Prominent lightweights Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will have their tiebreaker fight on Saturday, facing off for their trilogy bout. The five-round grudge match will headline UFC 264, which is set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the card.
Early Prelims (6:15PM EDT / 3:15PM PDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 5:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (PPV)
Bout 12: Dustin Poirier (27-6) vs. Conor McGregor (22-5) (Lightweight)
Poirier Defeats McGregor In Trilogy Bout Following First-Round Leg Injury
A debilitating leg injury to Conor McGregor put an end to his trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier at the conclusion of the first round. McGregor’s injury came late in the first round, as his leg became visibly disjoined and caused him to collapse after backing up from a striking exchange.
McGregor’s fall came just moments before the opening round concluded. The call to end the fight came between the first and the second round due to the injury.
McGregor remained seated in the UFC octagon for numerous minutes after the finish, audibly in pain due to his injury.
Poirier made the claim afterward that McGregor’s injury could have come from a leg kick that was thrown at him.
“I felt something [crack],” said Poirier in his post-fight interview.
Poirier had a strong performance in the first round before McGregor’s injury called an end to the battle.
McGregor started the fight strong with leg kicks, although Poirier was able to answer back with his own shots. Poirier was able to crack McGregor in the second minute with a combo of punches, which turned out to be his best moment in stand-up exchanges.
McGregor decided to pull guard in the first round after attempting a guillotine choke. Poirier escaped the choke on the ground and took full guard on top. Both fighters scored elbows from the position, although Poirier landed harder shots and was also able to posture up to land more impactful blows.
The trilogy series between McGregor and Poirier had its first bout numerous years back before picking up earlier this year.
McGregor scored his first win in the rivalry back in 2014, stopping Poirier within a round in a featherweight fight.
Poirier evened the score earlier this year, piecing together a series of strikes that finished McGregor in the second round of a five-round fight.
Bout 11: Gilbert Burns (19-4) vs. Stephen Thompson (16-4-1) (Welterweight)
Burns Uses Wrestling For Bounce-Back Win Against Thompson
Gilbert Burns showed his wrestling skills in a unanimous decision victory over Stephen Thompson during Saturday’s co-main event (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Thompson succeeded with some striking on the feet, although Burns was able to shut him down at moments with takedowns.
Burns controlled a large portion of the opening round with a takedown, getting Thompson down and keeping him down. Thompson returned to his feet late in the round, where Burns exploded forward with a combo of punches.
Burns scored another takedown late in the second round, using that position to land a flurry of punches from half guard. Both fighters had success on the feet earlier in the round as well.
In what was the best moment of the fight for Thompson, he dropped Burns two minutes into the final round with a spinning back kick to the head. After evading follow-up shots from Thompson, Burns slowed the momentum with a clinch position that eventually earned him a takedown.
Burns was appearing for the first time since losing to UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman earlier this year.
Thompson won a five-round fight in his prior fight, fighting Geoff Neal late last year.
Bout 10: Tai Tuivasa (12-3) vs. Greg Hardy (7-3) (Heavyweight)
Tuivasa Floors Hardy With Left Hook For Win
Tai Tuivasa continued his strong run up the heavyweight division with a first-round stoppage win over Greg Hardy on Saturday night.
Tuivasa connected with a hard left hook while backing up, flattening Hardy on his back. Tuivasa scored with a few more shots on a defenseless Hardy on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
Tuivasa got seemingly clipped by a punch moments before the finishing sequence, causing Hardy to come forward with aggression.
“He wanted to bang with me, I’m not the right guy to bang with,” said Tuivasa in his post-fight interview.
Embracing his tradition of doing a “shoey” after wins, Tuivasa hopped on the cage after his win and chugged a beer out of a shoe. He performed two more “shoeys” on his way backstage using the shoes of fans.
Hardy has now lost his past two fights. He was finished in his previous fight as well, being stopped by Marcin Tybura last year.
Bout 9: Irene Aldana (12-6) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (14-5) (Bantamweight)
Aldana Lands Left Hook, Stops Kunitskaya On The Ground
Irene Aldana got back to her winning ways with a first-round stoppage over Yana Kunitskaya, landing ground and pound to finish the fight.
