Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) staged its first pay-per-view (PPV) offering of 2021 with UFC 257 going down inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” yesterday (Sat., Jan. 23) in Abu Dhabi. In the main event of the evening, Dustin Poirier stunned Conor McGregor by stopping him via strikes in the second round (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Michael Chandler made an explosive UFC debut by knocking out Dan Hooker in the very first round (recap here).
Biggest Winner: Dustin Poirier
Poirier got some much-desired revenge against McGregor by stopping him via strikes in the second round in a highly-impressive showing. In doing so, Poirier tied the series up at one a piece, which means he likely set himself up for another big pay day should a trilogy fight come around. For now, “The Diamond” put himself in great position to fight for what one can only assume will be the soon-to-be vacated Lightweight strap since Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem to have any plans to fight anytime soon, if ever again. It is without a doubt Poirier’s biggest win, which can only be outdone if he claims the official 155-pound strap in his next outing.
Runner Up: Michael Chandler
Chandler silenced all of the naysayers and critics who said he didn’t have what it takes to hang with the big boys of UFC by absolutely obliterating Dan Hooker in the very first round, putting the entire Lightweight division on notice. The former Bellator MMA 155-pound champion took his time early on, waiting for the right opportunity to unload his power. And he did just that halfway through the opening frame, tagging “The Hangman” with a sneaky left hook that floored him. From there, the wrestling powerhouse pounced on Hooker and unleashed a series of strikes that forced the stoppage. In taking out Hooker in that fashion, Chandler did something Al Iaquinta, Poirier and Felder couldn’t do. He also went home with an extra $50K in his pockets. A great debut all the way around.
Biggest Loser: Conor McGregor
McGregor’s highly-anticipated comeback didn’t pan out the way he would have hoped, losing to Poirier via technical knockout (TKO). While “Notorious” did look good early on, Poirier made the adjustments and the calf kicks were just too much for “Notorious,” who eventually wound up on the receiving end of “The Diamond’s” devastating strikes. The loss is McGregor’s second in last two outings, with his lone win during that span coming against Donald Cerrone at Welterweight. Is “Notorious” done? Highly-unlikely. He will, however, have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what his next move is. Thankfully for the fiery Irishman he has several options as the promotion’s biggest star. Still, the loss — which is the first KO/TKO of his career — will be a tough one for him to swallow and there is no telling where his mind will be in the coming weeks.
For complete UFC 257 results and coverage click here.