The Etihad Arena on Yas Island, UAE was home to a great night of fights at UFC 257: McGregor vs. Poirier 2. The card saw four (T)KOs, one submission and five decisions, including one split-decision.
The prelims opened with Amir Albazi taking a unanimous decision over Zhalgas Zhumagulov in an entertaining back-and-forth battle. That was followed up by Movsar Evloev taking a split-decision over Nik Lentz, then calling for a Top 15 opponent in the post fight interview. The result could easily have gone to Lentz, but the judges felt Movsar did enough to take it. Marcin Prachnio finally reversed his fortune inside the octagon when he defeated Khalil Rountree in a razor close fight. This is another fight with a result that could have gone the other way and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. Once again, Sarah McMann met a more athletic, stronger opponent and got submitted in the third round for her troubles by Julianna Pena, who, by my scoring, was down two rounds heading into the third. What a way to turn things around! Brad Tavares’ strong takedown defense was the takeaway from his fight with Shoe Face (Antonio Carlos Junior), who just couldn’t mount the offense required to snag the victory. Tavares, sturdy as ever, repelled most of what ACJ had to offer, taking a comfortable unanimous decision.
The main card opened with strawweight standouts Amanda Ribas and Marina Rodriguez taking center octagon. Ribas was fairly dominant in the first round, but the second was another story altogether, as she was dropped, then Rodriguez mistakenly assumed the fight was over, creating some confusion. When the action gets underway again, Marina peppered Amanda with more hard rights, forcing Herb Dean to call a halt to the action. Makhmud Muradov followed that up with a third-round finish of his own, a TKO of Andrew Sanchez after a razor close first two rounds that likely saw each man take a round. Joanne Calderwood got back on track tonight when she bested Jessica Eye in a solid performance that saw her dominate the range striking, as well as a lot of the clinch battles. Eye had her moments, but JoJo gave her no quarter, easily taking the unanimous decision.
Michael Chandler just needed two-and-a-half minutes to stop Dan Hooker. Chandler was pressuring early, but the undoing started with a nasty right to the solar plexus, then clocked him with a nasty left hook that dropped Hooker like a ton of bricks. Chandler followed him down but Marc Goddard intervened, stopping the fight.
The main event saw Dustin Poirier not only survive the early goings, we saw him stop McGregor with a barrage of punches that ended Conor and Dana’s night on a sour note. Poirier/Chandler next?
Performance of the Night: Dustin Poirier, Makhmud Muradov, Marina Rodriguez, Michael Chandler
Julianna (rear naked choke, 3:39 of round 3), Marina Rodriguez (TKO (punches) at 0:54 of Rd 2), Makhmud Muradov (TKO at 2:59 of Round 3), Michael Chandler (TKO (punches) at 2:30 of Round 1), and Dustin Poirier (TKO (punches) at 2:32 of Round 2) all finished their fights inside the distance but it would be Dustin Poirier, Makhmud Muradov, Marina Rodriguez, and Michael Chandler that would take the night’s bonuses.
Fight of the Night: None
Amir Albazi (29-28 x3), Mosvar Evloev (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Marcin Prachnio (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Brad Tavares (30x27x2, 29-28), and Joanne Calderwood (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) all heard the final horn in their respective fights, but none warranted a bonus in the eyes of the brass.