LAS VEGAS -- Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor combined for five minutes of fury to open their pay-per-view trilogy fight on Saturday headlining UFC 264. That was until a left ankle injury to McGregor in the closing seconds of Round 1 brought an abrupt end to the fight.
Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) was credited with the victory via first-round TKO after McGregor (22-6), who finished the opening round sitting against the cage wall while absorbing punches, was unable to continue. McGregor had attempted a two-punch combination in the final 10 seconds but landed wrongly on his left foot causing his ankle to turn.
The pro-McGregor crowd inside T-Mobile Arena booed the outcome given how unforeseen it was following an explosive first round. Early speculation was that McGregor's ankle was broken and Poirier later said he believed McGregor initially bruised it after landing an early kick. UFC president Dana White later confirmed that McGregor suffered a lower tibia injury to his left leg.
"He fractured it on one of the checks at the beginning of the fight, then it broke on a punch, for sure," Poirier said. "I pointed at him at the beginning of the fight, that's when I checked a kick, that's when it cracked. It was probably cracked and then something twisted with the punch."
McGregor, 32, who did the post-fight interview while still seated against the cage wall, vehemently exclaimed that Poirier's victory did nothing to end their rivalry.
"This is not over!" McGregor said. "I was boxing the bleeding head off him, kicking the bleeding leg off.
"This is not over. If I have to take this outside for him, it's all outside, I don't give a bollocks!"
An aggressive McGregor relied much more on movement and kicks to take the role of aggressor from the start. He missed a spinning back kick to open things up but was successful landing front kicks to the body.
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Poirier, 32, countered nicely with the same calf kicks he used in their January rematch to score a second-round TKO that evened the series, which also included a first-round TKO from McGregor in their 2014 featherweight bout.
The action began to heat up midway through the round when McGregor landed a two-punch combination and Poirier countered with a huge left hook that sent McGregor stumbling back.
"He did hit me with a good cross, just like the last fight. I didn't see it and he clipped me and I was a little buzzed," Poirier said.
McGregor shot for a takedown -- despite his insults at Poirier for doing the same in their rematch -- and eventually was put on his own back by Poirier after a standing clinch. But McGregor nearly submitted Poirier with a surprising guillotine attempt that got the crowd going.
Poirier escaped the choke attempt and took over top position. That's when the fight became more wild as Poirier landed big elbows from top position only to be countered by McGregor with some of his own from his back, while mixing in a pair of upkicks.
"[McGregor] was putting his fingers in my gloves and pulling me down to throw the upkicks," Poirier said. "This guy's a dirtbag, man. Everybody booing, you can kiss my whole assh-le."
McGregor applied a second guillotine attempt but couldn't hold it and Poirier closed their action on the ground by rising up to land a nasty flurry of big shots. McGregor rallied to stand but fell in the closing seconds when he turned his left ankle and Poirier jumped in with hammer fists until the horn.
"It sucks, it's brutal and it's not the way you want to see fights end," White said after the fight. "Dustin Poirier will fight for the title and when Conor is healed and ready to go, we'll do the rematch.
"Listen, the fight didn't get finished. You can't have a fight finish that way. We'll see how this whole thing plays out. Who knows how long Conor is out. Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready."
Poirier shared after the fight just how upset he was with McGregor's trash-talk antics, which included mentioning Poirier's wife in multiple disparaging ways. McGregor also said repeatedly that he would kill Poirier.
"There's no-holds-barred with the trash talk, but murder is something you don't clown around with. There's no coming back from that," Poirier said. "This guy was saying he's gonna murder me and all kinds of stuff.
"You don't talk like that to people. You don't talk like that, man. I hope this guy gets home safe to his beautiful family."
Elsewhere on the card, Gilbert Burns affirmed his spot in the welterweight rankings with a unanimous decision win over Stephen Thompson in the co-main event. Burns, who was stopped in his bid to win the 170-pound title by champion Kamaru Usman in February, is unlikely to get the next crack at the belt, but did what was needed to keep his place in line. Plus, heavyweight Tai Tuivasa scored a thudding knockout of former NFL defensive Greg Hardy in a featured bout that lasted just over a minute. Tuivasa pulled out his trademark celebration after the win by chugging a beer out of a shoe.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 264 below.
UFC 264 card and results
- Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor via first-round TKO (injury)
- Gilbert Burns def. Stephen Thompson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Tai Tuivasa def. Greg Hardy via first-round knockout (punch)
- Irene Aldana def. Yana Kunitskaya via first-round TKO (punches)
- Sean O'Malley def. Kris Moutinho via third-round TKO (punches)
- Max Griffin def. Carlos Condit via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Michel Pereira def. Niko Price via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ilia Topuria def. Ryan Hall via first-round knockout (punches)
- Dricus Du Plessis def. Trevin Giles via second-round knockout (punch)
- Jennifer Maia def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Brad Tavares def. Omari Akhmedov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Zhalgas Zhumagulov def. Jerome Rivera via first-round submission (standing guillotine choke)