Report: Poirier to face Chandler at UFC 281

Both FanDuel and DraftKings have opened Dustin Poirier as the betting favorite in a potential bout later this year.

According to Ariel Helwani, the host of The MMA Hour, multiple sources are telling him that a fight between Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler is close to being finalized. The bout would take place at UFC 281 in New York City at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12.

There’s been some bad blood brewing between these 155-pound contenders for several months now. After Chandler defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 274, he called out several highly-ranked lightweights with the exception of Poirier.

When he was asked about that in an interview several days later, Chandler said, “I’d really forgotten about Poirier.”

Well, that didn’t sit well with the Lafayette, LA., product, who tried to get at Chandler during the UFC 276 card. Although security kept the fighters apart, Poirier had plenty to say about what he thought of Chandler.

When asked about the incident later, Chandler acknowledged that Poirier was angry and spoke to him with “bad intentions.”

DraftKings opened Poirier (28-7-0-1 MMA, 20-6-0-1 UFC) as a -145 favorite, leaving Chandler as a +125 underdog. FanDuel opened the former UFC interim lightweight champion as a -168 ‘chalk,’ with Chandler at +142 on the comeback.

The 33-year-old Poirier is looking to bounce back from a third-round submission loss to Charles Oliveira in a title fight at UFC 269 last December. Before that defeat, he had ripped off three straight wins over Conor McGregor (twice) and Dan Hooker.

Chandler, who turned 36 in April, is off a second-round, front-kick knockout win over Feruson on May 7. The win improved his record to 2-2 in the Octagon.

Chandler scored a first-round KO win over Hooker in his promotional debut at UFC 257 on Jan. 24 of 2021. That performance earned him a title shot against Oliveira for the vacant 155-pound strap. Chandler floored Oliveira in the opening frame and appeared to be on the cusp of victory.

However, Oliveira was able to survive Round 1. Then in Round 2, it was the Brazilian that dropped Chandler and then finished the job with subsequent strikes only 19 seconds into the second stanza.

Chandler lost a unanimous decision to Justin Gaethje at UFC 268 last November before bouncing back against Ferguson.

Poirier has been submitted in a pair of title fights against both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Oliveira. Nevertheless, he still owns a 12-3 record with one no-contest in 16 fights in the UFC’s lightweight loop.

Poirier has beaten the likes of McGregor (twice), Hooker, former featherweight champion Max Holloway, former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Gaethje, former lightweight kingpin Anthony Pettis and Jim Miller, who owns the most career wins in UFC history.

Chandler (23-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has impressive victories over Hooker, Ferguson, Alvarez, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Patricky Pitbull (twice). He held the Bellator lightweight belt three separate times before signing with the UFC.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto is reporting that Poirier’s team is pushing for a five-round fight, while Chandler prefers a date in December. Poirier vs. Chandler would not be the headliner at MSG in November.

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