The main event at UFC Fight Night 120 saw top lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis throw down in front of a packed crowd in Norfolk, Virginia.
After making bright starts to their respective careers, Poirer and Pettis have had differing fortunes inside the Octagon in the last three years.
Since his loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 178 in September of 2014, Poirier had been of a tear, dropping only one of his next seven fights while also picking up one Fight of the Night and two Performance of the Night bonuses.
The Louisiana native has had a habit of falling short on the big stage but Poirier said that he recognised the problem in himself and understood what he had to do in order to remedy it.
“A lot of that is overthinking, over caring. I have to go out there and just have fun. I’m going to go in there and show the world what I do.”
Responding to James Vick’s plea for the winner of his fight with Pettis, Poirier stated that although he believed Vick deserved a top 15 ranked guy, he believed that a win here would put him one victory away from a potential title shot.
“He deserves a guy of our calibre after his win [against Joseph Duffy at UFC 217] but I feel like I’m one win away from the title. I want the winner of Alvarez vs Gaethje or Khabib vs Barboza.”
In order to put himself in contention, Poirier reasoned that he would have to have to exploit what he saw as the biggest weakness in Pettis’ game: his wrestling.
“I’ve been working on my wrestling at American Top Team. I feel like that’s his biggest hole in his game. We know he has amazing kickboxing.”
After setting the MMA on fire, Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis has been in a slump: in the three years since his Performance of the Night victory over Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181, he had gone 2-6 inside the Octagon.
A foray into the featherweight division was short lived after he missed weight in his bout with Max Holloway but a return to lightweight in his last fight yielded success when he got the unanimous decision over Jim Miller.
Before this bout went down, fighter/commentator Daniel Cormier said that he believed the Milwaukee native would need to display some of the flashy skills that earned him the moniker ‘Showtime’ if he was to get the victory.
“When Pettis was the star, he was mixing everything up. He’s known for his standup, but when he gets guys hurt, he can finish them with submissions.”
The fight was all over in the third round, with Anthony Pettis being forced to tap after presumably breaking his rib after trying to escape from under the mounted Dustin Pourier.
The fight was an absolute slugfest the first two rounds, with both men trading blows standing and on the ground. The referee even had to call in the doctor half way through the second round as the blood covering Pettis’ eyes was too much.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE FINISH BELOW:
WHAT. A. FIGHT!
Sit back, relax and enjoy the best bits from Saturday night's thrilling main event… pic.twitter.com/kotUtocSt0
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