It’s main event time at the Etihad Arena. McGregor is first out of the tunnel, walking out to his familiar Notorious BIG medley. Next it’s the determined-looking Poirier, who enters the arena to James Brown’s The Boss.
One fight that didn’t happen as scheduled tonight was the showdown between the unbeaten lightweight Ottman Azaitar and the American Matt Frevola.
That’s because Azaitar was released by the promotion on Friday after his camp violated Covid-19 protocols by bringing an unauthorized guest into the Fight Island bubble.
“He and his team cut their wristbands off and got them to people on the outside, one guy,” UFC president Dana White told MMAJunkie.
“This guy got inside the bubble, went in through a room, shimmied down four balconies, went through his (Azaitar’s) balcony, and dropped off a bag of we don’t know what.
“Then he changed his clothes and went back outside of the bubble. We got everything on camera, we saw the whole thing, how it all went down, pulled his fight and cut him.”
Frevola instead fought Arman Tsarukyan after the Armenian’s original opponent Nasrat Haqparast pulled out due to illness, losing a three-round unanimous decision.
Michael Chandler has made his UFC debut a smashing one, scoring a dramatic first-round technical knockout of Dan Hooker and punctuating it with a backflip off the top of the octagon.
The time of the official stoppage by referee Mark Goddard was 2:30 of the first round.
Afterward, Chandler cut an animated promo in calling out McGregor, Poirier and retired lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
We’ve got one more fight before the main event between McGregor and Poirier: a three-round lightweight bout between title-contending lightweights Dan Hooker and Michael Chandler, who is making his UFC debut after a decade in the rival Bellator promotion. Those fighters are making their ringwalks now.
Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood has won a unanimous decision over Jessica Eye of the US in their three-round women’s flyweight scrap. The scores were 30-27 (twice) and 28-29.
“I like making it hard for myself,” she says. “It’s the Scottish way.”
Calderwood’s sixth win in the UFC could set the stage for a flyweight title shot against Valentina Shevchenko.
Conor McGregor returns to action after a 12-month absence to take on Dustin Poirier in the main event of tonight’s UFC 257 at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena.
McGregor and Poirier first met in a 2014 featherweight bout with the Irishman scoring a knockout win in less than two minutes.
We’re halfway through tonight’s pay-per-view undercard. Here’s what’s happened and here’s what’s coming.
- Women’s Strawweight: Marina Rodriguez def Amanda Ribas by second-round TKO (elbow and punches)
- Middleweight: Makhmud Muradov def Andrew Sanchez by third-round TKO (knee and punches)
- Women’s Flyweight: Jessica Eye v Joanne Calderwood
- Lightweight: Dan Hooker v Michael Chandler
- Lightweight: Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor
Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a preview of tonight’s main event.