Dustin Poirier survives Michael Chandler onslaught to pick up submission win in Fight of the Year contender at UFC 281 – even Khabib Nurmagomedov was Impressed
NEW YORK — Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler put on a classic Saturday during UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden, surprising exactly no one who had ever seen them fight before.
The lightweight bout was fought at a breakneck pace from the opening bell and the momentum switched repeatedly.
Chandler had the advantage early, racing out and hurting Poirier with a big shot. Chandler was all over him in the opening moments, but Poirier is one of the most resilient and smart fighters in the sport.
And though he was facing a powerful, elite opponent, it was inconceivable he’d wilt. And he didn’t. Poirier landed a combination that stunned Chandler and he controlled the remainder of the first round.
Chandler had a big Round 2, though. He was gassed at the end of the first, and Poirier conceded he was shocked at how strong Chandler came out in the second.
Chandler took Poirier down and worked for much of the second for a rear naked choke. At one point, Poirier complained to referee Dan Miragliotta that Chandler stuck his hand in his mouth and pulled his head back.
When the third began, Chandler hoisted Poirier in the air and went to slam him. They went down, but Poirier slipped out between Chandler’s legs and actually got Chandler’s back. He quickly snapped on the rear naked choke that forced Chandler to tap at 2:00 of the third.
A fired up Poirier shouted to the crowd, “I have some jiu-jitsu!”
He did show that indeed, but he said the striking was a battle. Chandler was hitting him hard, he admitted.
“It’s a good thing he throws looping [punches],” Poirier said. “If he threw straight, he’d probably have gotten me out of there.”
They both showed their class in the fight, but Poirier, who is ranked first in the division, is one of those guys who seemingly finds a way to win. And in a lengthy career, he still hasn’t ever lost two in a row
The Diamond’ bounced back from a disappointing lightweight title loss against Charles Oliveira by beating the always-entertaining Michael Chandler at UFC 281.
It was not all plain sailing for Poirier who was eating heavy shots from the first bell and admitted during his post-fight interview that he was on the verge of being taken out by the former three-time Bellator champion.
However, the man who holds two wins over Conor McGregor was able to survive all of Chandler’s attacks on the feet and on the floor before picking up a third-round win.
Poirier got top position in round three after a wild first two frames and was able to quickly work his way to Chandler’s back and lock up a tight rear-naked choke to finish the fight.
After a heated built-up, the two 155lb stars ultimately hugged it out after exchanging some post-fight words in the Octagon about Chandler allegedly using an illegal ‘fishhook’ move.
Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was one of the first people to congratulate Poirier on getting back in the win column at UFC 281.
“Congratulations Dustin It was amazing fight,” he tweeted
‘The Eagle’ famously beat Poirier in a lightweight unification fight in September 2019 before taking out Justin Gaethje and retiring from the sport.
Right now, his protégé Islam Makhachev is the UFC lightweight champion after beating Oliveira to win the vacant title last month.
He’ll now face featherweight king, Alexander Volkanovski, who will look to become the fifth dual-weight champion at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia on February 11.
The Great’ entered the Octagon after UFC 280 to accept Makhachev’s call out for a fight that was officially announced on Saturday afternoon.
After the fight, Poirier admitted that he was nearly finished in the first round.
“Of course [I was hurt], over here against the wall I couldn’t see,” Poirier said. “Good thing he throws looping. If he threw straight he probably would have gotten me out of here.”
The fight was Poirier’s first since losing a bout for the lightweight title against Charles Oliveira by rear-naked choke in December 2021.