ATLANTA – Dustin Poirier (25-5 MMA, 17-4 UFC) waited a long time to get his first UFC title shot, but he made the most of the moment, outpointing Max Holloway (20-5 MMA, 16-5 UFC) in an action-packed classic.
The interim lightweight title bout was the main event of today’s UFC 236 show at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+.
The two men were patient to open, studying from range and looking for options. Poirier struck first, kicking to the legs and pushing Holloway off-balance just briefly. Holloway quickly settled and start lacing out straight punches to the head and body. Poirier answered with straight shots of his own, including a few big left hands that clearly stunned his opponent. Holloway shook it off and answered back with a flurry that briefly saw Poirier stagger.
Poirier thew a right hand that landed clean. With Holloway hurt, hut starting firing back, and the two men stood in the pocket and exchanged fire. Both men were landing, but Poirier was getting the better of it. Hooks and uppercuts scores, as didi a knee, as well. Holloway asked for more and fired punches in return, but Poirier was in control. He took a deep breath and tried to pace himself, but it was clear Poirier could sense a potential finish. Still, Holloway was able to steady himself and shake off the early attacks.
Poirier was the aggressor, but Holloway was able to weather the attacks and deliver a few of his own. Poirier was certainly in control, though he definitely wasn’t escaping the exchanges. unfazed.
Poirier rushed out to start the second, but it was clear the pace of the first had some effect. Holloway started stringing punches together, targeting the body with a few big straights. Poirier covered well, and he was close on a few heavy counters, but Holloway was the busier man.
As the round unfolded, Holloway seemed to gain confidence, and he began talking to his opponent, event as Poirier’s punches would land. Poirier briefly tried to change levels for the takedown, but Holloway brushed it aside with relative ease. The momentum seemed to be shifting in Holloway’s favor, but Poirier was able to land a big left hand that turned it in his favor once again. Holloway briefly stumbled back to the fence, and an energized Poirier came forward with a crisp right hand that also landed clean. A big uppercut just missed, and the two ended the round in the pocket, refusing to look away at the bell until they were ushered back to their corners after a quick tough of gloves.
Holloway’s right eye was swelling at the start of the third, but he was still game as he walked forward and looked to engage. Poirier’s counter right made that a dangerous proposition, but Holloway did his best to attack from range, continuing with his targets to the body. Poirier was able to land a few big lefts over the top as he walked forward, as well, though Holloway was always there to reply.
Holloway was the busier fighter as the round unfolded, but Poirier’s punches seem to have the most effect. He snapped his opponent’s head back with several punches, and Holloway’s face was increasingly battered. That said, Holloway never backed away and constantly returned fire with punches that did find their mark. Holloway got Poirier in the back foot in the final minute, unloading punches that landed clean. He launched a flying knee that missed and allowed Poirier to grab the legs, but Holloway stayed upright and landed several big elbows before the end of the round.
Holloway looked the fresher man to start the fourth, and landed a straight right in the opening seconds. Poirier electing to turn to his grappling, grabbing the legs and pulling Holloway to the floor. Holloway was able to work quickly to a kneeling position and then eventually back to his feet, spinning away and landing a knee to the body as he reset.
Poirier started to pick up his punching volume as they began again, but Holloway was there to match. It was clear Poirier was fading, but he still had pep in his punches, and Holloway had to respect the strikes coming his way. Just as it seemed Holloway was in firm control of the action, Poirier would land a few punches that would stop his opponent in his tracks. Holloway’s face was reddened by blood following a big knee, and they continued to trade on the feet. Holloway tried to grab the neck as Poirier shot forward, but the takedown was ultimately unsuccessful. Holloway tried to secure a choke at the bell, but the round came to a close.
With scores potentially even heading into the final round, both men looked intent on making an impression. Poirier seemed to get a bit of a second wind, but Holloway was just as willing to stand and trade. Holloway had blood streaming from his nose, but he never took a step back. Poirier clearly had more zip on his strikes, but he also struggled to get more than one or two at a time.
Holloway never stopped attacking, even as his face was leaking plasma. But Poirier was able to push most of the strikes aside and answer back with crisp replies. Poirier tried to get the action to the floor, but as he moved deep inside on a takedown, Holloway defended well agains the fence and again was able to land a few elbows in tight. The two finally broke apart in the finale seconds, and they teed off until the bell before a quick message of respect to each other in the center of the cage. At the end, Poirier earned three scores of 49-46, walking away with the interim lightweight title.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 236 results include:
Dustin Poirier def. Max Holloway via unanimous decision (49-46, 49–46, 49-46) – to win interim lightweight title
Israel Adesanya def. Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46) – to win interim middleweight title
Khalil Rountree def. Eryk Anders via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Dwight Grant def. Alan Jouban via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Nikita Krylov def. Ovince Saint Preux via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:30
Matt Frevola def. Jalin Turner via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexandre Pantoja def. Wilson Reis via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:58
Max Griffin def. Zelim Imadaev via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
Khalid Taha def. Boston Salmon via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:25
Belal Muhammad def. Curtis Millender via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
Montel Jackson def. Andre Soukhamthath via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Poliana Botelho def. Lauren Mueller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Brandon Davis def. Randy Costa via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:12
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- UFC 236 results: Khalil Rountree batters Eryk Anders over three rounds
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC 236 results: Dustin Poirier outlasts Max Holloway in stunning battle to claim interim belt