Dustin Poirier earns TKO win over Justin Gaethje in all-out war
We all knew this fight would be fireworks and we weren’t wrong. In a bloody battle, Dustin Poirier emerged the victor with a fourth-round TKO victory over Justin Gaethje following 15 minutes of sheer brutality.
Poirier landed numerous punching combinations which Gaethje was more than happy to wear on his face with a chin carved from granite. Meanwhile, Gaethje chopped away at his foe with his renowned leg kicks in addition to throwing some wild power hooks to keep the crisper striker in Poirier hesitant.
The fight followed a familiar pattern throughout the first three rounds. Poirier was looking to keep distance and set up his big power punches with some nicely strung-together combos, Gaethje looked to get on the inside with his Dan Henderson-style combination of an inside leg kick preceding some big power punches of his own.
However, the fight’s complexion quickly changed. Just seconds into the championship rounds, Gaethje stepped in to throw one leg kick too many and was duly met with a stinging left hook from Poirier which sent him stumbling backwards.
Gaethje bravely tried to throw punches back on wobbly footing instead of wisely seeking to take the fight down to the mat and to relative safety. Poirier continued to land a number of heavy punches which prompted referee Herb Dean to intervene.
A stunning win for Poirier – who called out newly-crowned UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in his post-fight interview – in a contest which could well be a Fight of the Year candidate.
Late replacement Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira scores submission win over Carlos Condit
With Carlos Condit’s original opponent Matt Brown out with a nasty knee injury, both Condit and replacement opponent Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira stepped up to the plate to put on a show for those in attendance in Glendale, Arizona. However, it was Oliveira who added a win to his record on Saturday night.
Despite Oliveira’s lack of training camp, this was a competitive bout. In classic Condit style, the New Mexico native was vicious with his striking attack, slicing the Brazilian open with some nasty elbows. However, Condit’s kryptonite has always been the takedown and Oliveira wisely sought to keep the fight on the floor.
Condit did well to scramble and reverse positions on the ground with Oliveira in the opening round and in the second, but it was Condit’s new-found top position which landed himself in trouble in the fight’s closing stages.
With his back to the mat, Oliveira slammed an upkick to the head of Condit which looked to have dazed the former interim UFC welterweight champion. From there, Condit desperately shot for a double-leg takedown through pure instinct. However, Oliveira wrapped his arms around his opponent’s neck to grab a tight standing guillotine during the madness.
With the guillotine still in place, the fight went back down to the floor. Condit looked to be OK, riding out the submission to tire Oliveira’s arms. But the Brazilian adjusted his angles enough to force the tap from Condit to earn one of the biggest fights of his career.
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Israel Adesanya does enough for split decision nod against Marvin Vettori
Nigerian-born New Zealander Israel Adesanya rightfully has a reputation befitting of his status as a top-level kickboxer who walked into the cage with a perfect 12-0 MMA record and all wins via knockout. However, Adesanya faced tough Italian Marvin Vettori on Saturday evening and couldn’t continue his knockout streak, instead winning via split decision.
Vettori stood and traded strikes with Adesanya for much of the fight, though the latter’s slick defensive work also saw the Italian punching air on a consistent basis. Flashy as ever with his punches, kicks and elbows, Adesanya certainly made the bigger impression in the striking department as to be expected.
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But it was the grappling which saw Vettori enjoy his better moments in the fight as Adesanya struggled on his back and in the clinch. Vettori was even confident enough to throw in a thudding lateral drop to take the fight back down to the canvas in the final round, though Adesanya resisted on this occasion.
Like with MIchelle Waterson – Cortney Casey, this was a really close fight which could have been scored either way. In the end, it was Adesanya who was awarded the win with two of three judges scoring the fight in his favour. Upon the announcement from the one and only Bruce Buffer, a crestfallen Vettori stormed out of the cage in disgust.
Scorecards: 29-28, 29-28 (Adesanya), 28-29 (Vettori).
— UFC (@ufc) April 15, 2018
Michelle Waterson edges Cortney Casey in split decision win
In a battle of attrition between two of the women’s strawweight division’s most fierce competitors, Michelle Waterson was given the nod by the judges in a split decision win over three rounds against Cortney Casey.
As expected, this was a close, back-and-forth contest. The diminutive Waterson was effective and landed numerous strikes inside the pocket, while the towering Casey fought at range and seemed to have the edge on the ground.
Casey had numerous armbar attempts looking close to completion before Waterson successfully rebuffed her opponent’s efforts. However, Casey looked to finally have the armbar she so sorely sought with seconds remaining in the fight before the horn sounded to signal the bout’s close.
Personally speaking, it looked like Casey had done enough to win the fight, but Waterson – who may have been saved by the bell with that aforementioned final armbar attempt – was adjudged to have edged this close fight by two of the three judges in attendance.
Scorecards: 29-28, 29-28 (Waterson), 28-29 (Casey).
UFC on FOX: Poirier vs. Gaethje full results:
Lightweight bout: Dustin Poirier defeats Justin Geathje by TKO (punches) at 0:33 of round four.
Welterweight bout: Alex Oliveira defeats Carlos Condit by Submission (guillotine choke) at 3:17 of round two.
Middleweight bout: Israel Adesanya defeats Marvin Vettori by Split Decision after three rounds.
Women’s Strawweight bout: Michelle Waterson defeats Cortney Casey by Split Decision after three rounds.
Middleweight bout: Antonio Carlos Junior defeats Tim Boetsch by Submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:28 of round one.
Welterweight bout: Muslim Salikhov defeats Ricky Rainey by KO (punches) at 4:12 of round two.
Flyweight bout: John Moraga defeats Wilson Reis by Unanimous Decision after three rounds.
Middleweight bout: Brad Tavares defeats Krzysztof Jotko by TKO (punches) at 2:16 of round three.
Lightweight bout: Gilbert Burns defeats Dan Moret by KO (punches) at 0:59 of round two.
Women’s Flyweight bout: Lauren Mueller defeats Shana Dobson by Unanimous Decision after three rounds.
Welterweight bout: Yushin Okami defeats Dhiego Lima by Unanimous Decision after three rounds.
Heavyweight bout: Adam Wiezcorek defeats Arjan Bhullar by Submission (omoplata) at 1:59 of round two.
Bantamweight bout: Alejandro Perez defeats Matthew Lopez by TKO (knees and punches) at 3:42 of round two.
Bantamweight bout: Luke Sanders defeats Patrick Williams by Unanimous Decision after three rounds.