Dustin Poirier beats Conor McGregor in two rounds, result and summary: UFC 257

David Nelson

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Dustin Poirier beats Conor McGregor in two rounds, result: UFC 257 from Fight Island

Poirier vs McGregor live online

Dustin Poirier beats Conor McGregor in two rounds (TKO)

McGregor probably took the first round, landing a few lefts and dealing fine with Poirier's early takedown, which led to a long clinch against the fence, where they exchanged shoulder strikes, with the Irishman getting the better of the hits.

Once they'd broken McGregor finished strongly, but Poirier went for him with a series of calf kicks, which at the time didn't seem so important... but the American continued the strategy at the start of the second and it was soon clear McGregor's leg was dead, and that left him struggling with mobility, allowing Poirier to land a massive left, hurting McGregor terribly. The man from Dublin is made of strong stuff and he stayed on his feet, but Poirier could smell blood and he rained the punishment down on McGregor, eventually landing a full blow square on his rival's nose and with that the referee had seen enough. 

UFC 257: Full fight card

Early preliminary card:
Flyweight: Amir Albazi bt Zhalgas Zhumagulov (unanimous decison)
Catchweight (150 lb): Movsar Evloev bt Nik Lentz (split decision)

Preliminary card:
Light heavyweight: Marcin Prachnio bt Khali Rountree Jr (unanimous decision)
Women’s bantamweight: Julianna Peña bt Sara McMann (submission)
Middleweight: Brad Tavares bt Antonio Carlos Junior (unanimous decision)
Catchweight: (157 lb): Arman Tsarukyan bt Matt Frevola (unanimous decision)

Main card:
Women’s strawweight: Marina Rodríguez bt Amanda Ribas (TKO)
Middleweight: Makhmud Muradov bt Andrew Sanchez (TKO)
Women’s flyweight: Joanne Calderwood bt Jessica Eye (unanimous decision) 
Lightweight: Michael Chandler bt Dan Hooker (TKO)
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier bt Conor McGregor (TKO)

McGregor tells critical Khabib: "Come back and let's go again"

Conor McGregor has challenged Khabib Nurmagomedov to "go again" after the retired lightweight champion hit out at the Irishman following his loss to Dustin Poirier.

Having told UFC president Dana White he is "so many levels above these guys", Nurmagomedov tweeted on Sunday: "This is what happened [sic], when you change your team, leave the sparring partners who made you a champion and sparring with little kids, far away from reality."

In response, McGregor said: "If he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let's go again my man. I'm ready for it. That's fighting talk. If you're coming back, come back."

Full story

McGregor laments 'inactivity' after Poirier defeat

Conor McGregor lamented his inactivity after being stunned by Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Sunday. It was McGregor's first fight in 12 months and just his third since the start of 2018.

"You know, it's hard to overcome inactivity over long periods of time and that's just it," McGregor said. "The leg kicks were good, that low calf kick was good, the leg was dead and just wasn't as comfortable as I needed to be. It's the inactivity, but Dustin is some fighter and if you're in here, if you put in the time in here, you're going to get cosy in here and that's it. I have to dust it off and come back and that's what I will do."

McGregor said he was "gutted" and was keen to fight again this year.

Poirier, meanwhile, believes he is the lightweight champion – if Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) is unwilling to come out of retirement. "I felt like this was a title fight," the American said. "If Khabib's not coming back, me and Conor are the two best guys, I think this was a title fight. I'm the champion."

Khabib

Khabib tells Dana White: "I'm so many levels above these guys"

Dana White revealed Khabib Nurmagomedov told him he was "so many levels above" his rivals, making it unlikely the undefeated star will come out of retirement. Khabib (29-0) sensationally retired after beating Justin Gaethje in October last year. White has been pushing for the Russian to return for a 30th fight, but that seems unlikely to happen.

Khabib return unlikely

After Dustin Poirier stunned Conor McGregor in just rounds at UFC 257 this weekend, the UFC president revealed he had a conversation with Khabib. "I did talk to Khabib," White said. "He said to me, 'Dana, be honest with yourself, you know I'm so many levels above these guys, I beat these guys.' I don't know, I don't know, but it doesn't sound very positive so we'll see. I told you guys before he won't hold the division up. He already retired, he's basically retired, I'm the one that's been trying to get him to do one more."