Aldana’s breakthrough moment in the fight was when she dropped Kunitskaya with a left hook halfway through the first round. She was able to follow up with punches on the ground, eventually scoring with a series that caused the referee to stop the fight.
Aldana a decision in her prior showcase, dropping a decision to Holly Holm in October. The bout was Aldana’s first-ever UFC main event, being put in the position after a two-fight winning streak in 2019.
Kunitskaya had a two-fight winning streak broken on Saturday.
Bout 8: Sean O’Malley (13-1) vs. Kris Moutinho (9-4) (Bantamweight)
O’Malley Puts Away Tough Newcomer Moutinho In Final Minute
Sean O’Malley had a dominating win over tough UFC newcomer Kris Moutinho to kick off the main card, stopping him in the final minute of action due to a high flurry of strikes.
The constant pressure from O’Malley did visible damage to Moutinho and caused referee Herb Dean to end the fight in its final minute.
The finish came after a near one-sided battle through 14 minutes.
Moutinho was aggressive at the start, coming forward at O’Malley. Comfortable with the pressure, O’Malley was able to connect with jabs and leg kicks from his backfoot, sometimes taunting in the process.
Moutinho ate a large number of the strikes throughout the first round, although he continued to come forward and land shots. O’Malley scored a knockdown late in the first round with punches, doing damage that had Moutinho clearly rocked in-between rounds.
The pace of the fight slowed down in the second and third round. Moutinho continued to march forward later in the fight, although he kept getting met with punches by O’Malley.
O’Malley now has six wins through seven fights in the UFC. His previous bout was in March, where he stopped Thomas Almeida in the third round with strikes after a dominant showing.
Moutinho took the fight on short notice, replacing Louis Smolka. He was a surprising new opponent for O’Malley, as numerous big names inside and outside the UFC had called him out last week. The CES and CFFC alum last fought earlier this year, submitting former Bellator fighter Andrew Salas.
Bout 7: Max Griffin (17-8) vs. Carlos Condit (32-13) (Welterweight)
Griffin Earns Third Straight Win, Defeats Veteran Condit
Max Griffin continued his win streak with a victory over a veteran on Saturday, defeating Carlos Condit via split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27).
Griffin had a perfect start to the fight, keeping a high output of strikes on Condit. He scored with leg kicks throughout the round and was able to drop Condit late in the frame with punches.
Condit was able to take control of the fight in the second round as the pace slowed down significantly.
Griffin was able to secure a second round on scorecards late in the fight, showing the ability to connect on the feet and land a takedown late.
Condit, a UFC veteran of over a decade, had a two-fight winning streak snapped in the appearance. Griffin mentioned his appreciation for Condit afterward.
“I used to look up to him. I still do. I had to turn off my fan of him,” said Griffin in his post-fight interview.
Griffin is now on a three-fight winning streak. His two previous wins were via stoppage, including a first-round win against Song Kenan from March.
Bout 6: Niko Price (14-4) vs. Michel Pereira (25-11) (Welterweight)
Pereira Moves Win Streak To Three With Decision Win
Early striking from Michel Pereira earned him a unanimous decision victory over Niko Price (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Pereira had the stronger start to the fight, scoring with sharp strikes over Price in the first two rounds.
Pereira spent a portion of the second round in full guard over Price. He took the position after doing one of his famous backflips – catching a leg on the head of Price on the way down, which was a foul that went uncalled.
Price started to connect at a higher volume late in the second round after Pereira’s fatigue started to play into the fight. Price’s attempt to catch up in a losing fight didn’t work, as he earned the final round on scorecards but did not get the nod.
Price was aggressive throughout the final round, walking down Pereira and connecting with a high volume of punches.
Price is now out of the win column for three consecutive bouts, with a no contest and a loss in his previous fights.
Bout 5: Ryan Hall (8-1) vs. Ilia Topuria (10-0) (Featherweight)
Topuria Extends Undefeated Streak, Gives Hall Returning Loss
Ilia Topuria spoiled the return of mysterious grappler Ryan Hall on Saturday, capitalizing on a ground position to stop him in the first round with punches.
The finish came after Hall went to the ground and missed with a spinning backfist. Topuria was able to find a dominant position over Hall on the ground, trapping an arm of Hall while in side control. From that position, he landed a series of punches that hurt Hall and finished their fight.
