LAS VEGAS — Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor will meet for a third time Saturday in the main event of UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena, and a capacity crowd will be on hand for a card here for the first time since March 7, 2020.
Poirier stopped McGregor at UFC 257 in January via a second-round TKO. In 2014 at UFC 178, McGregor knocked out Poirier in under two minutes. This will be one of the most anticipated — and likely the most purchased — trilogy fights in UFC history. On top of the bad blood, UFC president Dana White has said the winner will fight for the UFC lightweight title next against champion Charles Oliveira.
Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) has won two straight and lost just once since 2016, a defeat in a lightweight title fight against undefeated all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov. He is 10-2 (1 NC) since moving up to lightweight from featherweight in 2015. ESPN ranks the 32-year-old Louisiana native No. 2 in the world at lightweight.
McGregor (22-5) is the biggest star in the history of the sport. The Ireland native owns most of the promotion’s pay-per-view records. Forbes recently ranked him as the highest-paid athlete in the world over the past year. Inside the Octagon, McGregor was the first-ever UFC fighter to hold titles in two divisions at the same time, after beating Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in 2016 — while already holding the featherweight belt. McGregor, 32, has just one win and has only fought three times since the Alvarez bout.
In the co-main event, Gilbert Burns and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will face off in a battle of top welterweights. ESPN has Burns ranked No. 4 and Thompson ranked No. 5 in the world at 170 pounds. Burns (19-4), a 34-year-old from Brazil and fighting out of Florida, had a six-fight winning streak snapped in a welterweight title loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 in February. The 38-year-old Thompson (16-4-1), a South Carolina native, has won two straight and has just two losses in his past 14 fights.
Also on the card, top prospect Sean O’Malley takes on debuting, short-notice opponent Kris Moutinho in a bantamweight bout, Irene Aldana and Yana Kunitskaya clash in a women’s bantamweight contender bout and Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Ryan Hall returns to face blue-chipper Ilia Topuria.
Follow along as Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim recap the action or watch on ESPN+ PPV.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 10, 2021
Fight in progress:
Zhumagulov scored a knockdown with a short left hand, and when Rivera tried to wrestle him, the 32-year-old from Kazakhstan clamped on a guillotine that turned into a standing choke that produced his first UFC victory.
Zhumagulov absorbed some early punches and kicks, but when Rivera tried to ramp up the pressure, he paid the price. The end came just 2:02 into Round 1.
What a beautiful standing choke from Zhumagulov! #UFC264
— Herbert Burns (@HerbertBurnsMMA) July 10, 2021
Rivera, who is 26 and from Santa Fe, New Mexico, has lost all four of his UFC fights, all within the past year.
Zhumagulov ended a two-fight losing streak.
Still to come:
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier (27-6 1 NC, 19-5 1 NC UFC, -130) vs. Conor McGregor (22-5, 10-3 UFC, +110)
Welterweight: Gilbert Burns (19-4, 12-4 UFC, +135) vs. Stephen Thompson (16-4-1, 11-4-1 UFC, -160)
Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa (12-3, 5-3 UFC, -135) vs. Greg Hardy (7-3 1 NC, 4-3 1 NC UFC, +115)
Women’s bantamweight: Irene Aldana (12-6, 5-4 UFC, -120) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (14-5 1 NC, 4-2 UFC, +100)
Men’s bantamweight: Sean O’Malley (13-1, 5-1 UFC, -800) vs. Kris Moutinho (9-4, 0-0 UFC, +550)
Welterweight: Carlos Condit (32-13, 9-9 UFC, +160) vs. Max Griffin (17-8, 5-6 UFC, -190)
Welterweight: Niko Price (14-4 2 NC, 6-4 2 NC UFC, +145) vs. Michel Pereira (25-11, 3-2 UFC, -170)
Men’s featherweight: Ryan Hall (8-1, 4-0 UFC, +190) vs. Ilia Topuria (10-0, 2-0 UFC, -230)
Middleweight: Dricus Du Plessis (15-2, 1-0 UFC, -120) vs. Trevin Giles (14-2, 5-2 UFC, +100)
Women’s flyweight: Jessica Eye (15-9 1 NC, 5-8 1 NC UFC, +160) vs. Jennifer Maia (18-7-1, 3-3 UFC, -190)