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Diamond Out the Rough: Poirier Stuns McGregor at UFC 257

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Image: Getty Images
The Diamond's redemption tour is complete.

Six years, three months and 27 days removed from when he tumbled face first at the hands of a Notorious left-hand, Dustin Poirier exacted sweet revenge with a stunning second-round stoppage of Conor McGregor in Abu Dhabi.

Far from the over-emotional fighter we saw on that fateful first meeting, a calculated Poirier chopped away at the legs of the former two-weight world champion, compromising his movement and priming him for a barrage of strikes, punctuated by a right hook that sent the Irishman down to the canvas before the referee stepped in to the aid of combat sports' biggest star.

Image: Bloody Elbow
The stoppage ties Dustin Poirier atop the lightweight division for most TKO finishes, as he inflicted Conor McGregor's third loss in the UFC.

Poirier's unbelievable victory followed a spectacular co-main event performance from Michael Chandler, stopping Dan Hooker in the first-round to make his promotional debut in style. 

The former Bellator lightweight champion needed half-a-round to hit the button with a left-hook, flooring the Kiwi with a few follow-up strikes to secure the victory.

Image: Barstool Sports

Peña sets aim at P4P queen in prelims

Iraqi Amir Albazi put on a complete performance to dispatch Zhalgas Zhumagulov on the first fight of the night. After some early resistance from the Europeab, Albazi got behind his jab and particularly excelled on the ground, coming close to a rear-naked choke at one point.

Movsar Evloev shrugged off several guillotine attempts from a defiant Nik Lentz en route to a split decision win as he kept his unbeaten record intact. The veteran Lentz appeared to have the choke synched in during the opening round, but Evloev remained calm and finished the round on top with some brutal ground-and-pound. He would continue to break down Lentz throughout the fight, finishing strong on the feet.

Marcin Prachino picked himself up from the canvas to secure his first win in the promotion, ousting Khalil Rountree Jr. on the scorecards. Rountree came out swinging bombs as expected, and in the second round clipped the Pole with a left hook that sent him down. But as the fight wore on, it was Prachino who picked up the pace and the volume, sending straight rights down the pipe.

Image: Getty Images

Julianna Peña then set her sights on the greatest women's mixed martial artist of all time, Amanda Nunes, after an impressive and hard-fought submission victory over former title challenger Sara McMann. With a couple of wild strikes in between, it was mostly a wrestling contest in which Peña slowly but surely took control of, until taking the back of McMann and submitting her with the rear-naked choke.

In the penultimate preliminary bout of the night, Brad Tavares outworked Antonio Carlos Junior over the course of three rounds. Arman Tsarukyan capped off the action with a dominant win over Matt Frevola. While the army veteran was game, he was simply outmatched as Tsarukyan controlled him on the mat and imposed his strength.

Welcome to The Marina Circuit
Marina Rodriguez def. Amanda Ribas via TKO, round 2 (0:54)

Marina Rodriguez produced an explosive main card opener as she finished Amanda Ribas not once but twice after a premature celebration in the second round.

Rodriguez kept the high-flying prospect at bay for the first few minutes, circling away until Ribas timed a takedown and ended up controlling the remainder of the round in the full-guard, with some ground and pound and posture control.

Early in the second round, Rodriguez would crack her compatriot with a huge right hand that dropped her, and followed up strikes as the referee Herb Dean rushed towards the action. Rodriguez thought the fight was being called off and went to celebrate, but soon realising it was not yet over, Rodriguez charged towards Ribas, and cracked her several more times. Ribas was out on her feet and this time the referee waved it for good.

Image: CBS Sports

Muradov makes the right connection
Makhmud Muradov def. Andrew Sanchez via TKO, round 3 (2:59)

Makhmud Muradov was searching for the right hand for the whole fight, and when he connected flush, that would be the beginning of the end as he blasted out Andrew Sanchez.

Muradov had early success with calf kicks that affected the mobility of American, while switching to the body seamlessly. Sanchez continued to come forward but would eat more damage, perhaps moving with the punches was the only thing stopping him from getting rocked earlier.

After Sanchez backed up Muradov with a big shot, he landed with the overhand right that had Sanchez's equilibrium all over the place. As he covered up against the fence, some more punishment gave the referee all the evidence he needed to call things off.

Image: MMA Fighting

Calderwood's striking a sight for sore Eyes
Joanne Calderwood def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Joanne Calderwood propelled herself into the flyweight title picture after overcoming former title challenger Jessica Eye over three rounds.

There was lots of plum clinching to open the fight as the Muay Thai striker Calderwood was eager to land elbows and knees. Later in the fight Calderwood also cracked the American with a clean front kick that briefly stunned her. 

Struggling in the striking realm, Jessica Eye opted for the wrestling approach for the rest of the fight but it wasn't enough to sway the scorecards in her favour. She was also cut open towards the end of the fight at the hands of a big knee from the Scot.

Image: MMA Junkie / USA TODAY Sports

"Iron" Mike arrives in the UFC
Michael Chandler def. Dan Hooker via TKO, round 1 (02:30)

The wait ended in spectacular fashion as Michael Chandler stunned Dan Hooker with a first-round knockout as he made a seismic impact on the lightweight division.

Wary of the explosive power possessed by the former Bellator lightweight champion, Hooker circled to start the fight, keeping out of range as the American tried to close the distance quickly. As he backed Hooker up towards the fence, he followed a right to the body with a huge left hook that floored the Kiwi, with some follow up ground-and-pound to finish it off. And just like that, Michael Chandler had arrived.

"There's a new king in the lightweight division," exclaimed Chandler as he set sights on the winner of the main event and lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. After that performance, it's safe to say that he is well and truly in the picture.

Image: CBS Sports

The Diamond shines brighter than ever
Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor via TKO, round 2 (02:32)

More than six years removed from their first meeting, Dustin Poirier exacted sweet revenge on the biggest star in combat sports as he stunned Conor McGregor with a second-round stoppage in the main event.

The former interim champion caught McGregor off guard with an early takedown mere moments after connecting with a right hook on the Irishman. The Notorious managed to scoop himself towards the fence, working his way back up where he landed some good shoulder strikes and knees to the body, before eventually breaking away. There, Conor enjoyed great success as he caught Poirier clean with some big left hands, although Dustin would be undeterred, throwing in a few calf kicks in addition to a check right hook that certainly got his opponent's attention.

Image: Getty Images

Early in the second round, it became clear, as Poirier poured on more leg kicks, that the lead leg of Conor had become compromised. While throwing some leg kicks of his own, in addition to some left hands, Conor was visibly in trouble and soon enough, Poirier would put the pressure on. He eventually backed up Conor against the fence with a series of punches, before a right hook dropped The Notorious. Some follow up strikes would be all she wrote as the referee called it off. Dustin Poirier had just shook up the world.

Image: Getty Images

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SportingMatrix • We Live For Sport: Diamond Out the Rough: Poirier Stuns McGregor at UFC 257
Diamond Out the Rough: Poirier Stuns McGregor at UFC 257
UFC 257: Dustin Poirier stuns Conor McGregor in the rematch with a spectacular second-round stoppage
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SportingMatrix • We Live For Sport
https://www.thesportmatrix.com/2021/01/ufc-257-poirier-vs-mcgregor-2-report.html
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