Dustin Poirier wants a shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title, and after an impressive win over Justin Gaethje during the main event of UFC on Fox 29, he just might get it.
Poirier finished off Justin Gaethje (18-2) with punches 33 seconds in the fourth round and then called for a fight against UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Poirier (23-5-0), who has the third most finishes in the UFC since 2011 with 10, started the fight wanting to smother and pressure the aggressive Gaethje.
However, Gaethje set the pace of the fight early with devastating leg kicks. The fighters would go back and forth over the next two rounds. At one point in the third, Gaethje had connected on 37 of 51 leg kicks, which were clearly taking a toll.
Early in the fourth, Gaethje went for an inside leg kick that Poirier answered with a right jab that landed cleanly on the chin. Gaethje was wobbled, but the NCAA All-American wrestler tried to stand instead of seeking a takedown to recover. Poirier made him pay with continued shots before referee Herb Dean stepped in.
Poirier finished the fight by connecting on 183 of 283 significant strikes, an unofficial 65 percent strike rate.
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‘Cowboy’ Shocks Condit
Alex Oliveira scored a big win over Carlos Condit in the co-main event.
Oliveira (18-4-1, 2 NC), who took the fight on two weeks notice replacing an injured Matt Brown, hooked in a guillotine choke and finished at 3:17 of the second round. Condit (30-12) has now lost four straight fights.
Both men had submission attempts in an entertaining first round, but it was clear that Oliveira had a strength advantage over “The Natural Born Killer.”
The second frame was just as exciting, as both men went on the offensive. Oliveira even opened up a big cut behind Condit’s ear with a vicious elbow. However, it was an Oliveira upkick that led to Condit’s demise.
Oliveira’s blow stunned Condit, who tried to ride out it by going for a double-leg. “Cowboy” was able to stifle the takedown and turned it into a standing guillotine choke, which ended up taking Condit down. Condit held on for several seconds, hoping Oliveira would burn out his arms. Unfortunately for Condit, Oliveira was able to tighten the hold to force the tap.
‘The Last Stylebender’ Goes Distance
Israel Adesanya used his kickboxing pedigree to earn a split decision over Marvin Vettori in a middleweight contest. Adesanya won the fight with scores of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Adesanya (13-0) picked up the second win of his UFC career. Prior to facing Vettori, he had knocked out his previous 12 opponents.
Vettori (12-4-1) had difficulty closing in on the lanky Adesanya, who used his reach advantage to keep “The Italian Dream” off balance. Vettori’s gameplan was to take his foil to the ground, but he had no luck through the first two rounds.
In the second round, Adesanya started finding his range as the Nigerian kickboxer committed to his punches, picking Vettori apart.
In the final draw, Vettori, a former Venator Fighting Championship welterweight champ, was finally able to take Adesanya down twice, but he unable to advance his position.
Waterson Edges Casey-Sanchez
Michelle Waterson won her first bout since December 2016 with a split decision over Cortney Casey-Sanchez (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The former Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight champion earned one of the biggest wins of her career after losing two straight. She entered the fight as a +125 underdog against Casey (7-6), a former Division I soccer player.
Waterson showed an improved ground game as she took down Casey at will. Waterson also showed effective submission defense as she maneuvered out of her opponent’s armbar attempts through all three rounds.
Late in the third, Waterson began to show fatigue and Casey took advantage by taking her back, rolling into a choke before eventually transitioning into another armbar. Waterson was able to keep her hands clinched to prevent Casey from locking in in fully.
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