UFC 264: POIRIER vs. McGREGOR 3 Preview

UFC 264: POIRIER vs. McGREGOR 3 Preview

The UFC is back to the Apex in Las Vegas for the much-anticipated finale of the Poirier vs McGregor trilogy.

 

Diamond in the rough

 

The headline to this event will be a decisive clash between Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and Conor ‘Notorious McGregor, a fight that will conclude their seven-year trilogy.

 

The first time Poirier faced McGregor was in 2014 and the up-and-coming Irishman started the bout frantically, landing numerous jabs in quick succession before executing a strong jab that resulted in a TKO and the referee ending the fight.

 

The second matchup was in January of this year where Poirier adopted a new strategy of executing lethal calf kicks on McGregor in the opening exchanges. Despite this, McGregor won the first round, but the targeted kicks took their toll and with his movement impeded Poirier ruthlessly delivered a flurry of blows that resulted in the referee stopping the fight in the second round.

 

The final fight could go either way with both fighters evenly matched in terms of records – Poirier holding a 27-6 record and McGregor 22-5 – and both have been dominant in the lightweight division for years. UFC 264 has all the makings of a classic UFC contest.

LEGENDARY TRILOGY: DUSTIN POIRIER AND CONOR MCGREGOR LOOK TO FINALLY SETTLE THE SCORE

  • Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) intends to prove that he is the best lightweight in the world
    • Former interim UFC lightweight champion
      • No. 1 ranked lightweight contender
      • No. 6 ranked men’s pound-for-pound
    • 13 wins by KO, seven by submission
    • 12 first-round finishes
    • Holds wins against former UFC champions Conor McGregor, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis
  • Conor McGregor (22-5, fighting out of Dublin, Ireland) seeks to show that he can still compete with the elite of the division
    • Former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion
      • No. 5 ranked lightweight contender
    • 19 wins by KO, one via submission
    • 14 first-round finishes
    • Holds wins against former UFC champions Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway and Jose Aldo

Feel the Burns

 

The co-main features two top-five ranked welterweights as Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns takes on Stephen ‘Wonderboy Thompson.

 

Winning eight of his last 10 fights, Burns will be looking to get himself back into title contention after losing to current champion Kamaru Usman in February. The Brazilian holds a 19-4 record; 14 of those victories were finishes, eight by submission and six via KO. His fight prior to Usman saw him win a five-round masterclass against Tyron Woodley.

 

After winning two consecutive bouts, Thompson will be hoping to keep his momentum going as he bids for a title shot. The American holds a 16-4 record; eight of those wins were finishes, five of those coming via first-round knockout. Wonderboy is known for his ‘wild training’, opting to train outdoors as he believes it improves conditioning and helps maintain a clear head.

WELTERWEIGHTS CONTENDERS: GILBERT BURNS AND STEPHEN THOMPSON CLASH WITH TITLE IMPLICATIONS ON THE LINE

  • Gilbert Burns (19-4, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) plans to return to the title conversation by taking out Thompson
    • No. 2 ranked UFC welterweight contender
      • Former UFC welterweight title challenger
    • Six wins by KO, eight via submission
    • BJJ black belt and multiple-time world champion
    • Holds wins against Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson
  • Stephen Thompson (16-4-1, fighting out of Simpsonville, S.C.) aims to show off his skills and secure another shot at UFC gold
    • No. 4 ranked UFC welterweight contender
      • Former UFC welterweight title challenger
    • One win by submission, seven by KO
    • Five first-round finishes
    • Holds wins against Geoff Neal, Vicente Luque and Jorge Masvidal

Aldana aims to outfox Kunitskaya

 

The bantamweight division is stacked with talent and this fight sees two top-five contenders clash, as #4 ranked Irene Aldana faces #5 ranked Yana ‘Foxy’ Kunitskaya.

 

Aldana has won five of her last seven fights, her last victory coming by first-round knockout over Ketlen Vieira. She has a 12-6 record and has recorded finishes in nine of those victories, six by knockout and three by submission. The Mexican holds a 5-2 record in the division since 2018.

 

This will be Kunitskaya’s second fight of the year after she defeated Ketlen Vieira back in February. The Russian has also won five of her last seven bouts, including her last two consecutively. She has racked up eight finishes in her 14 career wins, seven by KO and one by submission. She started her MMA career in 2009 and specialised in Taekwondo before that.

OTHER FIGHTS ON THE CARD INCLUDE

  • Tai Tuivasa (12-3, fighting out of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia) faces Greg Hardy (7-3 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) in a battle of heavyweight KO artists
  • In a pivotal women’s bantamweight contenders’ bout, No. 4 ranked Irene Aldana (12-6, fighting out of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico) takes on No. 5 Yana Kunitskaya (14-5 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Saint Petersburg, Russia)
  • Sean O’Malley (13-1, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) welcomes UFC newcomer Kris Moutinho (9-4, fighting out of Milford, Mass.) in a bantamweight bout
  • Former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit (32-13, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) hopes to continue his momentum against rising Max Griffin (17-8, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.)
  • Niko Price (14-4 2NC, fighting out of Cape Coral, Fla.) squares off with Michel Pereira (25-11 2NC, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in an all-action welterweight bout
  • Submission ace Ryan Hall (8-1, fighting out of Falls Church, Va.) aims to hand Ilia Topuria (10-0, fighting out of Alicante, Spain) his first career loss in an intriguing featherweight bout
  • Trevin Giles (14-2, fighting out of Houston, Texas) locks horns with Dricus Du Plessis (15-2, fighting out of Pretoria, South Africa) at middleweight
  • Former women’s featherweight title challengers collide when No. 4 ranked contender Jennifer Maia (18-7-1, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) meets No. 7 Jessica Eye (15-9 1NC, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Cleveland, Ohio)
  • No. 13 ranked middleweight contender Omari Akhmedov (21-5-1, Makhachkala, Russia) faces No. 15 Brad Tavares (18-7, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. by way of Kailua, Hawaii)
  • Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-5, fighting out of Aktobe, Kazakhstan) and Jerome Rivera (10-5, fighting out of Santa Fe, N.M.) battle to secure their first UFC victories in a flyweight bout
  • Hu Yaozong (3-2, fighting out of Beijing, China) returns against Alen Amedovski (8-2, fighting out of Rome, Italy) at middleweight

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