Boy what a fight!. Make no mistake this was a big night in the career of Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 29. Having previously taken out Anthony Pettis he needed to back it up by taking out another big and upcoming name in the lightweight division.
In round 4 Gaethje wobbled on a counter left from Poirier and ‘The Diamond’ just about had enough in the tank to see it out. Herb Dean stepped in to stop Gaethje taking any further damage.
It was a fascinating and absorbing contest. Gaethje’s Inside leg-kicks versus Poirier’s head and body strikes. Daniel Cormier made the comment in commentary that Gaethje was one of the best leg kickers in the history of MMA. Quite the compliment.
To be fair up to the last moments of this contest I had Gaethje edging it. In Poirier’s defence he had suffered 2 eye pokes at that stage and Herb Dean had no choice but to deduct a point from Gaethje.
However there was never any chance this fight was going the distance!
Justin Gaethje goes into all of his fights and throws everything he has into it – he might just be the most watchable fighter on the planet right now. His biggest fear is probably gassing out rather than getting knocked out. I think that’s what actually happened here a combination of a gas-out and a knock out. Both fighters were absolutely f*cked at the end.
It is amazing to me how someone with the wrestling pedigree of Justin didn’t attempt once to grapple or wrestle his opponent. That was exactly what was required when he got hit by that counter left by Poirier in the 4th.
Buy some time man! – Get Poirier into the clinch and grapple – Dustin had barely the strength to land a knockout punch to a defenseless Gaethje. However Herb Dean made the right call and stopped the contest.
While this was an exciting fight, you might even call it a brawl, one thing is patently obvious – Gaethje is not going to be troubling anyone in the upper echelons of the Lightweight division. He gets hit too damn much.
At one point near the end of the second round Fox produced an amazing stat. To that point in two rounds Poirier had landed 121 of 165 shots to the head!. Well over a 60% strike rate. While Gaethje’s counter of inside kicks was killing Poirier to a degree – you have no long term future in this sport consistently sustaining that kind of head trauma.
I shudder to think what some of the heavy hitters in the division would do to him. For Gaethje to survive at UFC level he rapidly needs to adjust his game plan. Why an all-star wrestler refuses to wrestle is bananas.
Poirier is interesting – he was in some heavy duty trouble in that 3rd round and was lucky to survive it. While the 2nd eye poke was not nice – it at least allowed him 60 seconds to recover mid round. Poirier has a lot of the tools to be a championship level fighter but i think what he lacks is that he ain’t a very smart fighter in the ring. He sustains a lot more damage than a fighter with his skill-set should. He seems in a lot of fights i watch him in get drawn into fighting the fight his opponent wants to fight. I am still not convinced he’s in the top 3 of the division even after this win.
Before tonight these two were ranked the 5th and 6th in the division and in a funny way i think postfight that’s exactly where they remain
Poirier’s fights since McGregor