UFC 264: Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor III – The Breakdown


Personally, I don’t imagine it’s fallacious to recommend that it was virtually a foregone conclusion in McGregor’s thoughts that he would discover the goal in fairly well timed style towards Poirier in January on ‘Combat Island’. And, fact be advised, he did. I additionally recommend that it was a foregone conclusion within the thoughts of McGregor that Poirier would finally succumb to strikes, akin to September 2014. Nevertheless, that’s the place we should pump the brakes. 

Regardless of catching notable counters from Poirier, notably a masterful quick, examine proper hook from the Lafayette native as he overextended himself once in a while — it appeared to the watchful eye a minimum of, that McGregor was in not simply respectable nick on the first buzzer, but in addition touchdown the extra impactful photographs — upstairs a minimum of.

Two flooring decrease, and Poirier was slowly organising the finally starting of the tip for the Crumlin counter striker. Inside let’s say, 20-seconds or so of the primary spherical, Poirier had dug twice into the calf of McGregor with very heavy kicks because the latter walked into vary. And from these two actually noticeable strikes, the Louisianan continued to place cash within the financial institution up and till halfway by way of body two.

As identified quite a few instances since by Poirier himself, whereas these calf kicks have been pertinent in his profitable rematch towards McGregor — that’s not what stopped the struggle. Positive, the final calf assault that landed appeared to essentially have an effect on the previous two-weight champion, but it surely’s the squaring up, stance change proper hand from Poirier as he circles his again from the fence, which instantly put McGregor on his heels and results in the eventual stoppage by way of a prolonged barrage. 

One other actual notable change that led to Poirier’s favour got here with lower than a minute remaining within the first spherical. As soon as extra pressured to struggle off the fence towards the plodding McGregor, Poirier blocked a jab as McGregor moved into vary, earlier than slipping a patented straight left, and while blocking that nearly upward trajectory uppercut-come hook from McGregor’s proper hand — clipped along with his personal examine proper hook because the latter overextended. It was telling. Poirier factors in glee. McGregor shakes his head in denial.

September seventeenth. 2016; the final time Dustin Poirier was completed by strikes in skilled combined martial arts. In opposition to the usually unorthodox and considerably herky-jerky and unnatural hanging of Michael Johnson, Poirier was countered with a large proper hook virtually halfway by way of the primary spherical, sending him whipping again to the canvas.

Within the time since, the Lafayette favorite has established a cool 8-1 (1) file within the light-weight division — along with his sole loss coming towards common-foe, Khabib Nurmagomedov.  Amongst that constructive profitable file, you’ll discover 5 former champions. McGregor, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis. It’s an actual murderers row for the timeframe at 155lbs — and towards among the extra dynamic and notably punishing punchers at light-weight, Poirier emerged victorious towards all 5.

It’s a testomony to Poirier’s choice to maneuver from featherweight to light-weight. Outdoors of his knockout to Johnson in addition to some notable flurries towards Dan Hooker in June of final yr, Poirier actually has absorbed some important strikes at 155lbs — with out greater than a readjustment, a minimum of on the floor, it seems. And that actually makes me query, if even somebody of McGregor’s energy and placement output might even cease Poirier at light-weight. 

It’s fairly fascinating — normally, you may — perhaps not decide outright, however a minimum of give an informed guess as to how a outstanding striker would discover themselves on the receiving finish of a end on the toes. However in relation to Poirier, I’m unsure quantity hanging is the reply. And I’m not keen to hedge bets that one, large shot would put the brakes on his will both. 

Lots has been fabricated from Poirier’s use of calf kicks within the January re-run, in addition to McGregor’s boxing-oriented, flat-footed, southpaw stance, which left him massively vulnerable to these offensive strikes, with many suggesting a return to a stance which he utilized towards the likes of Diego Brandao, Jose Aldo, Dennis Siver, Eddie Alvarez, and even Poirier seven years in the past to try to disguise a few of his personal attacking choices. 

In opposition to the likes of Chad Mendes, Alvarez, and even on events towards Nurmagomedov, McGregor had some diverse success with physique strikes by way of his again leg — notably with entrance kicks. Within the time since, towards Nate Diaz, past leg kicks early, and for so long as his struggle with Donald Cerrone lasted, regardless of the high-kick, and even this yr’s rematch with Poirier, an actual, fleshed out kicking recreation has actually been deserted. 

Not solely does the implementation of kicks, notably entrance variations and roundhouse strikes differ McGregor’s assault, but it surely additionally forces him to be lots lighter on his toes and his southpaw lead particularly, in a bid to swivel, pivot, and cargo his hips. The saying goes, Don’t neglect what obtained you to the dance — and whereas kicking isn’t McGregor most deadly weapon, it a minimum of obtained him to the entrance door of the ballroom.

Even when McGregor struggles with impactful strikes from his decrease limbs, particularly to the physique or the top of Poirier — the implementation of not essentially a kick-heavy strategy, however extra so the willingness to try kicks forces a light-footed strategy, which in flip goes hand in hand along with his famend distance administration. 

For the success he had within the hanging exchanges towards Poirier, I’m nonetheless between two minds as to if the latter could be faraway from a struggle by way of strikes on the light-weight restrict. Positive, Johnson managed that feat 5 years in the past, however since then, even when confronted with sure fear towards Holloway, Gaethje, and Hooker specifically, he by no means actually appeared on the point of insensate.

Given the very fact Poirier managed to soak up McGregor’s heavier strikes following a prolonged interval of clinch work in January, that may solely assist develop and provides him confidence from the onset of this weekend’s rubber match. 
I picked McGregor to finally change Poirier off in January, and admittedly, I believed the shot which has put so many down earlier than then would discover it’s residence, however alas, we’ve obtained a pivotal rubber match within the desert on July tenth.

Senior author for FightBook MMA. An aspiring combined martial arts reporter based mostly in Eire. Producer of reports articles, interviews, opinion options, and unique options equivalent to, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.


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