UFC 264 featured a rematch that fans knew was coming as soon as the loss came to Conor McGregor last January against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. Poirier walked away the victor, but the way it happened was probably not what the UFC was selling.
There was a lot to take away from UFC 264, here are some things that stood out.
In the past, a press conference with McGregor made for some of The Notorious one’s best moments. However, this time around the questions that came, seemed to come more in the form of McGregor worship or dismay from faces that seemed new to the MMA Media space. Many outlets (this one included) still spun out content for almost everything McGregor said about his opponent, but it almost seemed forced from McGregor.
It seemed many people were having issues early in the evening during the prelims. The feed was cut off for many users and with streaming services, that can sometimes be expected but folks watching the ESPN portion at home on cable even saw their screens go black, then cut to a commercial at the start of the Perreira/Price fight. A fight that a lot of fans were looking forward to.
The first UFC event in the T-Mobile Arena since COVID-19 had them make the UFC Apex their base of operations for fight night did go without incident. On the day of the event, the fight between Alen Amedovski and Hu Yaozong was scheduled to be the first preliminary bout of the event. However, it was canceled just hours before taking place due to COVID-19 according to the UFC.
Short Notice No Problem
Kris Moutinho came in on short notice to face Seam O’Malley. UFC fans may not have been aware but Moutinho was preparing for a title fight in August at Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) before the UFC tapped him to face O’Malley. Usually, the fighter in camp for a UFC event wins when they get a short-notice opponent. O’Malley won, but it did not come easy as Moutinho took over 200 headshots from O’Malley and never stopped coming. The fight was stopped, but Moutinho never went down and never stopped coming. Keep an eye out for Moutinho.
Tai Tuivasa made a lot of people happy with his short work of Greg Hardy when he picked up a first-round finish. Hardy’s short time in MMA has always been questioned and while he has picked up some notable wins, Tuivasa tested Hardy’s chin and Hardy failed. “He wanted to bang with me, I’m not the bloke you want to bang with,” Tuivasa told Joe Rogan in the post-fight interview. Hardy did land a shot that shook Tuivasa, but his experience helped him turn things around quickly.
Jiu-Jitsu vs. Karate
Gilbert Burns remains a problem for the top welterweights as he gets back in the win column against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Thompson did his best to apply his reach and karate-based style of fighting but Burns took a page out of UFC 1 and imposed his jiu-jitsu on the striker. Thompson did not get finished as he’s no slouch on the ground either, but Burns did enough to pull off the win. Burns called out Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz after the victory and Masvidal, who was in attendance, seemed to like the idea.
In a fight that many saw Poirier winning, it ended in a freakishly odd turn of events. Leg kicks were the name of the game the second time and McGregor tried to pay back Poirier this time around with some of his own. Several hard leg kicks were thrown and while McGregor says otherwise, Poirier believes it was a check off a leg-kick that started the damage that led to McGregor’s ankle braking. McGregor seems to want another rematch, but with this type of injury, it might be a while before we see him fight anyone.
There’s obviously more to take away from this event than what is listed here. The lightweight picture may be a little clearer with McGregor on the bench, a fresh champion in Charles Oliveira, and Justin Gaethje waiting at the top. It might not have been the ending fans wanted, but it’s what fans got.
What did you take away from the event?