White confirmed McGregor and Poirier would likely fight for the lightweight title if Khabib did not return.

Poirier said this would be different to 2014 and boy was he right.

McGregor was shattered by that defeat, but also showed a lot of respect to his opponent in defeat. The Irishman appears to have mellowed a lot.

Poirier at the end of the fight

McGregor says he put in a lot of work, but he's keen to go again.

McGregor says his leg was gone - Poirier had focused on calf kicks - and he admits that "Poirier is such a good fighter"

McGregor comes over and hugs Poirier.

That is huge, Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier takes McGregor down in the second. 

"I told you" screams Poirier's wife!

It's ALL OVER!! POIRIER DESTROYS MCGREGOR IN THE SECOND!

McGregor in trouble!!

McGregor picks up Poirier's single leg twice in a row and moves him around before dropping it and going for a punch, but neither connect fully. 

McGregor lands and hurts Poirier at the start of round 2. 

Round 2: Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor

That's it! End of round 1. Good, good, opening round. 

Spinning hook kick attempt from McGregor, but it's blocked by Poirier. 

McGregor misses and Poirier points and laughs at him!

Conor lands two straight down the middle on Poirier's face! 

McGregor reverses and gets Poirier pinned against the fence and the Irishman gets a good shoulder strike. There's a huge amount of chat between the two there in the clinch. 

Poirier pinning McGregor against the fence, but Conor getting some good knees in. 

They're back up, in the clinch and they're going for shoulder strikes!

Poirier gets an early takedown! But McGregor shuffles back and gets against the fence. 

We're going, McGregor straight on the attack and Poirier looks nervous. 

Here we go, you can feel the tension...

The priiiiiiiiide of Ireland, the Notorious Conor McGreeeegor!!

You have to admit Bruce Buffer has a way about him.

Five rounds for this bout

Main event time: Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor

How Poirier made his way in...

Consensus is McGregor's best chance is stopping Poirier early. If the American can hold on and keep the fight going, his chances will only improve as the bout goes on.

Poirier is here!

How McGregor came into the venue...

Big noise from the fans for McGregor...

Total body transformation, McGregor is looking good at 155. 

McGregor, draped as ever in his Irish flag. 10th consecutive UFC main event for the Irishman. 

Lights down over Octogon, and a lilting celtic song heralds the entrance of CONOR McGREGOR!

Poirier is better than he was in 2014, and he is going to be mentally focused on the fact he took one shot from McGregor back then as well as the fact McGregor has been pretty inactive over the past two years. 

McGregor's ego though want let him see Poirier as being anything other than "a level below me". 

And that brings us to... DUSTIN POIRIER vs CONOR McGREGOR

Check the backflip...

Here's Chandler's speech...

Chandler: "This is the greatest moment of my professional life. Conor McGregor, there’s a new king in the lightweight division. Khabib, if you come back for No. 30, you have to beat somebody. So try and beat me if you can!"

Hooker had said Chandler wasn't just going to come in and take him, but that's exactly what he's done! Body shot with the right, and Hooker left himself exposed and boom! the left hand put an end to the New Zealander's evening. 

Round one knockout for Chandler. THAT'S A UFC DEBUT!!

Chandler with a big left hand right on the chin! And Hooker is down! He's gone, it's all over!!

Fast move from Chandler gets him in, and he lands on Hooker's face. 

Chandler working out how to get inside that long reach of Hooker's...

Hooker on the outside, feinting, waiting for Chandler to make his move.

Hooker with a low right kick to get us underway.

Round 1: Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler

Counting's over...

Hooker has said he just doesn't think Chandler has fought anyone like him, he believes he well deserves his favourite status, but at -143 it's not nearly as much as he thinks it should be. 

The Hangman, Dan Hooker, strolls into the venue, rocking a New Zealand flag, looking calm and composed. 

Chandler is whooping with excitement as he comes into the Octagon... he IS EXCITED TO BE HERE.

Lightweight: Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler

This is billed as the co-main event, even if McGregor's status outside the sport takes that fight onto another level in terms of public awareness. In terms of MMA though, this is indeed just as thrilling a  high-octane contest. 

New Zealander Hooker (20-9) did lose his last fight, to Dustin Poirier, but he had put together a superb run before that, beating James Vick and Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder. 

Chandler (21-5) is making his UFC debut, coming across from Bellator, though he's been on Fight Island before, as back-up to the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje title fight in October.

