The UFC 211 card in the spring of 2017 may seem long ago, but it was still fresh in Dustin Poirier’s mind.
When Poirier and Eddie Alvarez met the first time, an illegal move changed the course of the fight and turned it to a no contest. A similar move happened in the rematch, but fans finally got a conclusive finish.
Former lightweight champion Alvarez and perennial top-ten Poirier were on a collision course for a while, and each man’s style of technical brawling was enough to make everyone from fight analysts to casual fans gush. Their second meeting had a lot on the line, with a bit of tension thrown in for good measure.
Their first fight was called after a competitive showing when Alvarez landed an illegal knee to a downed Poirier. Though the two professionals shook hands at the time and accepted the referee’s decision, each came up with their own conclusions about the questionable finish in the months after.
While Poirier theorized the blows could’ve been intentional, Alvarez wondered if his opponent was just looking for a way out. Neither man went all out with the version of the events as they’d developed in their respective minds – they preferred to settle the score in the cage.
Settle it they did, and the bout began as exciting as everyone had hoped. Alvarez came out as the aggressor, a notable change from their first meeting. Each man began utilizing leg kicks earlier in an attempt to slow the other’s pace, with Alvarez edging forward in the scoring thanks to body shots and takedowns.
The second round saw more grappling, with both men going for submissions including guillotines and neck cranks. Poirier ended up on the ground with his back to the fence, and that’s when a mounted Alvarez landed an illegal 12-6 elbow. While the blow was to the shoulder, referee Marc Goddard deemed the foul worthy of a standup.
That’s when Poirier came alive, countering a kick with a stinging left hand and not letting up the pressure. With pinpoint accuracy, he continued to find a home for his jab, mixing in power shots. Alvarez was game and tried to stay in the fight, but was overwhelmed. At 4:05 in the second round, the bout was stopped with Poirier scoring a TKO win.
Despite the fact that Poirier himself even mentioned the elbow did no damage, it seems an illegal strike may have cost Alvarez the victory here as well. But how things may have gone without it constitutes mere speculation – whereas Poirier’s recent record is factually undeniable. Touting his victories over Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis in the post-fight interview, he called for a title bout. And even in the crowded lightweight division, he has a good claim to a shot.
With the victory, Poirier moves to 24-5-1 and continues a three-fight winning streak, or four if you don’t count the no-contest. Alvarez falls to 29-6-1, putting him at 1-2-1 in his last four Octagon showings.