Last November, Eddie Alvarez walked into his first lightweight title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 205, and quickly found himself in a nightmare. He was tuned up, dropped multiple times, and eventually finished in the second round with a crisp four punch combo. Simply put, it was not Alvarez’s night.
Dustin Poirier is another victim of the McGregor train, albeit a little further back. He was finished by the current lightweight champion at UFC 178 back in 2014. It took McGregor just a minute and a half to dispatch “Diamond.”
Poirier (21–5) had lost just once since then entering into UFC 211. His return to the lightweight division has been generally positive; the Louisiana native has looked a healthier, stronger fighter at 155lbs. Alvarez (28–5), meanwhile, was looking to put that disheartening UFC 205 loss behind him.
Anchoring the Fox Preliminary card, Poirier vs. Alvarez didn’t go as anyone expected. In the first, Alvarez came right out across the cage to meet Poirier early, looking ready to erase the memory of the McGregor loss. While it took a while for the fighters to find their distance, soon enough they had their rhythm down. Eddie Alvarez was seen targeting the body and feigning the takedown, and eventually landed a solid left. Poirier displayed some crisp kicks and punches as well, with things being pretty close in the first.
In the second, fans were treated to a barn burner. Early on, Poirier stuffed several takedown attempts, and later wobbled Alvarez halfway through the round. Alvarez was forced back against the cage, and started swinging in defense out of sheer desperation. After an insane exchange, the former champ shot forward, poorly, and wound up in a front choke, but survived. Alvarez showed incredible heart during the sequence.
The momentum shifted back to Alvarez just as suddenly, with Alvarez tuning up Poirier alongside the fence, wobbling “Diamond.” Poirier would survive but Alvarez finally scored a takedown. However, as Poirier came back to the feet, Alvarez landed a pair of knees that were illegal, which ref Herb Dean later ruled accidentally illegal. The fight was waved after Poirier informed the cageside doctor of vision problems. Alvarez plainly didn’t have a clear view, and while the fight ended in a No Contest, Poirier admonished the fans for booing Alvarez, saying he respected the former champion. Alvarez for his part apologized, and asked to run the fight back.
Hopefully they do run it back, as it was becoming a heck of an exciting fight to end off the UFC 211 preliminary card.