Updated July 11, 2021 - 12:17 am
Conor McGregor barely survived an onslaught of punches from lightweight Dustin Poirier at the end of the first round of Saturday night’s UFC 264 main event at T-Mobile Arena.
His leg did not.
McGregor’s left shin was broken, a UFC offical told the Review-Journal, as he planted to throw a punch with about 10 seconds remaining in the opening round. Poirier dropped him before following it up with a barrage. When the bell rang and Poirier retreated to his corner, McGregor stayed down.
Ringside physicians immediately recommended referee Herb Dean stop the fight. Poirier was awarded a knockout victory in front of former President Donald Trump and a plethora of A-List stars.
He now has two wins over McGregor in 2021 after losing the first meeting in 2014.
“This is not over,” McGregor said as he conducted an interview as medical personnel treated his ankle. “If I have to take this outside with him, I will.”
Poirier believes McGregor was hurt early in the first round on a checked leg kick and the injury was aggravated by the missed punch.
He also thought McGregor employed some dirty tactics in addition to the nasty trash talk leading up to the fight.
“This guy is a dirtbag,” Poirier said. “And everybody booing me can kiss my whole (expletive).”
Both fighters exchanged leg kicks early in the fight, with Poirier landing two left hands that prompted McGregor to clinch. McGregor turned the position into a guillotine, but Poirier escaped. They traded big elbows on the ground before the fight returned to the feet in the final minute.
Poirier’s late barrage nearly had referee Herb Dean stepping in to stop the fight before McGregor was saved by the bell.
“I beat the guy,” Poirier said.
In the co-main event, Gilbert Burns outpointed Stephen Thompson in a matchup of former welterweight title challengers.
Burns did his best to avoid prolonged exchanges in the center of the cage with Thompson, one of the division’s most dynamic strikers.
Burns has now won seven of his last eight fights, with the lone loss coming against champion Kamaru Usman in a title fight.
After the victory, Burns declined to call out Usman for a rematch. He identified Jorge Masvidal as a potential opponent instead.
“But anybody can get it,” he said.
Heavyweight Tai Tuivasa won his third straight fight by making quick work of former NFL Pro Bowler Greg Hardy.
Hardy absorbed several leg kicks early before coming forward and landing two big right hands only to get caught with a crushing left that dropped him.
The fight was waved off at 1:07 of the opening round.
Tuivasa, who walked to the cage to the Spice Girls hit “Wannabe,” delighted the crowd by immediately climbing the cage and filling a shoe with a beer and drinking it. As Tuivasa returned to the locker room after the win, he obliged several fans who offered him beer-filled shoes.
“I wanted to hit him,” Tuivasa said of the much-maligned Hardy. “After I saw him afterwards, he had a few bumps and bruises. He deserved them. I knew I could take care of Greg Hardy. He got what he deserved.”
Rising star Sean O’Malley unceremoniously welcomed newcomer Kris Moutinho to the UFC by landing 230 strikes, including 177 to the head, in just over 14 minutes of action. He landed an absurd 72 percent of his significant strike attempts.
The 230 strikes landed set a bantamweight record for a three-round fight and was second overall to the 238 landed by Nate Diaz against Donald Cerrone.
Referee Herb Dean mercifully stopped the bantamweight bout with 27 seconds remaining after O’Malley snapped Moutinho’s head back with several punches, prompting boos from the crowd as Moutinho was still standing.
“I didn’t think he’d be that tough, honestly,” O’Malley said. “(He took the fight on) 11 days notice. It was insane how many shots he could take. He said, ‘You’re tired,’ and I said, ‘Hell yeah, I’m tired.’ I just kept hitting him in the face.
“I think if I had put his lights out right away, it wouldn’t have been the same statement.”
Also on the main card, women’s bantamweight contender Irene Aldana knocked down Yana Kunitskaya and finished her with a series of punches on the ground.
Aldana may be in line for another shot at the belt, but she missed weight by 3.5 pounds on Friday.
Results of Saturday night’s card at T-Mobile Arena
Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor, TKO, first round (5:00), lightweights
Gilbert Burns def. Stephen Thompson, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), welterweights
Tai Tuivasa def. Greg Hardy, KO, first round (1:07), heavyweights
Irene Aldana def. Yana Kunitskaya, KO, first round (4:35), catchweight (139.5 pounds)
Sean O’Malley def. Kris Moutinho, KO, third round (4:33), bantamweights
Max Griffin def. Carlos Condit, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) welterweights
Michel Pereira def. Niko Price, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), welterweights
Ilia Topuria def. Ryan Hall, KO, first round (4:47), featherweights
Dricus du Plessis def. Trevin Giles, KO, second round (1:41), middleweights
Jennifer Maia def. Jessica Eye, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), women’s flyweights
Brad Tavares def. Omari Akhmedov, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), middleweights
Zhalgas Zhumagulov def. Jerome Rivera, submission, first round (2:02), flyweights