Boy o boy! What an event this was. There were many exciting matchups on this fight card. Let's dive into the breakdown and aftermath of UFC 264. Please note that we will only be discussing the main card.
1) Bantamweight division (Men)
"Sugar" Sean O'Malley KO/TKO (R3, 04:33) vs Kris Moutinho
When Sugar chose Kris Moutinho to fight after his initially planned opponent Louis Smolka pulled out of the fight due to an infection, MMA fans turned on Sugar. The reason being, he chose the easiest fight out of the available opponents. It became obvious once the fight started. O'Malley was hitting Kris Moutinho at will. Although Moutinho was marching forward the entire time and kept Sugar on his back foot, it wasn't enough. Moutinho was absorbing a lot of shots in order to keep moving forward. For someone, who's depending so much on traditional boxing stance to fight, there was a significant lack of head moment by Moutinho. Almost every punch Sugar threw landed. After watching a man take so much punishment and yet moving forward, Herb Dean (Referee) decided to stop the fight and save Moutinho from taking any more unnecessary damage.
2. Bantamweight (Women)
Irene Aldana KO/TKO (R1, 04:35) vs Yana Kunitskaya
To be honest, there isn't much to talk about this fight. It was what it was. Both the fighters are very skilled martial artists but there's a long way ahead for both of them. Yana opened the round with some wild haymakers and kicks. The axe kick in particular was spectacular. However, nothing really connected. Irene landed few shots and busted Yana's nose and that pretty much stopped Yana's flurry. She got slower and sloppy with each minute and eventually got dropped by Irene's left hook and got stopped from all the ground and pound by relentless Irene.
3. Heavyweight (Men)
Tai Tuivasa KO ( R1, 01:07) vs Greg Hardy
This fight was a textbook heavyweight fight. Short, chaotic and thunder. Both men came for a short day at the office and it was obvious from the moment the bell rang. Both came charging at each other like bulls and started exchanging the haymakers. Hardy landed a hard right hand to Tai and which wobbled him but as Hardy went ahead to a backing Tai to finish, a short left jab from the latter switched off the lights of Hardy. It was very reminiscent of Miocic KO by Francis. Hardy landed flat on his back with his eyes rolled into the back. There was no stoppage needed from the referee here.
4. Welterweight (Men)
Gilbert "Dourinho" Burns via Decision (R3, 05:00) vs Stephen "The Wonderboy" Thompson
As the only fight to go the distance from the main card, it was surely worth the wait. It answered a lot of questions for the fans. Stephen Thompson looked really good but his inert weakness to wrestling or ground game was well exposed by Gilbert Burns. For someone, who's been KO'd in his last fight, Burns looked really composed and stuck to his game plan. This fight went exactly as expected yet was exciting. It was always going back and forth, none of the fighters had the clear upper had until the very end. Going into the third round, both fighters had one round each and it all came down to that last round. It looked like Stephen would win the third and last round until Burns landed a big takedown and kept Wonderboy on his back for almost 3 minutes while punching his face and body. The end of round 2 might have given a lot of fans a good deja vu of Don Frye vs Yoshihiro Takayama. Overall, it was a very well matched and entertaining fight.
Dustin "Diamond" Poirier KO/TKO · R1 05:00 vs "The Notorious" Conor McGregor
Brutal. That's the word to sum it up. For as long as it lasted, it was brutal! It was really a dog fight and it felt like the two men were there to kill each other. There was no backing down, there were no calculating punches, there was nothing held back for later rounds. When they threw punches, it wasn't aimed at the face, it was aimed at the back of the skull. Connor opening up with a high spinning kick was a major throwback to prime Connor. Connor looked really good in this fight. The karate stance, low leg kicks, distance control, elbows from the ground and who can forget the guillotine attempt! Nobody in their wildest dream would have imagined Connor would go for a submission attempt. The 5 minutes of the fight were all worth the money. The unfortunate incident at the end of the first round was terrible to watch and hopefully, Conor will be back soon with good health.