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Dustin Poirier was the better man the second time around.
The American Top Team mainstay avenged his 2014 defeat to Conor McGregor and did so in style, as he punched out the former two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder in the second round of their UFC 257 headliner on Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Poirier (27-6, 19-5 UFC) closed the deal 2:32 into Round 2, becoming the first man to stop the Irishman with strikes.
McGregor (22-5, 10-3 UFC) was forced to play defense from the start. Poirier executed an early takedown, trapped the SBG Ireland star in the clinch and chipped away at his base with repeated kicks to his lower leg. McGregor connected well on the counter and backed up the Louisiana native with a few power punches but never managed to get his feet under him. Poirier continued to assault his leg in the second round, pinned him to the fence once it became clear he was compromised and let his lethal hands go. A right hook sent McGregor crashing to the canvas, where he was met with a volley of follow-up punches that finished him off.
Debuting Chandler Obliterates Hooker
Three-time Bellator MMA champion Michael Chandler made a sensational Octagon debut, as he cut down Dan Hooker with punches in the first round of their lightweight co-main event. Hooker (20-10, 10-6 UFC) bowed out 2:30 into Round 1, suffering his second straight defeat.
Chandler (22-5, 1-0 UFC) ate a few hard leg kicks, closed the distance, cut loose with a right hand to the body and leveled the City Kickboxing star with a left hook upstairs. He pounced on the fallen Hooker in a kneeling position and fired away with right hands until the job was done.
The 34-year-old Chandler will carry a three-fight winning streak into his next assignment.
Calderwood Clinch Sinks EyeSyndicate MMA standout Joanne Calderwood unleashed punches, elbows and knees from the clinch, as she took a unanimous decision from Jessica Eye in a featured flyweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it for Calderwood (15-5, 7-5 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Eye (15-9, 5-8 UFC) engaged “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 quarterfinalist at close range, only to be met by a ferocious offensive onslaught from the soft-spoken Scotswoman. Calderwood also did plenty of damage from a distance, connecting with penetrating jabs and sneaky right hooks, along with occasional front kicks to the face, body and legs. She provided Eye with a permanent reminder of her work in the waning moments of Round 3, where she opened a cut on her left brow with a well-placed knee strike.
Calderwood, 34, has won four of her last six bouts.
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Surging Muradov Stops Sanchez
Monster Gym representative Makhmud Muradov put away “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23 winner Andrew Sanchez with punches in the third round of their middleweight feature. Sanchez (12-6, 5-4 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:59 into Round 3.
Muradov (25-6, 3-0 UFC) was menacing and methodical. He tore into Sanchez’s lower lead leg with kicks throughout the first round, wobbled him with a pair of right hands at the end of the second and hit the accelerator in the third. There, Muradov cracked the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion with an overhand right behind the ear that had him stumbling in the center of the cage. He followed with a flying knee, pushed him to the fence and let both hands fly until referee Jason Herzog had seen enough to call for a standing TKO.
The 30-year-old Muradov has now rattled off 14 straight victories.
Rodriguez Stuns Favored Ribas
Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Marina Rodriguez put away former Jungle Fight champion Amanda Ribas with punches in the second round of their strawweight showcase. Rodriguez (13-1-2, 3-1-2 UFC) drew the curtain 54 seconds into Round 2, as she rebounded from her split decision defeat to Carla Esparza in July.
Ribas (10-2, 4-1 UFC) secured a takedown and controlled much of the first round from top position. Her luck changed in an instant in the second. There, she walked into a counter right hook from Rodriguez, faceplanted and continued to eat punches while referee Herb Dean hovered above. Dean appeared to make contact with Rodriguez but did not call for the stoppage, leading to a momentary pause. She then resumed her assault on the still wobbly Ribas, connected with another thudding right and forced Dean to act.
The setback snapped Ribas’ five-fight winning streak.
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