Followers of mixed martial arts had July 10 marked in their diary since the UFC 264 card got announced.
The event was at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and certainly didn’t disappoint.
The thousands in attendance and the millions watching the live TV action worldwide enjoyed an evening of drama, excitement, and upset.
The UFC 264 card got sold as the night Conor McGregor would kick-start his return to the top of the game.
Notorious had been absent for too long, depriving fight fans of the excitement and hype that follows the Irishman around.
Fans and critics alike welcomed Conor back to the octagon, hoping to see him victorious while others wanted to witness a punishing defeat.
McGregor completed the trilogy with old rival Dustin Poirier in a top-of-the-bill battle that lived up to expectations, but it wasn’t the only fight of note that evening.
Several gladiators on the undercard planned to upstage the main event, and one man got his wish, making headlines far beyond Vegas and MMA supporters.
In the primary fight of the night, we were treated to an upset result as Poirier beat McGregor to complete the trilogy and settle the score at 2-1.
McGregor had won the first fight between the pair via a brutal first-round knockout but suffered the same fate when stopped in the opening round by Diamond last time.
That forced the return, a battle to settle their differences, and despite starting as the underdog, Poirier prevailed.
The fight produced another devastating opening round TKO, with McGregor puled out by the doctor after suffering a horror leg break.
The Irishman attempted to battle bravely, but the damage sustained was too much, and he got saved.
Conor has now lost twice to Poirier, suffered defeat in each of his last two fights, and lost three of his last four.
What’s worse, he has fought only three times in the last three years.
Will the former UFC be considering retirement? It’s likely.
The bout was what he had planned to show the world how much he still loved MMA, but it ended in disaster.
He’ll now face another extended period on the sidelines while his leg heals. All the time, the likes of Poirier and other rivals will be active and improving.
We could see the McGregor UFC story end with a memorable defeat that may end up overshadowing his legacy.
While the main event had all the talking points fans wanted, It was an undercard battler who caught our eye.
American Sean O’Malley defeated Kris Moutinho in the third round of an engaging battle, scoring by knockout.
It was evident from early in the contest that Sugar O’Malley was the stronger fighter with the better boxing ability, and he used that to deliver a barrage of heavy shots down on Moutinho, forcing the referee to intervene.
Bantamweight O’Malley from Montana stretched his professional MMA record to 14 wins against just one defeat.
The spare on his record came last summer when Marlon Vera stopped inside the first round at UFC 252. He didn’t let that derail his grand plans.
However, quickly getting back on track. Since that loss, we’ve seen Sean win each of his two comeback bouts.
He beat Thomas Almeida by third-round knockout at UFC 260, then Moutinho at UFC 264.
That form hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Sean O’Malley had the best performance of the night and fight of the night in his last two matches.
Interestingly, he has picked up either of those awards in five of his last six appearances. He is a fighter that is catching the eye, and he’ll be eager to remain active.
Fans want to see him in action at least once more this year.
The fight many followers want to see him involved in is against Frankie Edgar, and that would catch the eye.
It would be the biggest test of Sean O’Malley’s career so far, but if he were to defeat Edgar, he would prove himself worthy of a crack at the big time.