Hooker has a major height and reach advantage, but Chandler is a deadly wrestler and if he can get in close and grapple, he might be able to grind out a win. Hooker though made it clear before the fight he doesn't think Chandler is going to come straight in and find it easy, stressing that "it's hard to get me down, and even harder to keep me down." He'll be looking to stay lively on his feet and keep landing the bombs. 

Michael Chandler, draped in a US flag, comes into the venue for his UFC  debut!

Pretty big bout coming up: Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler...

And after that, it's Poirier vs McGregor!

Conor McGregor rocks up in an understated motor, as expected.

She landed over 200 strikes on Eye...

Unanimous decision for Joanne Calderwood: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

Calderwood lands a BIG knee and Eye has a nasty gash over her eye. And that's it! They bump fists out of respect, not sure the hatchet is buried, but a lot of the anger was burned off in that bruising 15 minutes.

Into the final minute, still going at it hammer and tongs, Calderwood keeping her kicking going and the knees to the body. 

Ref has had enough of that, with the fighters just pinned against the fence. He breaks it up and back to the middle.

Eye pins Calderwood against the fence. Can she make something of this? Calderwood staying on her feet.

Poirier here too...

Conor McGregor IS IN THE HOUSE! The Irish fighter has just strolled into the venue. 

Third round: Jessica Eye vs Joanne Calderwood

Calderwood far more effective here. But Eye gets a takedown as Calderwood goes for a spinning attack. That's a mistake there, she had no need to go in like that. But Eye doesn't make anything of the takedown which shouldn't be enough to take the round of Calderwood.

Eye is still pushing on and attacking Calderwood, but the Scot is picking her off as she comes in. 

Calderwood channelling her inner William Wallace here, and there's another big knee!

Calderwood with a front kick to the face!! And several punches and then a takedown! Though Eye actually looked quite happy to take a quick rest on the canvas as Calderwood didn't manage to follow up. 

End of round 1. Well, if there was any doubt over whether they actually don't like each other or not, that's settled: they don't. Which led to a pretty frenetic first round. 

Calderwood mixing it up with kicks to the body and punches. Both fighters landing, with Eye punching more.

Calderwood's eyes looking pretty swollen already. 

JoJo lands the one, two and then a knee. But Eye has managed to get some punches through too.  

They got stuck right in! Calderwood straight in the clinch and she's wanting to brutalize her opponent. 

Round 1: Jessica Eye vs Joanne Calderwood

Eye and Calderwood are both 34, with the American having a tiny half-inch reach advantage. Calderwood is the favourite here at -115. 

jojo

"I know I need to go in there and get a good performance against Jessica Eye," says Joanne Calderwood. "I ain't scared and I'm coming for her," says the Scot, who has admitted to not liking Eye, calling her a "schoolyard bully". 

Muradov was pretty happy about finishing that off in style

Sanchez was on the front foot there and had landed a punch, before Muradov spotted the gap and landed one, actually more with the wrist than the fist, but it was enough to pretty much take Sanchez out of the contest and Muradov made absolutely sure.

Muradov asks Dana White why he's not getting a follow on Instagram. 

Fighting on their feet through this third round... and Muradov lands one and Sanchez's legs have nearly gone!! He staggers back and Muradov is in, lands a knee and then he FINISHES HIM on the fence. Referee has seen enough. 

Round three: Andrew Sanchez vs Makhmud Muradov

End of round 2. Sanchez is bleeding from his nose. 

Muradov lands a head kick, but it just grazes Sanchez. 

Muradov sends a combo in and the last punch penetrates, sending Sanchez rocking back. 

Sanchez looking hungrier in this second round, and he's landed a few, a nice jab there getting through. 

We're good to go again, Muradov taking just under a minute to recover.

Sanchez's corner were telling him to get inside if Muradov throws and misses. And a groin strike has Muradov down and grimacing. 

Second round: Andrew Sanchez vs Makhmud Muradov

That was a frenetic first round. Sanchez's team say it's too close to call. I'd say Muradov shaded it, but yes, close. 

Muradov leaps in with the knee!! But Sanchez repels the attack. 

Sanchez landing with the right when Muradov comes inside. 

The lack of audience means the sound of the blows is LOUD! Several shin-on-shin shots there absolutely echo round the Etihad. 

