UFC 274: Michael Chandler on kick that knocked out Tony Ferguson
Michael Chandler was in serious trouble after the first round of last night’s UFC 274 bout against Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson was back to his old, mysterious self in the first round of the clash between the lightweights. He clipped Chandler and landed some significant blows to his right eye. Chandler won the round with momentum after a double takedown with his ground-and pound. However, there was already swelling below his eye.
” My vision was affected,” Chandler stated. “Tony is awkwardly long. He throws punches from strange angles and ended up catching my eye between rounds. Between rounds .”
, my eye became bothersome. In an instant, Chandler’s UFC dreams seemed to vanish. It appeared that Chandler, the former face of Bellator, had arrived a few years too late to the UFC after signing in September of 2021, spending the prime of his career outside the Octagon.
After an impressive victory in his UFC debut against Dan Hooker, there were back-to-back losses suffered against Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. It was clear that there was a market correction on Chandler. He was clearly skilled enough to win Bellator, but losing against Ferguson, who had dropped three straight, was a devastating result. A loss would make him drop to the bottom of the Top 10 rankings, ending any shot of competing for the title or even getting a career-defining bout against Conor McGregor. But Chandler was back on his feet before any doubts crept in.
The second round began.
Chandler stepped toward Ferguson, saw an opening and laid into his opponent with a front face kick that looked more like a 60-yard field goal attempt.
Ferguson had been knocked out cold.
Only 17 seconds into the round, the fight was over.
Chandler took control of the fight, almost knocking Ferguson’s head off.
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“It’s the exact opposite of the way I planned it,” Chandler (23-7) said, speaking with Sports Illustrated following the victory. “The distance didn’t seem perfect to my. I just threw a thing up the middle and it landed. The impact was felt and he fell to the ground.
” I never thought I would throw a front kick to knock him out. But The force of the blow was immediately apparent A vicious shot with the potential to cause serious damage was also possible. Ferguson’s head was spit on the mat, further complicating the situation. Ferguson was flipped over and his eyes were still open. This was one of the most frightening moments in the sport. However, it was reassuring that he eventually stood for the final decision.
“When the kick was landed, the moment took over,” said Chandler. “I started with my backflips as my celebration. I then looked up and saw Tony still on the ground. That’s when I decided that I would tone it down. Tony, my heartfelt thanks .”
Chandler has a world of possibilities now. He is back in the mix for his vacant lightweight title. He is giving better post-fight interviews and has really sparked the interest in fight fans. All signs point to McGregor being his opponent, an icon in the sport’s future. McGregor is a man of immense power and popularity. He only accepts fights against people who can sell the fight. McGregor believes he has the power to knock out Chandler, but there are very few.
“I have quickly become that guy, who’s going put butts into seats, sell pay per-views and brings it in to the cage,” Chandler stated. “That’s Conor wants and needs. I’m the man to do it. I want to fight the best possible on the largest platform. That’s why you’re here.
” My eyes are set on the title. However, Conor makes a lot more sense if that doesn’t happen. We’ll see what Dana and the boys come up with.”
Knocking out Ferguson opened up new life for Chandler, and he is ready to seize the moment.
” I feel the best that I have ever felt,” Chandler said. “I have a beautiful wife, and two little boys to fight for, which gives my confidence to pursue God’s best for me.” I feel right where I should be. I love fighting for the UFC, and I am going to do all I can to win that title.”
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.