By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist
UFC 264 was this past weekend and it featured the highly anticipated rubber match between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. The fight ended in disappointing fashion, which was deflating for fight fans.
GOOD- Sean O’Malley stops Kris Moutinho
Moutinho kept coming forward in the first round like a slasher movie villain absorbing a ton of punishment. There’s no stunt doubles here, though, and he gets dropped late in the round but survives. The second round is more of the same, Moutinho coming forward like Attila in Lionheart. You know, right before he flips the switch and destroys his opponents. That’s not happening here, though. The third round is somehow even more of the same. Moutinho is showing unbelievable toughness here. Either O’Malley is hitting him with pillows or Moutinho is an undead monster incapable of feeling pain. The fight gets stopped in the third after O’Malley lands some huge shots and the referee jumps in to call the fight. I don’t really know what to say here. This got hard to watch, at least according to one of the people I was watching this with. Anyway, good win for O’Malley.
GOOD- Irene Aldana stops Yana Kunitskaya
Aldana peppered Kunitskaya with shots early and often. Aldana dropped her and poured it on with punches and elbows to force the stoppage about four and a half minutes into the first round. Good win for Aldana.
GOOD- Tai Tuivasa stops Greg Hardy
These guys were throwing bombs from the beginning of the fight. Hardy connected with one but Tuivasa took it. Tuivasa connected with one and put Hardy away with a few followup shots a little over a minute into the first round. Good win for Tuivasa.
GOOD/BAD- Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson
I had lowered expectations for this fight from an entertainment perspective. I thought it would be interesting, which it was, but that it would also be kind of dull, which it was. I imagine most people felt this way going in. There were some exciting parts of this fight and some parts that were kind of just there. Burns did pretty well in this fight and that’s why he won the judges decision. Good win for Burns.
UGLY- Dustin Poirer stops Conor McGregor by Injury TKO
They went to the ground fairly early, Poirier wanting to avoid a flash KO by McGregor and also realizing the advantage he has with his grappling. He did some damage then they got back to their feet. That’s when it happened, McGregor broke his left tibia just seconds before the first round ended. Poirier claims it was broken earlier after he checked a legkick from McGregor but Conor said that’s not what happened. Regardless of when it happened, the fight was stopped in between the first and second rounds and McGregor was stretchered out. It appears as though they’ll fight a fourth time as McGregor has already said he wants to run it back and I could see Poirier wanting the extra money he’d get from fighting McGregor again.
McGregor has a long recovery ahead of him so things could change but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which McGregor wins a fourth fight. Poirer was winning this fight before the injury so there’s no reason to believe it would play out differently, especially considering the extended rehab McGregor will need to undergo.
It sucks the fight ended the way it did. You always want to see fights decided in the cage. Injuries are the worst aspect of sports so it’s disappointing to see this fight marred with one. Regardless, this was a good win for Poirier and puts him in line to
challenge UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira next.
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