Both fighters moving fast here and mostly kicking, nothing major landed yet. 

Sanchez dives to try and get a takedown but Muradov is too quick for that!

 

Muradov kicking early...

Introductions for the fighters. Makhmud Muradov is all smiles, he's loving his introduction and has a big fist bump for Bruce Buffer.

Sanchez

Andrew Sanchez comes in to the Final Countdown. A classic if ever there was one... and somehow fitting for that mullet. 

Here's how he looked at weigh-in.

We sure are...

Middleweight: Andrew Sanchez vs Makhmud Muradov

Next up: Makmud Muradov (24-6) comes into this bout on a 13-fight win streak, though only two have been in UFC and Sánchez (12-5) is a higher level. Expect Muradov to stand tall and use his superb technique and brute power to go for an early knockout, while Sanchez will stick to his wresting game and try and keep Muradov on the deck. Most likely? Muradov lands one and it's all over. 

Boom

You cannot argue with that.

That was a turn up for the books and even more unexpected after the first round, but Rodríguez said she had her game plan, stuck to it, and it came off. And you can't really argue with that, as she turned Ribas' legs to rubber.

Marina Rodríguez says she thought the ref had called it, but was happy to go and finish the job once she realised he hadn't. 

"This win gets me into the top 5 and I want to get to the top!"

That was huge. A right hand sneaks through Ribas' guard and Rodríguez, the underdog, has won it comprehensively!!

Rodríguez lands a huge one on Ribas! And she thinks it's over, but the referee says no, keep going. So Rodríguez does it again! All over! 

Ribas trying to force Rodríguez to open her guard, she's twisting her and punching every chance she gets.

Some good crowd noise as things heat up in the Octagon. Every seat available is taken, some 2,000, instead of the capacity of 17,000. 

Ribas in and downs Rodríguez! But Rodríguez is working her legs well to stop Ribas getting control. 

Ribas in the centre, hounding her opponent, who is backing off. 

We are too!

This is a tasty match-up. Off we go. Round 1: Marina Rodríguez vs Amanda Ribas!!

Women’s strawweight: Marina Rodríguez vs Amanda Ribas

And the first fight on the ppv card: 

Marina Rodriguez (12-1-2) has a three-inch height advantage over her opponent, Amanda Ribas (10-1), but curiously Ribas has a very slight reach advantage. In terms of style, Rodríguez is bringing her Muay Thai skills to the table, facing off against rising star Ribas' jiu-jitsu and judo. 

27-year-old Ribas probably just has too much in all departments for Rodríguez (33) and don't be surprised if she gets the KO, and if not, a unanimous decision. 

Current lightweight champion (but who has said he's retired) Khabib Nurmagomedov is predicting a win for Conor McGregor tonight, but said if it goes to third or fourth, then "Dustin can beat this guy".

Winner of the last fight in the prelims...

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has said he's "as hungry as ever" and feels he's still "untouchable". 

Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor... in around two hours. We've got some big, big fights coming up before then. 

Who got moves?

That's the end of the prelims! Which means the Main Card is coming up....

Unanimous decision for Arman Tsarukyan: 30-27, 30-27, 30-26

That's it, end of round three. Tsarukyan looking pretty confident at the end of that. 

Tsarukyan gets Frevola right off the floor with a one-legged takedown and dumps him on the deck. 

Fighters both trying spinning kicks, not landing much at the start of the third. 

Third round: Matt Frevola vs Arman Tsarukyan

Probably 1-1 as it stands.

There's a fair amount of blood out there now, coming from a cut on Tsarukyan's head, from a right. But the Russian was on top in the second round. 

Tsarukyan pins Frevola against the fence, when the American escapes he brings him down again. 

Round 2: Matt Frevola vs Arman Tsarukyan

End of round 1. Frevola hurt Tsarukyan at the end of that round.

Frevola taunting his opponent, telling him to bring it...

Remember, it's the main card after this fight, with Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor topping the bill. 

Frevola brought down, but he's so slick on the floor he just rolls right through it and is back up the other side. 

Good defence from Frevola as Tsarukyan has him up against the fence. 

Frevola is +500 favourtie here

Round 1: Matt Frevola vs Arman Tsarukyan

Catchweight: (157 lb): Matt Frevola vs Arman Tsarukyan

In this rescheduled bout, Matt 'The Steamrolla' Frevola takes on Arman Tsarukyan, who's a serious striker and has won his last two fights.

