in the closing moments when the fateful injury occurred.
After the bout, Poirier took exception to McGregor’s trash talk heading into the fight, as the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champ claimed he’d murder Poirier and made objectionable comments about his wife.
“He was telling me he was going to kill me, murder me, you don’t talk like that, man,” said Poirier, who won for the eighth time in his past nine fights. “The guy’s a dirtbag. Karma’s not a b—-, she’s a mirror.”
The evening’s co-feature bout can best be described as a tactical affair, as Brazil’s Gilbert Burns took a battle of former welterweight title challengers over South Carolina’s Stephen Thompson. Burns (20-4) used his grappling game to keep Thompson (16-5-1) from implementing his kickboxing game, which was good for a unanimous decision on straight 29-28 scores.
The crowd by and large was dissatisfied with the lack of action in the bout, which came one fight after a wild one tore down the house.
Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa (13-3) needed just 67 seconds to score a violent knockout of former NFL All-Pro and convicted domestic abuser Greg Hardy (7-4). A huge right to the jaw did the job.
–Field Level Media