UFC 281 Preview: Michael Chandler Speaks With OutKick

The UFC returns to New York City and Madison Square Garden this weekend for their highly anticipated UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira.

The card is absolutely stacked and features some of the hardest-hitters and kickboxers in what it sure to be an exciting night.

I had the opportunity to speak with UFC lightweight fighter Michael Chandler (23-7) ahead of his fight against Dustin Poirier (28-7)

UFC 281 lightweight fighters Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler square off ahead of their fight at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


For those unfamiliar with the UFC or MMA in general, one thing can be expected when Chandler and Poirier square off tomorrow: sheer mayhem.

The lightweight division is absolutely stacked in the UFC right now with many arguing that it may be the most talented.

Fighters like Chandler, Poirier, Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira have all been having entertaining battles against each other. Meanwhile, undefeated and newly-crowned lightweight champion Islam Makhachev has become one of the most-talked about fighters in recent UFC history.

What makes the Poirier-Chandler matchup so enticing is that both have proven knockout power. They can land a winning punch at any given second.

When I mentioned to Chandler that Poirier told me he expects to knock him out, Chandler said this in response:


Chandler is known to lay it all out in the cage. Since joining the UFC in 2021 from rival promotion Bellator, Chandler has been awarded two Performance of the Night honors as well as Fight of the Night.

Bottom line: he shows up for battle.

Chandler also told me that he believes it’s the right time for him to fight Poirier.

“I think my skillset is where it needs to be, my heart is full. My determination to still be the UFC champion is there,” he said.

Knowing that a decisive victory may mean a title shot, you can be sure Chandler will rise to the occasion once again.

Dustin Poirier on stage during the UFC 281 press conference at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Poirier made headlines for defeating Conor McGregor not once, but twice last year. However, he knows he is running out of time for another title shot. If he loses, that would be a tremendous setback. He would have to then fight his way back up to the top of the division.

UFC 281 will also feature two title fights. Women’s Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza (20-6) takes on second-ranked Zhang Weili (22-3).

One of the most electrifying fighters in MMA history, Israel Adesanya (23-1), looks to continue his dominant ways when he defends his Middleweight Championship against fourth-ranked Alex Pereira (6-1).


Current DraftKings odds have moved towards Poirier. He is now favored to win at -235, while Chandler is at +170.

OutKick users can sign up for $5 and win $200 in free bets if your first moneyline bet wins. To do so, just visit here.

Crack the beers, invite your friends over and saddle up. Saturday’s UFC 281 is sure to deliver.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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