Both fighters lost their original opponents at Fight Island, due to a violation of covid-19 regulations on the one hand and a failure to show up at weigh in on the other. 

The two fighters then organised this fight, with Tsarukyan over weight, but giving up 20% of his purse for Frevola to take the bout. 

Frevola's plan will be to take the fight to the mat, and limit Tsarukyan's streak to just the two wins. 
 

Unanimous decision for Brad Tavares: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

That's the end of that. Both fighters claim it... decision coming up! 

Tavares takedown defence: 10/11

Another right hand from Tavares catches Carlos Junior. He's still looking fresh. 

Carlos Junior going for that takedown, but he's got his angles all wrong as he pushes Tavares against the fence. And Tavares' defence is so strong...

Round 3: Brad Tavares vs Antonio Carlos Junior

Carlos Junior's coach: "Just one takedown is all you need"

End of round 2, and Carlos Junior still smarting from that right hand he took. 

Another single leg attempted takedown and Tavares wriggles away again. And then Tavares lands a right hand! He's hurt the Brazilian. But just after the American kicks the cup and Carlos Junior gets time to recover... he's delighted to get that breather. 

Tavares manages to land another right hand, but Carlos Junior takes it no bother. 

Tavares gets a right hand through and Carlos Junior reacts by getting the takedown! But Tavares manages to get back on his feet. So impressive.

Second round: Brad Tavares vs Antonio Carlos Junior

End of round 1. Solid defence from Tavares in that round, and he landed some blows too. 

Carlos Junior knees Tavares and that is RIGHT ON THE CUP. Tavares goes down in some distress. Every man here just groaned in sympathy. He'll have five minutes to recover. 

Tavares has brought his takedown defence A game tonight. 

Carlos Junior goes for the takedown and Tavares defence is out of this world! He just floats back, staying light on his feet and Carlos Junior can't knock him off balance. 

Carlos Junior has a hold on Tavares' left leg, but he can't make the hold count for anything. 

1st round underway: Brad Tavares vs Antonio Carlos Junior

Nunes responds  straight away!

Peña wants the fight with Nunes...

Brad Tavares walking in, and the reason there's a Union Jack on his flag is not because he's a fan of all things British... he's from Hawaii, whose flag features the Union Jack. 

Middleweight: Brad Tavares vs Antonio Carlos Junior

Tonight's next bout: Brad Tavares (17-6) goes up against jiu-jitsu master Carlos Junior (10-4(1)), but Junior has been a long time without a win, back in April 2018. He lost his last two fights to  Ian Heinisch and then Uriah Hall. Tavares though is also winless since the very same month, and lost his last two fights to  Israel Adesanya (unanimous decision) and Edmen Shahbazyan who floored him with a head kick. 

If Tavares can go the distance this should be his fight, but an early take down from Carlos Junior can't be ruled out. 
 

Julianna Peña is euphoric and she says she wants to fight Amanda Nunes. 

Peña got the rear naked choke on and McMann SUBMITS!!

Ground and pound from Peña here.

Peña trying to manoeuvre McMann into a guillotine, but when she can't she gets some solid hammer blows onto McMann's head. 

Step-through throw from Peña brings McMann down!

Round 3: Julianna Peña vs Sara McMann!

Likely 1-1 going into the third.

End of round 2! Peña finished that really strong once she broke free. 

Peña pushed against the fence, but she keeps landing any punches she can on McMann's head.

McMann once again on Peña's back and looking for the bulldog choke, but Peña gets out and they're back up!

McMann in Peña's guard and the she's going for big elbows to the face. 

Into round 2 and Peña gets McMann in a guillotine early on, but McMann escape easy.

McMann on top here, and lands a big elbow. 

McMann controlling Peña on the floor. 

McMann goes in for the takedown, but bails at the last second. So quick. But just 15 seconds later, she does get the takedown and she's on Peña's back. 

McMann lands a couple of nice right hands, she's looking sharp. 

First round underway: Julianna Peña vs Sara McMann

Peña has a 3" reach advantage, but McMann is the -125 favourite.

Women’s bantamweight: Julianna Peña vs Sara McMann

Next up! A battle of the grapplers. Peña (9-4) made her debut in 2013  but has only fought seven times due to a serious knee injury. Sara McMann (12-5) has also been lying low recently, having had a baby boy. Expect a lot of this one to play out on the floor - Peña has managed to take down her opponent in every fight and McMann has solid credentials. We'd favour youth over experience here and go for 31-year-old Peña over her 40-year-old opponent.  

