Poirier stops Gaethje in fourth round of instant classic

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The main event of UFC on FOX 29 featured a lightweight fight between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier that lived up to all the hype most fans and media believed would take place when the two exiting scrappers met in the Octagon:

For three rounds on Saturday night, the lightweights threw down with ferocity and reckless abandon, thrilling the crowd at Gila River Arena in Gaethje’s backyard of Glendale, Ariz.

But in the fourth, Poirier, his legs chopped up by leg kicks and the victim of two eye pokes, came out and finished the job. Poirier earned the TKO victory in the early clubhouse leader for Fight of the Year at the 33-second mark of the fourth round.

“Justin is a warrior,” Poirier (23-5, 1 NC) said. “This guy would have died in there if Herb Dean didn’t stop the fight.”

source: mmafighting.com

Highlights

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Round 1 – Gaethje closes in and draws a jab before a low kick. Poirier fires back with a combo on Gaethje’s leg kick. Gaethje going to work early with that leg kick. Poirier countering with punches. Gaethje goes outside with leg kick. Poirier covers up for the counter, but jab good. Gaethje is cut. Straight right blocked, but his low kick sweeps Poirier’s leg. Poirier switches stances and tries to work inside with punches. Gaethje attacks the leg and takes a body shot blocking the combination that follows. Jab snaps Poirier’s head. They trade hooks. Gaethje already doing damage to the leg. Poirier’s replies are mostly blocked. Gaethje closes in and tries to return, but Gaethje’s guard is good, and the leg kicks are, too. Poirier tries to follow Gaethje with a jab, and then gets loose with a combo. The body shot is good for Poirier. But it’s going to be tough. Gaethje slips on a head kick. Gaethje takes another body shot. They trade leg kicks. Gaethje tries to press through with his follow up punches. The inside leg kick is damaging the leg, but Poirier is tagging the body. Shot after shot is slamming into Gaethje’s guard. Poirier won’t be able to use that leg soon. But his strategy is to press in and work combos inside. The round ends, and MMAjunkie scores it 10-9 for Gaethje.

Round 2 – Poirier works the jab and circles away. Gaethje presses in with a combo, and Poirier tries to intercept with a jab. Head kick blocked by Gaethje. More lateral movement from Poirier, but he still takes a leg kick. Poirier changes levels and Gaethje blocks it. Poirier indicates an eyepoke after an exchange, and we pause. Poirier tries to work inside and takes another leg kick. Poirier with a pair of nice straight shots. Now, he’s repaying Gaethje’s kicks. Gaethje presses in and with a combo, and Poirier batters him in close . Phone booth fighting. Short shots inside for “The Diamond.” Poirier moving better, but Gaethje is just relentless. Inside leg kick nails Poirier. And again. The punches inside are nailing Gaethje, but he just doesn’t are. Poirier grabs for the legs after a combo, and Gaethje pushes him to the fence. Poirier goes back to punching in close. Then he circles off and removes the lead leg as a target. Gaethje wide with punches, but his kicks are still good. Right hook good for Poirier. Gaethje just covering up and holding on. Low kick misses for once and Poirier replies with a calf kick. Poirier grabs for the legs and goes upstairs. Poirier grabs a leg and pushes Gaethje back, and Gaethje leaps with a rolling thunder kick to end the round. MMAjunkie scores the frame 10-9 for Poirier, and it’s even at 19-19.

Round 3 – Poirier fires off punches and takes an early leg kick. He catches the lg on the next one, and Gaethje tumbles away. Gaethje firing at that leg, and POirier doing his damndest to avoid it. Gaethje chases with punches, and Poirier circles off and resets. Lead elbow into takedown for Poirier, but Gaethje pops right up. Nice jab and body shot for Poirier. Body shot countered with leg kick for Gaethje. Every time Poirier commits to a punch, Gaethje attacks the leg. Right hook nails Poirier flush, and Gaethje closes in for the kill. Poirier punches in close, but Gaethje is still there. Against the fence, Gaethje is wearing Poirier down. Knees to the legs. Poirier goes to the body, and tries a knee up the middle. Gaethje hanging on him against the cage and then fires off a knee to the body. Poirier finally circles off. He’s throwing everything he can at Gaethje to stop him, and still he’s taking leg kicks. Gaethje just walking him down and punishing the lead leg. Now, the head is opening up. Poirier still stinging with punches, but his shot has no steam. Elbow in the clinch doesn’t make Gaethje flinch. Poirier pushes Gaethje back with a jab, but Gaethje resets and throws that lead leg kick. Again, Poirier reacts like he’s been poked in the eye, and we stop. Dean takes a point. Crowd boos. Restart, and Gaethje presses in again with scarces time to work. Just prior to the bell, Gaethje runs into Poirier’s fingers. MMAjunkie scores the frame 9-9, and it’s 28-28.

Round 4 – Gaethje closes with a body shot. Poirier jabs and nails Poirier with a straight left. Poirier pours it on, and Gaethje is getting tagged left and right. Gaethje wobbles back, and another pair of punches knocks him to the mat, forcing Dean to intervene. Amazing turnaround from Poirier.

source: mmajunkie.com

Official Result: Dustin Poirier defeated Justin Gaethje by TKO (Strikes, Round 4, 0:33)