UFC On Fox 29 (April 14 2018)
Dustin Poirier Vs Justin Gaethje
Winner – Dustin Poirier Via Round 4 TKO
Despite having towering expectations, this fight amazingly matched and even exceed everyone one of them. Notching up arguably the biggest win of his career, Dustin Poirier walked through fire for fifteen-minutes — being pushed to his absolute limit — before finding it within himself to manifest the greatest moment of his (professional) life.
In true Justin Gaethje form, this fight was an agonizing battle that pushed both men, physically and mentally, to the limit. Immediately pushing the pace, Gaethje began to deal fight altering damage to Dustin Poirier’s leg early in the first. Despite the damage taken from the leg kicks, Dustin executed a solid game plan, capitalizing on Justin’s defensive habits by sitting down on hard flurries every time he was presented with an opening. By pushing forward with long combinations, Poirier was able to deal significant damage to Gaethje while also out-landing him 2-1 in the first round.
The second round was more of the same but to an even more intense level. The pair began to trade shots back and forth much more frequently than in the first – with Gaethje landing more strikes and Poirier less compared to the previous round. As the second round advanced, Poirier was still landing effective shots but began to take even more damage from the relentless Gaethje. Although the edge could still be given to Poirier, the round ended with momentum beginning to swing in the direction of Justin Gaethje.
The third round had a slightly different complexion, with Gaethje doing his best work of the fight. Staying relentless with pressure and low kicks, Justin began to overwhelm Poirier – pushing Dustin’s back to the cage often enough to negate some of the combinations and counters coming his way. A pair of eye pokes resulted in a point taken from Gaethje and for some frustration from Poirier. Despite the change in momentum (and the eye pokes), Dustin was nevertheless able to find his openings and land solid shots on Gaethje. As the round progressed, the fight (seemingly) began to wear on Dustin while Gaethje continued to relish the heat of battle. Dustin’s posture and demeanour as the round came to a close seemed to lend to the idea of him fading.
After fifteen of the most hard-fought minutes of his life – seemingly beginning to feel the effects of the high paced fight. Dustin Poirier comes out in the fourth round, with momentum now strongly on the side of Justin Gaethje, and lands a beautiful straight left counter to the leg kick that had been plaguing him all night. Following up immediately, pouring every last ounce of energy he had into finishing the fight in the first minute of round 4. Incredible win by one of the most under-appreciated fighters in the UFC today. Truly inspiring performance from Dustin Poirier.
Two of the most outstanding Lightweights in the world, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje left a piece of themselves in the cage today en route to giving us one of the best fights of the year. And for that, I want to thank both men from the bottom of my heart.