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UFC’s lightweight division faces big decisions after shocking UFC 257

Four lightweight had an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on UFC President Dana White and matchmakers on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi during UFC 257.

Lightweights Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler stole the show with two knockout victories in the main event and co-main events respectively.

Number two-ranked Poirer (27-6) scored a second-round technical knockout win over No. 4-ranked Conor McGregor (22-5) in the main event of UFC 257 Saturday, Jan. 23.

The main event took place nearly seven years after the pair’s first meeting where McGregor came away with a first-round knockout less than two minutes into the bout.

This time around things were much different.

Early in the first round, Poirier showcased his wrestling skills, taking his opponent down before McGregor was able to get his back against the fence.

While standing against the cage, McGregor implemented his new signature shoulder strikes to which Poirer responded with some of his own.

When separated from the cage, both fighters engaged in boxing exchanges.

Poirier made great use of front leg kicks in an effort to immobilize McGregor.

The immobilization worked as an early leg kick in the second round caused the former two-division champion’s leg to buckle.

Once faced with a still McGregor, Poirier was able to pick his shots, unleashing combination after combination before dropping his opponent.

Poirier pounced on McGregor for the finish a little over two and a half minutes into the round, marking the first time in his mixed martial arts career he was knocked out.

Following the fight, Poirier motioned to the cameras that the series is “1-1,” while having his hand raised after his performance of the night outing.

While acknowledging that the division is without a champion following the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Poirier crowned himself the belt holder citing himself and McGregor as the best two in the division.

Nurmagomedov owns a victory over both men.

While gracious in defeat, McGregor noted there’s no substitute for live competition citing a long layoff.

He added he’d still like to remain active throughout the remainder of the year.

After long speculation about when he’d come over to the UFC, former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler scored a performance of the night bonus in his debut in the promotion.

Chandler (22-5) flashed for a knockout finish over No. 6 Dan Hooker (20-10) two and a half minutes into the co-main event of UFC 257.

From the early going, Chandler quickly began stalking Hooker forcing his opponent into the outer ring of the octagon.

While circling, Chandler went low to the body right a right hand and finished over the top with a left hook catching Hooker across the mouth.

Chandler sprawled the takedown attempt from a dazed Hooker and finished the fight with punches on the ground.

After the fight, he said it was the greatest day of his professional career before calling out both Poirier and McGregor.

In addition to calling out the two main event fighters, Chandler threw his name into the possible opponents for a return match for Nurmagomedov if he were to come out of retirement.

Earlier in the main card, No. 7 flyweight Joanne Calderwood earned a unanimous decision win over No. 6 flyweight Jessica Eye.

Immediately after the fight, she was asked if she believed a shot at Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko was next in her sights.

While downplaying the speculation, Calderwood expressed interest in the opportunity while also noting if the UFC brass wants her to fight “10 other girls” she’d do it.

Calderwood previously had an opportunity at the title be postponed due to a knee injury suffered by the champion.


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