There's that Prachnio primal scream

It's a fair point

Unanimous decision 29-28 Prachnio! 

Well we got that one wrong. Prachnio did take the first and did enough in the third to win it. He breaks his three-loss streak and is absolutely delighted. Another primal scream from him! 

Prachnio got badly hurt in round 2 and it's impressive he's fought so hard in this third round, but it doesn't look  like he's done enough. 

End of the fight, both claim victory but Rountree has to be more confident.

Prachnio on the offensive, landing some of his blows here. But Rountree is still well in this and manages to land an uppercut. Less than two minutes for Prachnio to produce something.

Into the third round. The second was for Rountree. Prachnio is on course to lose his fourth fight in the UFC and that would be curtains for his career, so he's got to pull something big out here. 

"It's now or never!" Prachnio's coach shouts at his man. The fighter lets our a scream of rage in return. 

These two are really active, kicks, punches, it's non-stop out there. And Rountree lands a left foot on Prachnio's head! That's hurt Prachnio! He nearly went down but just managed to stay up!

Rountree mixing it up and throwing a number of different strikes, some of them landing. 

Start of the second and Rountree lands a kick on Prachnio's head!

End of round 1 between Khali Rountree Jr vs Marcin Prachnio. That was a close round. 

Prachnio has kept Rountree at a distance with his kicking. Both have gone for headkicks, but nothing landed... yet.

Prachnio landing a few sidekicks.

Rountree goes for a big kick and Prachnio NEARLY catches it and sends him flying...

Fighters are ready, here we go, Round 1: Khali Rountree Jr vs Marcin Prachnio

Light heavyweight: Khali Rountree Jr vs Marcin Prachnio

This is knockout territory. Both fighters are strikers and both have knockout power. Prachnio (13-5) has to win tonight after losing all three of his UFC fights, which was a surprise as he came in on a win streak of eight fights, but Alvey, Magomed Ankalaev and Mike Rodriguez all taught him how tough UFC is with three KOs in a row. 

Rountree (8-4(1)) has been inconsistent but if anything like his best version turns up, Prachnio is going to be in trouble.  

Judges split decision: Evloev

Well that was unexpected, certainly looked unanimous for Evloev from here, but the correct decision.

Evloev gets the microphone and tells Dana he's "angry", he says he wants a top 15 fight, "someone I deserve to fight!"

That's it! Hug and to their corners. 

Lentz needs something major here, or this Evloev's fight. Just a minute left. Russian still looking fresh.

Evloev catches a Lentz kick and gets a punch in. He's so calm and collected. 

Lentz needs a second to get the blood out of his eye.

Lentz looks really tired right now.

Third round: Movsar Evloev vs Nik Lentz

Significant strikes second round: Lentz 15 - 25 Evloev. That round for the Russian, probably 1-1 now (but could be 0-2), money has to be on Evloev to win the third. 

Lentz has major cut over his left eye, and that's not good for someone who was out for 9 months with serious eye trouble. He's bleeding profusely. 

But it's Lentz who gets the take-down again and has ANOTHER guillotine on the Russian. But yet again Evloev gets free. 

Stand-up start to round 2, and Movsar Evloev landing a lot more here.

Round 2: Movsar Evloev vs Nik Lentz

Evloev gets up and smashes a big right-hand down onto the top of the American's head. And that's the end of round 1. Lentz is bloodied up from those final hits. 

Lentz manages to get another guillotine on Evloev, but the Russuan doesn't seem too bothered, and indeed, breaks free.

Lentz gets the hold early and pins Evloev on the ropes, then gets the takedown, and Lentz has got him on the floor in a hold, but Evloev manages to get out, somehow! That was dicey for Evloev for a second or two.

1st round: Movsar Evloev vs Nik Lentz

Evloev has 4.5" reach advantage here... he's a -700 favourite tonight.

Movsar Evloev vs Nik Lentz

Up next: 36 year old Lentz (30-11-2(1)) is a heavy underdog here, he's been on the sidelines after suffering an eye injury in a fight against Arnold Allen a year ago, and Movsar Evloev (13-0) is a major prospect in the featherweight division (note this fight is catchweight, which should help Lentz somewhat, but not enough). The 26-year-old Russian is a superb wrestler and also a punishing hitter. 

