With McGregor breaking his tibia at the end of the first round, the Poirier-McGregor trilogy came to an end. After a dominant first round, Dustin Poirier seemed like he was on his way to another win but then the unfortunate injury cut things short. The series goes to Poirier and now he’s on his way to fight Charles Oliveira for the undisputed UFC Lightweight Championship. The rest of the card was loaded with fighters taking the next step in their UFC career. Let’s take a look at the top takeaways from this weekend’s card
- There seems to be one more chapter left in the Poirier McGregor Series
Although he was winning the first round handily, Dustin Poirier wasn’t able to put the finishing stamp on this fight. With the lack of closure on this fight and the continuation of the trash talk and bad blood, it seems like these guys are destined to throw down in the octagon once more. When it comes to how their paths will intersect again, that’s a much tougher question to answer. Dustin will be on his way to fighting Charles Oliveira for the belt. On the other hand Conor has to recover from this injury and now is coming in 3-4 for his last 7 MMA fights. Conor truthfully is 2-3 wins away from legitimately challenging for UFC Gold once again. But this is Conor McGregor, and he tends to get what he wants. If Dustin Poirier becomes champion and pulls a Kamaru Usman and calls out the money fight with Conor McGregor, we could see this fight again. If not in that manner, we can see this fight in 2-3 years after Dustin might be past his title reign and at 34-35, these guys will still be in great competitive shape. If Dustin fails to win the belt, maybe that’s the next fight for him since it would get him probably the most money out of any fight. Regardless, this rivalry seems far from over and I feel we are bound to see these two grace the octagon once again.
2. Gilbert Burns is one (small) step closer to a shot at UFC Gold
Gilbert Burns was able to solve the puzzle of Wonderboy Thompson in the co-main event of the card, and regardless of Dana White wanting to tout his win as a “boring” one, this sets him one step closer to a rematch with Kamaru Usman. Burns was able to rock Usman in the first round of their first encounter and on his account he claimed to get over-excited chasing the finish. That lead to his ultimate demise, but not without showing he does have the ability to put the champ in danger. Stephen Thompson has some of the best takedown defense and his wide karate stance and unique usage of kicks makes him a hard puzzle to figure out. Burns was able to close the distance and rely on his ground game expertise in route to tying a personal best 3 takedowns. With this win, he shouldn’t need more than another win or two to be able to challenge Usman once again.
3. Sean O’ Malley has to fight a top Bantamweight next
Sean O’Malley and Kris Moutinho put on an absolute show to start off the pay-per-view card. The Sugar Show was in full effect with O’Malley showboating in between strikes and hitting at a near record clip. He landed 230 significant strikes before Herb Dean saw enough. But Kris Moutinho raised his stock just as much in this fight, if not more. He continued to walk O’Malley down even after getting dropped at the end of the first round. He would’ve made it to the scorecards if Dean didn’t waive the fight off but it was more than likely for his own good. This fight showed us that O’Malley is leaps and bounds ahead of someone who is a newcomer and is worthy of a top bantamweight to fight next. Whether it’s Cody Garbrandt, Dominick Cruz, Petr Yan, or “Fob Ront” (His own personal twist on Rob Font) is still yet to be seen
4. Tai Tuivasa is evidence of building your own star
Tai Tuivasa has become beloved by fans because of his famous post fight “shoey”. When he stepped into the arena during his walkout, the crowd erupted for one of the biggest pops of the night. Tai is proof that you can build your own star in the UFC. He’s been interactive with fans on social media and shows the awesome personality he has on top of being a great Heavyweight. It’s in the best interest of the UFC for more of their fighters to understand how to build fandom behind your name. Of course winning will always be number one, but if you’re able to create a community of fans in the UFC, you will have unbound support throughout your career.
5. Michel Periera is our next exciting fighter rising up the ranks
Periera’s fight vs Niko Price was a fight between two of the most exciting, spontaneous fighters there. With this win, he has won 4 of his 6 UFC fights, 5 of 6 if you don’t count his DQ loss vs Diego Sanchez which he was winning handily. He’s proven to be able to do it on the ground and standing up, and his unique style makes him a hard person to imitate in training. With some good competition under his belt like Niko Price and Khaos Williams, it seems like now is the time to put him up against an upper echelon guy in this division. Two guys I feel would be great learning matchups for him would be Carlos Condit, who’s coming off of a loss now or Geoff Neal who is on a slight skid. One thing’s for sure for Periera, his unique fighting style and showmanship in the ring will make him a name to remember.
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