By Matt Koontz
UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Gaethje is in the book and what a card it was. Here are my grades for each fight.
UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Gaethje: Results and Review.
#3 (5) Dustin Poirier TKO’s #6 (6) Justin Gaethje in round 4: Dustin was crazy accurate and dominated the striking in this fight. Gaethje threw his normal leg kicks continuously but he needs to realize against UFC elite opponents it simply won’t be enough. He proved he can be a title contender in my eyes he just needs to use his wrestling more and land shots more often in other places away from the legs, I am not saying give up the leg kicks but lower the amount to damage elsewhere. This fight was a ton of fun I really enjoyed it as did any fight fan because Poirier showed how perfect his striking is and lethal he can be. The one take back from his fight that we need to see more of from Poirier is to land some more shots to the body of his opponents. This fight was fight of the night and was so deserving. I believe Poirier should get Khabib next because Tony has been scheduled Khabib 4 times and that fight hasn’t happened secondly because Conor only has one lightweight fight in his career and should have to prove he is back before getting a title shot. Dustin also has 16 UFC wins since 2011 only Cerrone has more. I think Gaethje should fight Nate Diaz next because that fight would be so fun to watch. Grade: A+
Alex Oliveira submits #13 (12) Carlos Condit in round 2: This fight would have been fight of the night if the main event didn’t happen just like I said in my predictions for this fight. This fight seemed to be Condit’s fight on the feet but once it got to the mat it was very interesting. At one point I thought Condit was going to win by submission but eventually Oliveira got Condit with an up-kick which I think stunned Condit. That made it easier to lock in the guillotine choke and end the fight. This was a phenomenal fight and sadly was Condit’s 4th straight loss and could be nearing the end of his career. Oliveira will find a number next to his name after this one. Alex Oliveira should get Gunnar Nelson in his next fight which could set up a really fun fight. I think Condit should get Dong Hyun Kim in his next fight in a battle that would be fun for the fans and might be the fight he needs to get him back on track. Grade: A
#15 (NR) Israel Adesanya beats Marvin Vettori by split decision: This fight was a bit less exciting than believed. Israel proved he really needs to work on his ground game and takedown defense and he seemed to have no clue how to fight on the mat. Vettori landed some shots not as many strong shots as Israel but he proved he has a great chin. Now he should have used his wrestling earlier in this fight and might have found himself successful, but he used it too late and might have cost him the upset victory. I think Israel needs to improve his ground game entirely and if he can then he could be a future champion. Israel Adesanya should fight Paulo Costa in his next fight as a battle of 11-0 vs 13-0 between two future champion contenders would be incredible. I think Vettori should fight Eryk Anders in what would be a great battle between two powerful wrestlers. Grade: B-
#8 (7) Michelle Waterson beats #11 (10) Courtney Casey by unanimous decision. This fight was an interesting battle as Waterson had the reach disadvantage and the size disadvantage. She kept herself active and used her speed to strike and get out before Casey could land much. I think this fight was as good as it could get with the size difference and reach difference between the two fighters. