Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler fight Saturday in UFC 281 at the Madison Square Garden. Poirier enters this fight with a 28-7 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Chandler enters this fight with a 23-7 record and has won 48 percent of his fights by knockout.
Poirier has won 7 of his last 9 fights and is coming off a December loss to Charles Oliveira. Poirier is averaging 5.61 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Poirier is averaging 1.44 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36 percent. Poirier is coming off a submission loss at UFC 269 where he landed 69 total strikes. Poirier’s last 2 losses have been submissions, and he’s been submitted 3 times in his career. Poirier looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. Poirier has built himself up to one of the top strikers in this division, as he lands violent hooks with one-punch knockout potential and will mix in leg kicks as well. Poirier is extremely polished on the feet, with a boxing background and a tricky southpaw stance. He is also a black belt in BJJ, and while he’s not exactly quick to tap into his wrestling bag, he does some impressive work on the ground and has 7 career submission victories. Poirier has finished 4 fights via an armbar. This will be Poirier’s second career fight in New York.
Chandler has won 7 of his last 10 fights and is coming off a May win over Tony Ferguson. Chandler is averaging 5.17 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 46 percent. Chandler is averaging 1.83 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36 percent. Chandler is coming off a knockout win at UFC 274 where he landed 43 total strikes. The victory earned performance of the night honors as the front kick knocked El Cucuy clean out. Each of Chandler’s last 4 victories have been knockouts. Chandler comes from a deep wrestling background, has a high takedown defense percentage, and has never been submitted in his career. Chandler usually gets the fight where he wants it, and he has 7 career submission wins, with 4 of those coming by the rear-naked choke. Chandler can also more than hold his own on the feet, as he’s a volume striker and now has 11 career knockouts. This will be Chandler’s third career fight in New York.
Chandler in the underdog role is very intriguing as he has the striking to hang with Poirier, but his wrestling background and submission ability is where he can gain an edge. I wouldn’t talk you off the ledge if looking to make 2 times your money. However, Poirier is the bigger, trickier fighter of the two with his southpaw stance, and he’s cleaner on the feet. Poirier also has decent to above average takedown defense, so it won’t be easy for Chandler to get this fight on the ground. We have yet to see Poirier lose two fights in a row and he did a lot of good things against Oliveira despite the loss.
Give me Poirier, and I’ll take him in a finish to shave the price down.