There were high expectations for the UFC Glendale main event between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, and the two lightweight contenders lived up to all of them on Saturday night, delivering a memorable and thrilling battle that ended with a fourth-round stoppage victory for Poirier at Gila River Arena
It was no surprise that the fists and feet began flying as soon as referee Herb Dean waved the combatants together. Gaethje focused on Poirier’s legs, while Poirier went upstairs, cutting Gaethje over the left eye. The pace was brutally fast, and as the round progressed, Poirier started digging to the body, which opened up head shots, allowing him to take the round. But the leg kicks of Gaethje had started taking their toll.
OH MY GOD DUSTIN POIRIER!!!#UFCGlendale pic.twitter.com/i7QVcWxpWa
— UFC (@ufc) April 15, 2018
After a continuation of the hectic first round pace, there was a momentary break in the action early in round two when Poirier got poked in the eye, but there was no let-up once the two got back to business. And while Poirier landed several hard combinations, Gaethje walked through the punches and continued to batter the Louisiana native’s right leg. Late in the round, Poirier saw a couple takedown attempts come up empty, and it was Gaethje missing, but thrilling the crowd, with a flip at his foe.
Arizona’s Gaethje was clearly the fresher of the two entering round three, and he continued to stalk Poirier, who was cut over the eye and clearly bothered by it. With a little over three minutes left, Gaethje stunned Poirier with a punch upstairs, and as the fight went to the fence, Gaethje went on the attack. Poirier was able to buy some time, though, and he made it back to the center of the Octagon, where he was able to score with more hard shots. A pivotal moment came in the final minute of the round, though, when another eye poke from Gaethje cost him a point from referee Herb Dean.
Seconds into round four, a left hand from Poirier drilled Gaethje and hurt him, and “The Diamond” emptied his tank trying to finish. Gaethje did everything in his power to stay in the fight, but it was not to be, as Poirier’s barrage of punches brought in Dean to stop the bout at :33 of the fourth round.
The No. 5-ranked Poirier ups his record to 23-5 with the win. The No. 6-ranked Gaethje falls to 18-2.