UFC 257 seemed to be the night of the underdog as we saw decisive knockout victories from both the debuting Michael Chandler and the “Diamond” Dustin Poirier. Both of whom were largely written off by the public, with neither expected to pull out the win.
In the Co-Main event, the opening bell rang, and Chandler immediately took the centre of the octagon, putting lots of pressure on Hooker, and forcing him on his heels. Hooker, who was seemingly looking to work through the initial feeling out process, stuck to gauging distance and throwing low calf kicks as he tried to figure out his opponent. However, as Chandler got a feel for the range, he began throwing heavy right hands, forcing Hooker to circle towards his left. As Chandler got a read on this, he through a straight right hand as a range finder while stepping through with his rear leg, changing stances. Knowing that this would force Dan to his left, and now being much closer with the step through, he was in prime position to follow up with a perfectly placed left hook. As Hooker went down, Chandler jumped on him with some heavy ground and pound, forcing the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
With a marquee victory over Dan Hooker, Chandler cements his name in elite of the lightweight division as he pushes for a title fight. Utilizing his time in the spotlight, Chandler made sure to call out the rest of the divisions top contenders, letting them know he had made his arrival and wasn't going anywhere. However, as impressive as his victory was, the man who stole the show was Dustin Poirier.
Unless your name is Khabib Nurmagomedov, when you’re fighting Conor McGregor, you’re bound to be the underdog, something that Dustin Poirier has been called his entire life. Showing the fans of the UFC that he is not a man that should ever be counted out, Poirier executed a perfect game-plan and knocked out the Notorious inside of 2 rounds. As the fight began, Conor pushed to the centre of the octagon backing Dustin up. But, instead of allowing himself to get pressured or get sucked into an exchange with a fresh McGregor, Dustin played it smart and shot in for a takedown putting Conor on the mat. Conor, who has great grappling in his own right, popped back to his feet, but was unable to get back to range. Instead him and Dustin engaged in a clinch battle for the next couple minutes. As the round wound down we saw both men exit the clinch and throw some strikes back and forth, Conor landing some clean left hands and Dustin landing hard low calf kicks.
As the second round opened, we saw more of the same. Conor landing some nice boxing while Dustin continued to land those hard low calf kicks, with the occasional counter punch. While Poirier seemed to eat the shots Conor was landing, Conor was noticeably affected by Dustin’s leg kicks. Unable to put as much weight on his lead leg, Conor’s mobility and ability to throw power shots diminished. As Dustin landed his final heavy leg kick, he must have seen something in Conor, as he unloaded a fury of straight and hooking left and right hands. Conor did his best to bob and weave out of the way, but Poirier was too accurate and too powerful. He dropped Mcgregor along the side of the fence and finished him with a few ground strikes before the referee could save him. With Khabib all but confirmed to be retired, Dustin seems to be the peoples Champ, and he once again showed the world that diamonds are forever.