Unanimous decision 29-28: Amir Albazi! His MMA record is 14-1 and he's on a three win streak.

Unanimous decision 29-28: Amir Albazi! His MMA record is 14-1 and he's on a three win streak.

All over! Good stuff from both Amir Albazi and Zhalgas Zhumagulov, but that round and the fight is going to Albazi.

Good grappling here from Albazi, but Zhumagulov escapes! He's got a minute to produce something here or it's all over for him.

Albazi working Zhumagulov on the floor, trying to get the choke in place. 

Getting a bit frayed there, and Albazi has Zhumagulov on the deck!

Zhalgas Zhumagulov's corner told him to "get angry", saying he's goign to lose the fight if he doesn't produce something. 

Thrid and final round: Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

That's Albazi's round, he landed a fair few neat jabs and took his opponent down at the end. 

Albazi taunting his rival here, demanding he come at him. Zhumagulov is not buying it.

Zhumagulov lands a solid left hand! The fighter from Kazakhstan is furiously eyeing his chance to come in, but Albazi's jabs are fast enough to keep him at bay. 

Some neat jabs from Albazi here, but neither fighter has landed much in this round.

Round 2: Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov gets underway

Zhumagulov spots a gap and he takes Albazi down! That's probably enough to win him that round.

Albazi pins Zhumagulov on the fence! He lands a couple of blows but Zhumagulov manages to free himself before sustaining any damage.

Zhumagulov slips under pressure from Albazi and he's onto the fence, but just nips to safety fast enough before his opponent can land a blow.

Zhumagulov gets a jab through, he's mixing up his punches, but the fighters are staying a long way from each other here.

Five minute rounds. Amir starting with a low kick, but the two are both being very cautious as they watch each other. 

Three rounds, flyweight division: Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

The Prince is in the octagon...

Zhalgas Zhumagulov is the first male from Kazakhstan to fight in UFC

Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

The first fight of tonight, Amir Albazi (13-1) against Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-4), should be a very tight match between two fighters who rely on grappling as their main weapon, but are happy to swing when they're on their feet. This fascinating contest is likely to go the distance. 

It's just after 4am local time in Abu Dhabi, and the Etihad is looking stunning from outside, shining right on the water's edge. 

Inside the Etihad

With covid-19 restrictions it's an extremely sparse crowd. Can you imagine the atmosphere tonight would have had in normal times...

The early prelims...

Early preliminary card has two fights on it: 

Catchweight (150 lb): Movsar Evloev vs Nik Lentz

Flyweight: Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

And they are due to start any time now...

Khabib

What happened to Khabib Nurmagomedov?

The current UFC lightweight champion is Khabib Nurmagomedov. However he announced his retirement after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October, and despite UFC boss Dana White being optimistic the Russian will fight again, he has said he won't, saying he doesn't want to disappoint his mother, having promised her that the bout against Gaethje was his last, after his dad died. 

For Conor McGregor the solution is pretty simple, either Khabib comes out of retirement or he's stripped of his belt and UFC organises a bout to crown a new champion: "I'd make the case if that man [Nurmagomedov] is continuing to dodge this and dodge the commitment of competing again, the title should be stripped and we should be engaging in a title fight," said McGregor.

"I'm sure it'll happen after this bout. I'm interested to hear what the excuses are … but I predict a title strip. As long as we fight again there'll be no issue [between us], that's it. If he continues to run, I'm not sure. We'll see what happens.

"The world knows this fight is not over, this war is not over. The sport needs it to happen. I'm not gonna chase it if he doesn't want it and I'll keep my calm and move on."

Khabib forced McGregor to tap out at UFC 229 in the Lightweight Championship bout. Khabib has a 29-0 record in MMA. 

Poirier and McGregor weigh-in

Both fighters made weight no bother. Fascinating to see the difference between now and 2014 in their attitude to each other...

What are McGregor and Poirier earning for tonight's fight

The short story: McGregor's disclosed purse is $5 million, Poirier's is $1 million, but they are both also getting a percentage share of PPV revenue. For McGregor that could see him banking up to $20 million. 

