Dustin Poirier becomes UFC Lightweight Interim champion with a unanimous decision victory over Max Holloway at UFC 236.
Flashback to 2012, UFC 143, a young Max Holloway makes his initial UFC walk to the cage. Dustin Poirier, at the time, a featherweight contender on a mission. Who knew seven years later these two would be fighting for a championship, a rematch, between two of the most impressive athletes in this sport at UFC 236. Holloway a featherweight king, Poirier a streaking lightweight KO artist. The winner gains a date with lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, a rematch seven years in the making.
We open round one with a glove touch and we are under way. Each fighter open with faints and Poirier lands a clean leg kick. Holloway continues his pace and lands some body shots. “The Diamond” continues his leg work and lands a hook, seemingly having Max clipped, as he moves in Holloway finds a clean hook himself clipping Poirier. As it seems things have calmed, Poirier lands some vicious combinations putting Holloway on auto-pilot but somehow the featherweight king continues to stand and throw himself. With under a minute left Poirier again lands a clean left jab yet somehow we are going to see a second round.
The crowd is on their feet for the beginning of round two. A body shot from Poirier to start but “Blessed” is controlling the pace. A Holloway left hook lands clean but Poirier continues mixing up the combinations. The Diamond lands a big elbow but continues to get walked down by Holloway, as the round nears the end Poirier switches roles, clipping Holloway. Similar to round one Holloway turns to a near zombie-mode as he is getting damaged by the power of Poirier. The two stare each other down as round two comes to a close.
— UFC (@ufc) April 14, 2019
Round three begins with the two meeting in the middle once again. It doesn’t take long for Poitier to stun Holloway again, but as usual Holloway almost seems impossible to put away. By the middle of the third round Poirier has unofficially landed over 100 strikes. Holloway continues to move forward without fear but his right eye is closing, but continues landing hooks as the two exchange in the center of the octagon. With under a minute left Holloway has Poirier against the cage, throwing at will which turns into a clinch battle where Holloway throws some vicious elbows to end the round.
The Championship Rounds begin with a straight right from Max Holloway. Poirier shoots for a takedown attempt and successfully brings down the champion. As Holloway stands he lands a knee to the liver of his opponent. Poirier is noticeably tiring as the round continues but both men continue land small combinations. With under two minutes remaining Poirier lands a clean left jab on Holloway. The two continue to exchange but a leaping knee from Poirier opens up the forehead of Holloway to a leaky mess. A clinch battle ensues to end the fourth round.
A fifth and final round to crown an interim lightweight champion. Holloway and Poirier are more ready than ever. Holloway lands a jab followed by a Poirier jab. A clean left lands to the chin of Holloway re-opening the cut from the previous round. The cardio of these two fighters is impressive. A bloody mess on Holloway’s face isn’t stopping him as he continues eating straight rights. Holloway brings a right of his own that lands clean. Holloway continues wiping the blood from his face to see. Poirier looks for a late takedown which turns more into a clinch battle controlled by Poirier. The final ten seconds calls for a mutual, meet-in-the-middle slug fest.
The final :10!!
— UFC (@ufc) April 14, 2019
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier is crowned the interim lightweight champion. “To be the best you gotta beat the best and I just beat the pound for pound best.” An emotional Poirier states to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov “Get your sh*t together, you have a fight to get ready for!”
Dustin Porier def. Max Holloway by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)