Key takeaways from UFC 264: McGregor isn't done, but he is finished
UFC 264 featured a violent heavyweight brawl, a backflip, and the unfortunate end of the Conor McGregor/Dustin Poirier trilogy. On top of that, the welterweights showed out with a pair of great performances.
Here’s what we learned from UFC 264.
The appropriate end of Conor McGregor
The worst possible ending to the McGregor/Poirier trilogy transpired in the main event when McGregor’s ankle snapped in the first round. Regardless of the injury, Poirier was well on his way to victory with the injury serving an anti-climactic ending that left the crowd furious, and McGregor’s bratty post-fight interview didn’t help.
McGregor’s broken tibia will keep him out of action for about a year, but there is little doubt McGregor will return. But while Poirier is going on to face lightweight champion Charles Oliveira in the near future, McGregor will now be relegated to a high-priced circus act that gets trotted in when ticket sales need a quick boost.
Burns is still elite at welterweight
Gilbert Burns may have been a minor underdog against Stephen Thompson, but he made Thompson look like an afterthought in a dominant performance. Though he came off of a loss to Kamaru Usman in his last fight, Burns dominated Thompson and nearly finished him in the third round. With the saturation of talent at welterweight, Burns’ performance keeps him high in the rankings and helps his chances of landing an Usman rematch.
A flipping fantastic prelim bout
Many expected the fight of the night to come between Michel Pereira and Niko Price, and they did not disappoint. The welterweight journeymen delivered a clinic on violence, highlighted by Pereira’s backflipping onto Price in the second round.
Pereira would walk away with the decision, but both fighters showed a tremendous amount of respect for the other as they embraced afterwards. If we do get a rematch for this one, it shouldn’t be relegated to the prelims.
A botched stoppage sours Sugar’s win
Sean O’Malley did everything he could to batter, bruise, and dismantle late substitute Kris Moutinho, but he couldn’t break his overmatched foe. Referee Herb Dean unexpectedly stopped the fight in the third in a questionable stoppage. Though Moutinho was outclassed, the stoppage was absolutely unnecessary, and Moutinho deserved the benefit of 30 seconds to go the distance.
The Greg Hardy experiment is over
A throwaway heavyweight fight between Tai Tuivasa and Greg Hardy was an explosive brawl for the 67 seconds it lasted. After it looked like Hardy nailed Tuivasa and was ready to put him out, Tuivasa landed a crushing counter hook to that gave the ex-Carolina Panther an out-of-body experience.
This was a very winnable fight for Hardy, and a victory he absolutely needed to remain relevant. With this being his third loss in five fights, it’s safe to say we’ve seen all there is to see about Hardy’s chances in MMA.