More info: 

How to watch UFC 257

Of course we hope you'll stay with us for this evening's action, but if you'd like to tune in, Will has the skinny.

cancelled

Google reporting UFC 257 cancelled

If you search on Google for UFC 257 right now, the info box reports it's been cancelled. As far as we know it hasn't been and this appears to be some algorithm bug - we're looking for more information right now. Note, some of the preliminary fights HAVE been cancelled, that might be what's causing the glitch. 

Not long to go

Just half-an-hour to the start of the show. But there's a lot of fighting to be done before we get to Poirier vs McGregor, so sit back and enjoy.

Poirier vs McGregor

So, both fighters made weight, the scene on Fight Island is set and the rematch is on. Their previous bout is part of of UFC lore - a super-hyped build-up where McGregor trash talked his American opponent, and then backed up his words in the Octagon, taking Poirier to pieces in the first round. 

A lot of water has been under the bridge since then, and noticeably the attitude of the two fighters to each other is completely different to 2014, when McGregor riled his opponent up with barbs about his upbringing his chin and even the size of his head, leading Poirier to say he had never "disliked" someone that much before a fight. At the weigh-in this time round the two fighters were even laughing and joking as they squared up to each other. 

McGregor said about his rival: “I’ve been highly impressed, I think the whole business has been highly impressed, after that loss many, many years ago, he rose up became champion and has given so much back.

“I am honoured to share the octagon with this man. I know we have this competitive fire, and it’s still there, there’s no denying that and it’s going to be a good fireworks filled bout but the respect is admirable for this man from me.”

Back then they were two fighters on the up, now both are fathers, McGregor has held two UFC titles, Poirier has been interim lightweight champion. But don't think their ambition is anyway dimmed. McGregor is back and looking absolutely in beast mode physically - he wants the Lightweight title. If he beats Poirier that erases his claims he was retiring, his time off and sets him up for a title shot. And his American opponent, of course, wants revenge for that shot from McGregor six years ago, as well as wanting to mount his own bid for the title. 

What to expect

Poirier is a street fighter, he's happy if it's ugly and he'll be looking to get through the early rounds where McGregor is more dangerous, to take it into the fourth and fifth where he can triumph in a war of attrition. 

McGregor will be looking to put paid to those schemes by coming up with a repeat of his first round take down of Poirier in 2014. His hand speed and sheer power make him absolutely lethal, standing in the centre and ripping venomous combinations. That left hand lands and it's night, night and thanks for coming. 

Poirier's defence is far better than it was six years ago, though, so McGregor will have his work cut out to find a way through with the killer blow. The American however can be tempted to overcommit with his punches, which McGregor will be waiting for. 

Which way will it go? McGregor started as heavy favourite at -240 and the odds have only widened, with it sitting at -300 now. Poirier though is actually the higher ranked fighter, thanks to his CV. And given the Irishman's inactivity it's hard to justify him being that much of a favourite. And certainly if Poirier can get through the first two rounds (remember McGregor has NEVER secured a knock out after the second) then he's got a good chance to go on and take the fight. But can he get through the first two rounds...?

UFC 257: Full fight card

Early preliminary card:

Catchweight (150 lb): Movsar Evloev vs Nik Lentz

Flyweight: Amir Albazi vs Zhalgas Zhumagulov

Preliminary card:

Catchweight: (157 lb): Matt Frevola vs Arman Tsarukyan (called off)

Middleweight: Brad Tavares vs Antonio Carlos Junior

Women’s bantamweight: Julianna Peña vs Sara McMann

Light heavyweight: Khali Rountree Jr vs Marcin Prachnio

Main card:

Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor

Lightweight: Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler

Women’s flyweight: Jessica Eye vs Joanne Calderwood

Women’s strawweight: Marina Rodríguez vs Amanda Ribas

Middleweight: Andrew Sánchez vs Makhmud Muradov
 

Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of UFC 257, with the headline bout being the rematch between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. That's the final fight on the main card, and the main card is scheduled for a 10 p.m. start with four fights. That translates into the Poirier - McGregor fight starting around midnight ET. Of course there's plenty of action before then, with an early preliminary card starting at 7 p.m. and the preliminary card at 8 p.m. 

The bout before Poirier - McGregor is a pretty tasty match-up too, with New Zealand's Dan Hooker taking on Michael Chandler in a lightweight bout. Chandler is coming across from rival MMA organisation Bellator, where he was a former lightweight champion. 

Enjoy the show!

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