Dustin Poirier and Israel Adesanya claimed UFC interim gold after two epic encounters in the headline acts of UFC 236 in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday night.
Poirier called for a showdown with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after his strong showing against Max Holloway in their rematch, ending a 13-fight win streak for featherweight champion in his 155-pound debut.
‘In the words of Daniel Cormier, get your sh*t together, young man, we’ve got a belt to fight for!’ Poirier said when asked if he had a message for the Russian.
Dustin Poirier claimed the lightweight interim title by unanimous decision after an incredible fight in Georgia
Poirier and Max Holloway (right) put on a classic fight and both men left everything in the octagon on Saturday
Poirier landed the heavier strikes early on in the contest but the resilient Holloway battled back later in the rounds
Poirier’s superior power was evident early on, hurting Holloway on at least four occasions over the opening two rounds.
He opened up Holloway in the third before the Hawaiian began to reclaim the momentum with his volume striking in spite the obvious damage he had taken.
Despite Holloway’s volume playing more of a role as the fight wore on, ‘The Diamond’ continued to find his spots, unloading with powerful hooks that constantly troubled ‘Blessed’.
Knowing that Holloway had more gas left in the tank for the final round, Poirier forced the wrestling exchanges against the featherweight champion, which eventually saw him through to victory.
In the co-main event, Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum engaged in one of the most epic UFC title fights in recent memory, with the undefeated ‘Stylebender’ coming away from the clash with the interim middleweight belt after a goliath showing in the final round.
Adesanya was incredibly precise and showcased a wide array of different strikes in his arsenal over five rounds
Gastelum pushed his opponent to the limit and ‘Stylebender’ was required to dig extremely deep to win
The fifth round was a devastating showing from Adesanya who repeatedly found a home for his punches
Following the win, Adesanya laid his newly acquired belt at the feet of City Kickboxing head coach, Eugene Bareman.
‘I was ready for war. I told y’all,’ he told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview.
A leaping right hook sent Adesanya down in the first, before ‘Stylebender’ kicked into action in the second, sending Gastelum down with a piston straight. The City Kickboxing fighter also landed a dazzling spinning back elbow, underlining his dominance over the second stanza.
Adesanya continued to have success controlling the range with his dynamic arsenal in the third, but Gastelum barked back by cutting the Kiwi under his right eye in the fourth. Before the end of the fourth, both men traded big moments, with Adensanya coming off the worse from a Gastelum head kick.
Khalil Rountree Jr (right) put on a masterclass of striking against the incredibly durable Eryk Anders on Saturday night
Rountree’s striking looked phenomenal and his opponent struggled to land anything of note in the three rounds
Rountree Jr had spent months in Thailand working on his Muay Thai and it worked a treat in the octagon
‘Stylebender’ put on a showcase in the final round, displaying his lesser-known submission ability with a guillotine and triangle attempt early on. His right hand stung Gastelum on multiple occasions over the final five minutes and dramatically knocked him to the ground before the final bell.
Khalil Rountree Jr. nearly kicked Eryk Anders’ lead leg clean off with his Thai attacks in the first round of their light-heavyweight clash before he went head hunting in the second round.
The commentary team, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, urged Anders’ corner to stop the fight at the end of the second round as he returned to the fray after four meetings with the canvas.
Although he suffered a hellish five-minutes in the second, Anders arguably enjoyed his best round in the third, but it was still Rountree who pressed the action, securing a dominant unanimous decision win to return to the win column.
Dwight Grant (right) had his hand raised after winning a split decision win against Alan Jouban in their clash
Jouban finished the fight on top but there were only few moment of dominance in a largely uneventful fight
Grant possessed enormous power and Jouban took great care to avoid the bludgeons coming his way
Dwight Grant recorded the biggest win of his young career when he edged out veteran campaigner Alan Jouban to claim a split decision win. Despite Grant landing the heavier shots over the first two rounds, Jouban was incensed on the announcement of the decision, storming to his corner and shouting expletives.
Jouban finished the stronger of the two when he took Grant to the ground and secured his back. After initially attempting to establish a rear-naked choke, he landed heavy shots from mount until the bell rang.
Nikita Krylov got revenge for his 2014 submission loss to Ovince Saint Preux by submitting the former interim title contender in the second-round of their main card clash. Although he didn’t secure a win in his UFC return last year, avenging the loss to ‘OSP’ does back up the Ukrainian’s claims that he is a different prospect completely in his second term with the promotion.
Ovince St Preux (left) suffered defeat by Nikita Krylov (right) in the opening fight of the main card in Georgia
OSP showed signs of fatigue at the end of the second round and his Ukrainian opponent had the better of the exchanges
Ultimately Krylov sunk in a rear-naked choke on OSP and after a while the light-heavyweight tapped out
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