Dustin Poirier gets back to his winning ways at UFC 281
UFC 281 was truly a special event. Of the 14 fights that went down tonight, 11 ended in finishes, including the last eight-straight. One of those incredible finishes came in our feature bout of the evening between former interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier and former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler.
After Chandler hurt Poirier badly multiple times in the first three or so minutes, Poirier began tagging Chandler up and stunning him repeatedly to finish the round strong. The second was a very clear round for Chandler, as he was able to slam Poirier down to the mat twice and overall just maul him for nearly five minutes, much of it spent with Chandler on Poirier’s back.
Then we had the third and final round, where Poirier was able to take Chandler’s back and sink in the rear naked choke finish, becoming the first man to ever submit the former Bellator champion; former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira even had Chandler’s back and couldn’t submit him.
Poirier stated that he was impressed with Chandler’s toughness and durability tonight at the UFC 281 post-fight press conference:
“His durability surprised me, yeah. I thought that if I hurt him, for sure I’d get him out of there. And I think if I had a couple seconds added to that (first) round I would have got him out of there. But I hit him with a few really good shots that he survived, that was surprising. He gets hurt a lot, and I just thought when I did hurt him I’d get him out of there.”
Poirier continued: “Getting submitted by a rear naked choke in my last fight, you know, coming in here and submitting a former world champion with a rear naked choke, that feels good. “
Poirier was then asked if he had to fight differently tonight, this being his first three round encounter since UFC 211 in 2017:
“I kind of fight like that if it’s a five round fight. I was more worried because after the second, now it’s 1-1, whoever wins this round wins the fight. Usually you have a little more cushion there to get into a rhythm and try to pick the guy apart. It was a little bit more scary.
“Not that I ever take rounds off, but when you’re fighting (in) a three round fight, round one and round two is so important. You have to start off fast.”
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