Michael Chandler occupies the unique position of having fought both Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier, and “Iron” can confidently say that Poirier is the harder puncher of the two lightweights.
The wait is nearly over for UFC 291, which will take place this weekend in Salt Lake City and features the highly anticipated rematch between Poirier and Gaethje in the night’s headlining bout. It’s been five years since the two lightweights put on a Fight of the Night performance that “The Diamond” won via fourth-round TKO. This time around, the winner will walk away with the UFC’s revived BMF title.
Chandler previously took home Fight of the Night bonuses after his losses against both men. While discussing the UFC 291 main event on his YouTube channel, the former Bellator champion indicated that Poirier holds a power advantage in the matchup with Gaethje.
“As far as power, people ask me, ‘Who’s the hardest puncher that you’ve ever been hit by?” Chandler said. “Dustin Poirier. Dustin Poirier broke my nose in the fight. Every single shot was a thud. His ability – if you guys watch his training… go watch his training on Instagram. His bag work, when you watch the way that his hips, his feet, his shoulders, his core, everything turns on every single punch when he’s doing that bag work. That’s where he generates all of his power.”
Michael Chandler Gives Speed Edge To Justin Gaethje At UFC 291
Gaethje boasts considerable knockout power in his own right and is considered by many fans to be the most violent fighter in MMA history. However, Chandler thinks that “The Highlight” relies more on his speed in order to land big punches.
Poirier came out on top in his 2018 meeting with Gaethje. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
“Justin Gaethje has the speed advantage, but he kind of just throws those things as fast as he can, hopes they land, and when they do land the hurt. But they’re less of a ‘thud’ than Dustin Poirier’s. So the power lends itself toward Poirier, but the speed lends itself toward Justin Gaethje.”
More than a few fighters and analysts have suggested that this matchup might provide a good opportunity for Poirier to utilize more of his ground game, which is something that the 34-year-old showed off in his last fight with Chandler when he won via third-round rear-naked choke.
The stacked UFC 291 main card also features the light heavyweight debut of Alex Pereira against Jan Błachowicz, two matchups between top welterweight contenders, and Tony Ferguson attempting to snap his five-fight losing streak in a lightweight bout against Bobby Green.
Read Also: Michael Chandler Describes This Loss As The ‘Greatest Thing That’s Happened In My Entire Career’
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