Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight human highlight reels Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler went to war tonight (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) on UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card from inside Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.
Poirier, 33, is already among the most exciting and skilled 155-pound contenders ever. His two stoppage victories over Conor McGregor are legendary; however, an undisputed UFC world title has eluded him throughout his storied career. He could earn another opportunity with an emphatic win over Chandler, who has delivered two knockouts and a “Fight of the Year” contender in his short time inside the Octagon.
With Chandler’s hard-hitting “go for broke” style, few folks expected this electric showdown to last the full 15 minutes. And, in the end, it lived up to the lofty pre-fight expectations, with Poirier weathering several bad positions en route to a late submission win (see it).
Chandler whiffed on a big low kick to get the action going, with Poirier switching stances and looking for an opening. Poirier landed a nice shot upstairs early, with Chandler going for a takedown moments later. Chandler with a hard low kick, which Poirier checked. Chandler started to put some punches together, trapping Poirier along the cage, but he was able to circle out. Poirier connected with a few nice straight lefts, with Chandler countering with looping shots from both fists. Poirier continued to work behind his jab, then an inadvertent clash of heads had him peeling off. Chandler bum rushed him with big shots then got the fight to the ground momentarily. Poirier was able to recover and get back to his feet, only to get suplexed backdown to the canvas. He popped off the ground quick and then all hell broke loose, with both fighters going toe-to-toes down the stretch. Poirier turned the tide at the end, busting up Chandler’s face bad and nearly finishing him.
Chandler’s corner team had work to do between rounds after that final minute — his nose appeared to be very broken. Poirier pulled up his shorts and appeared to be the fresher, more confident fighter to start the second stanza. Wisely, Chandler secured a takedown early, scoring points and giving him more time to recover. Chander was in top position, leaking blood all over Poirier, who threw up a triangle off his back but it didn’t materialize. He tried to get back to his feet, but Chandler caught him along the fence and was able to get behind “Diamond.” He tried to sink in a rear-naked choke, but his positioning was bad. Poirier continued to fight the blood-soaked hands of Chandler, angling for a kimura submission from underneath. Chandler had Poirier stuffed at the bottom of the cage, drilling him with hammerfists and hard shots. Poirier was eventually able to get his trapped hand free, but Chandler was still on top of him grinding away, which was how the round ended.
The fight was up in the air heading into the third and final round, with Poirier’s corner urging their fighter to remain upright. Poirier was firing straight lefts, with Chandler playing keep away early. Chandler went for a lazy single-leg and Poirier bounced his fist of his forehead. Chandler went for a slam moments later and Poirier was able to reverse the position and ended up behind “Iron” in the scramble. Poirier attempted to lock in a rear-naked choke and Chandler initially tried to stop it before rolling to his side. The choke was in deep and Chandler had no choice but to tap ... or nap.
What a fight — as advertised!
With division champion, Islam Makhachev, booked for a “super” fight against Featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski, at UFC 284 on Feb. 11, 2023 (details here), it’s safe to assume that an official No. 1 contender eliminator bout is on deck.