Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have Ourselves a Fight of the Year Contender…
Fans have been excited about this one since it was booked. Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje, a brutal battle of two of the best action fighters in the lightweight division. Facing each other in the main event of UFC Glendale last night, we were truly given a fight for the ages.
Poirier was coming into the fight off the back of a win over Anthony Pettis, while Gaethje had dropped a loss to Eddie Alvarez. Both of these won “Fight of the Night” bonuses. This fight also had ramifications for the top of the division. Poirier is ranked No. 5 and Gaethje, No. 6, with the chance to get one step closer to a title shot.
Carnage was expected and it didn’t disappoint. Some trash talk had flowed between the two men before the fight, but it was mostly respectful. However, ‘The Diamond’ questioned whether Gaethje’s all-action style was sustainable against elite fighters. We finally got our answer.
As you might expect, Gaethje came out all guns blazing. Win or lose, the man is entertaining. Throwing low kicks and heavy hands, Poirier slipped to the mats but was able to get back on his feet. However, there was a turnaround towards the end of the round as ‘The Diamond’s’ punches and kick began to find their mark on Gaethje who still came forward.
After losing the first round, Gaethje came out of the blocks quickly again. It was an all-action round until Poirier appeared to get poked in the eye, causing a brief timeout. Soon they were back at it, throwing down at each other in the pocket. It was a crazy end to an entertaining round.
What a Finish
Round 3 was all Gaethje. He threw leg kicks and heavy punches, hoping to get the KO, and he came very close. Poirier was visibly gassed out. Gaethje landed a right hand and it looked like the end was near, but Poirier managed to get the clinch and then throwback.
Poirier managed to get a respite after Gaethje was penalized for another eye poke. Herb Dean took a point away for the offense. The cage-side doctor checked to see if Poirier could continue. ‘The Diamond had survived another round.
Finally, the end came in the first of the championship rounds. Poirier came out of the blocks quickly stunning Gaethje. He sensed the opportunity to put an end to this fight and continued to tee off. Gaethje showed heart but was unable to defend himself. As he dropped to one knee, Dean intervened and stopped the fight.
If you have a friend who has never watched MMA before, this is the fight that you want to show them. It had everything. Two fighters with big hearts, putting their bodies on the line and throwing down. An incredible display of skill and tenacity.
Poirier moves one step closer to a title shot. It’s likely that he’ll either have to face Eddie Alvarez again or Edson Barboza first. Meanwhile, Gaethje has suffered back to back defeats for the first time in his career. After taking a lot of damage in his last two fights, it might be time to take a break and think about how he’s going to go forward. What a fight.