Dustin Poirier staked his claim as a title contender in the lightweight division with a fourth-round TKO win over Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC Glendale. The fight lived up to expectations and is an early "Fight of the Year" contender.
The first round was back and forth, with Gaethje using his trademark pressure to land some hard leg kicks and Poirier scoring with crisp counter punches. Poirier was visibly wobbly due to the leg kicks by Gaethje. Time stopped early in the second round due to an eye poke by Gaethje, but Poirier did his best to recover quickly and he continued to stay technical with his boxing. Gaethje refused to go away and ate Poirier's combinations, and his leg kicks did enough damage to force Poirier to switch stances. Poirier shot for a late takedown, but Gaethje stuffed it and landed some hard elbows to close out the second round.
Poirier looked a bit gassed to start the third round and had to dig deep while Gaethje turned up the pressure. Gaethje hurt Poirier with a hard right cross and started pouring it on with his hometown crowd cheering his name. But Poirier maintained his composure and continued landing strikes of his own. Towards the end of the round, time stopped due to another eye poke by Gaethje and the referee was forced to take a point away from him. As the round ended, it looked like Poirier inadvertently poked Gaethje in the eye.
At the start of the fourth round, Gaethje continued to pressure and Poirier landed a stiff counter left hand that rocked him. Poirier poured on the strikes and eventually dropped Gaethje with a combination, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Poirier (23-5) has now won three fights in a row and looks to be in line for a potential title shot. In his post-fight interview, Poirier called out current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Gaethje (18-2) has now lost two fights in a row after starting his MMA career with 18 straight wins, but he has proven to be must-see TV whenever he steps into the octagon.
Full results from the event can be found below:
- Dustin Poirier def. Justin Gaethje via TKO (punches) at 0:33 of Round 4
- Alex Oliveira def. Carlos Condit via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:17 of Round 2
- Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Michelle Waterson def. Cortney Casey via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Antonio Carlos Junior def. Tim Boetsch via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:28 of Round 2
- Muslim Salikhov def. Ricky Rainey via knockout (punches) at 4:12 of Round 2
- John Moraga def. Wilson Reis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Brad Tavares def. Krzysztof Jotko via TKO (punches) at 2:16 of Round 3
- Gilbert Burns def. Dan Moret via knockout (punches) at 0:59 of Round 2
- Lauren Mueller def. Shana Dobson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Yushin Okami def. Dhiego Lima via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Adam Wieczorek def. Arjan Bhullar via submission (omo plata) at 1:59 of Round 2
- Alejandro Perez def. Matthew Lopez via TKO (punches) at 3:42 of Round 2
- Luke Sanders def. Patrick Williams via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)