Conor McGregor Suffers Leg Injury, Dustin Poirier Earns Anticlimactic Trilogy Win at UFC 264



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via the ESPN app.
The Dustin
Poirier
Conor
McGregor
trilogy ended in perhaps the most anticlimactic
fashion possible.

Poirier captured the rubber match against his Irish rival when
McGregor suffered what appeared to be a broken left leg or ankle
after a missing a punch and stepping back awkwardly in the final
seconds of the opening round of the
UFC 264
headliner at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on
Saturday night. With McGregor’s leg clearly contorted at a gruesome
angle, the lightweight bout was waved off at the 5:00 mark of Round
1.

“He fractured it on one of the checks at the beginning of the
fight, then it broke on a punch, for sure,” Poirier said. “I
pointed at him at the beginning of the fight, that’s when I checked
a kick, that’s when it cracked.”

For the most part, Round 1 belonged to Poirier (28-6, 20-5, 1 NC
UFC). McGregor began with a different approach from their second
meeting, as he attacked “The Diamond” with a variety of kicks,
including plenty of strikes to the legs of his opponent.

The tide turned when Poirier found the range on some straight
punches before shooting for a takedown against the fence. That
prompted McGregor (22-6, 10-4 UFC) to jump guard for an ill-advised
guillotine attempt, which he had to give up on in relatively short
order. Poirier took advantage of the position, dropping heavy
punches and elbows from top position. While McGregor did his best
to respond with elbows and upkicks from his back, Poirier was
clearly in control and had his adversary reeling on the canvas.

With McGregor bleeding from his ear, Poirier allowed his rival to
stand, and during one final exchange at the end of the round, the

SBG Ireland
representative suffered the unfortunate injury that
ended the fight.

Still, there appears to be plenty of unresolved animosity between
the two men, as they continued to exchange words after the final
verdict was announced.

“There’s no-holds-barred with the trash talk, but ‘murder’ is
something you don’t clown around with,” Poirier said. “There’s no
coming back from that. This guy was saying he’s gonna murder me and
all kinds of stuff. You don’t talk like that to people.”

McGregor, who has just one MMA win since 2018, was taken from the
Octagon on a stretcher. The former two-division champion did make
it clear that he believes there is still unfinished business with
Poirier.

“I was boxing the bleeding head off him, kicking the bleeding leg
off… this is not over,” McGregor said. “If I have to take this
outside for him, it’s all outside, I don’t give a bollocks.”


Burns Grounds ‘Wonderboy’, Captures Decision Triumph

Gilbert
Burns
did what few have been able to do against Stephen
Thompson
, as he grounded “Wonderboy” repeatedly en route to a
unanimous decision triumph in the welterweight co-main event. All
three judges scored the contest 29-28 in favor of “Durinho,” most
likely ending Thompson’s last chance for another shot at 170-pound
gold.

One bout removed from a knockout loss to Kamaru
Usman
in a welterweight title bout, Burns (20-4, 13-4 UFC)
landed takedowns in each round against the ever-puzzling
“Wonderboy.” At the end of the night, Burns’ three takedowns were
the most by a Thompson opponent since Matt Brown
grounded the South Carolinian five times at UFC 145 in April 2012.
It wasn’t exactly an effort that brought the crowd out of their
seats, though Burns was defiant in victory.

“Let’s go; boo, I don’t care,” Burns said. “More, I need more. Boo,
boo. Two checks, baby.”

Thompson (16-5-1, 11-5-1 UFC) did have his moments in what was a
competitive matchup. He kept Burns at his preferred range for much
of Round 2, maintaining distance with a variety of kicks and
straight punches until the final 30 seconds, when Burns was finally
able to ground him. “Wonderboy” nearly authored an even bigger
moment in the final stanza, when he landed a solid right that drew
a reaction from his foe before dropping Burns to a knee with a
spinning back heel kick. Shortly thereafter, Burns scored his final
takedown of the fight approximately halfway through the round. He
would spend the rest of the fight in top position, ultimately
passing to mount and ending the bout with a furious salvo of
ground-and-pound.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 264
live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device
via the ESPN app.

Tuivasa Wallops Hardy, Scores 67-Second KO

Tai
Tuivasa
showed how quickly fortunes can change in a heavyweight
bout, and Greg Hardy
was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the
lesson.

Moments after being put on wobbly legs following a pair of Hardy
right hands, Tuivasa clocked the former NFL Pro Bowler with a
massive left hook. Hardy (7-4, 4-4 1 NC UFC) toppled to the canvas
immediately and turned over to cover up as his foe put the
finishing touches on his win with follow-up punches 67 seconds into
Round 1.

“He wanted to bang with me,” Tuivasa said. “I’m not the right guy
to bang with. Pick another bloke.”

After enduring a three-bout skid from December 2018 to October
2019, Tuivasa (12-3, 6-3 UFC) has finished his last three UFC
opponents — Hardy, Harry
Hunsucker
and Stefan
Struve
— inside of a round.

Aldana Drops, Batters Kunitskaya

Irene
Aldana
maintained her place in the bantamweight pecking order,
taking an impressive technical knockout victory over former

Invicta Fighting Championships
title holder Yana
Kunitskaya
. The
Lobo Gym
representative ended Kunitskaya’s night with a furious
salvo of ground-and-pound at the 4:35 mark of Round 1.

Aldana (13-6, 6-4 UFC) didn’t take long to impose her will. The
Mexican standout tagged Kunitskaya (14-6, 1 NC, 4-3 UFC) with
punching combinations early and often, causing her Russian foe’s
nose to leak profusely. Eventually, Aldana dropped Kunitskaya with
a left hook on the chin. From there, she patiently attacked with
punches from above, gradually increasing the intensity of her
onslaught until Kunitskaya offered no intelligent means of
defense.

The only downside to Aldana’s performance came one day prior on the
scales, when she missed weight by 3.5 pounds.


O’Malley Puts on Clinic Against Moutinho

Faced with a last-minute replacement opponent, Sean
O’Malley
put on the type of performance one might expect given
the circumstances. The only surprise might have been how long it
took the “Sugar” Show to deliver a finish.

Picking his shots with precision straight punches, front kicks to
the midsection and the occasional high kick, O’Malley cruised to a
third-round technical knockout victory over
CES MMA
veteran Kris
Moutinho
in a featured bantamweight affair. With Moutinho
plodding forward and eating punches, referee Herb Dean
decided he had seen enough 4:33 into Round 3.

“Kris is a tough motherf-cker. He took this fight on 11 days notice
when a lot of other people in the UFC wouldn’t take it,” O’Malley
said.

While Dean’s stoppage drew boos from those in attendance, the
outcome was decided long before then. O’Malley (14-1, 6-1 UFC) had
Moutinho (9-5, 0-1 UFC) on wobbly legs with a right hook early in
Round 1 and put on a clinic for the rest of the round before
dropping his foe with a right hand just before the horn.

Moutinho, who stepped in for Louis
Smolka
, seemed to enjoy the adverse environment. The
green-haired bantamweight kept walking forward and smiling as long
as the bout lasted, landing low kicks and the occasional right hand
even as O’Malley racked up impressive significant striking totals.
Moutinho’s face was beginning to wear some serious damage before
Dean stepped in to halt the blowout.

“That’s a lot of head damage,” O’Malley said. “He might not think
that’s a good stoppage, but that might have saved a couple years on
his life.”

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Conor McGregor Suffers Leg Injury, Dustin Poirier Earns Anticlimactic Trilogy Win at UFC 264

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