Hall spent most of the fight trying to get Topuria to the ground, rolling on the ground and attempting to avoid striking exchanges. Topuria was able to hurt him on the feet during the round as well.
The fight was Hall’s return to action after nearly two years on the sidelines. He has been somewhat inactive throughout his UFC run, having previously won four fights since joining the promotion in 2015.
Topuria’s undefeated MMA career now has three wins. He had a stoppage victory in his previous fight as well, defeating Damon Jackson in December.
Bout 4: Dricus Du Plessis (15-2) vs. Trevin Giles (14-2) (Middleweight)
Du Plessis Continues Explosive UFC Run
Dricus Du Plessis showed his powerful striking on the prelims, dropping Trevin Giles in the second round with a right cross for the win.
Du Plessis connected with the punch after missing with a left jab. He then landed a few shots on the ground before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
The fight was close prior to the finish, as Giles and Du Plessis had close striking and quick scrambles on the ground.
Du Plessis now has two wins in the UFC. The former KSW Welterweight Champion won his promotional debut in October, stopping Markus Perez within a round with strikes.
The bout snapped a three-fight winning streak of Giles. He had earned a win earlier this year over previously undefeated Roman Dolidze, defeating him on scorecards.
Bout 3: Jennifer Maia (18-7-1) vs. Jessica Eye (15-9) (Flyweight)
Maia Bounces Back With Decision Win
Jennifer Maia returned to the win column with a unanimous decision win over Jessica Eye (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27). The victory came after a hectic three-round striking battle on the feet.
Maia and Eye had a high output of punches throughout, throwing and connecting frequently. Statistics showed that the fighters had a similar volume of strikes through three rounds.
A large cut opened on the forehead of Eye late in the second round due to an accidental clash of heads. While the cut was large and caused lots of bleeding, a doctor stoppage did not happen.
The win was Maia’s first after losing a five-round title fight to Valentina Shevchenko last year.
Bout 2: Omari Akhmedov (21-5-1) vs. Brad Tavares (18-6) (Middleweight)
Tavares Secures Decision Win Over Akhmedov
Brad Tavares scored a close victory on the prelims, earning a split decision over Omari Akhmedov after three rounds (29-28 Akhmedov, 29-28 Tavares & 29-28 Tavares).
The striking of Tavares and the ability to stop the wrestling from Akhmedov was what earned him the victory.
Tavares had the edge in the striking, although Akhmedov was able to land his own shots as well. Tavares started to out-land Akhmedov eventually, scoring with punches and leg kicks.
Akhmedov was able to secure takedowns during the fight, however, Tavares was able to stuff some attempts and stay down for short periods of time.
Tavares snapped a two-fight losing streak earlier this year by defeating Antonio Carlos Junior. He is now on a two-fight winning streak just after celebrating a decade in the UFC.
Akhmedov scored a submission win in his previous appearance, submitting Tom Breese in January.
Bout 1: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-5) vs. Jerome Rivera (10-5) (Flyweight)
Zhumagulov Applies Standing Submission For First UFC Win
Zhalgas Zhumagulov earned his first UFC win in abrupty fashion to open the main card, catching Jerome Rivera early with a standing guillotine choke. Zhumagulov capitalized on a takedown attempt by Rivera in the second mintue, applying the submission while stuffing the wrestling of Rivera.
Rivera tapped out to the choke to finish the fight in the third minute.
Zhumagulov now has a win in the UFC octagon. His two previous fights in the promotion saw him lose via decision.
Following the fight, Rivera remained winless in the UFC and has lost four consecutive bouts. His run in the promotion has been quick, as he only joined the UFC in September of 2020.
Amedovski vs. Hu Departs Prelims
The opening bout for the UFC 264 undercard was removed from the show on Saturday afternoon. A middleweight fight between Hu Yaozong and Alen Amedovski was removed from the card due to COVID-19 protocols, per Marc Raimondi of ESPN.
COVID-19 protocol affected Amedovski’s team, per the report.
Both fighters were looking to earn their first UFC victory in the matchup. Hu was set to make his first appearance since 2018.
The card is set to proceed with 12 fights in total now.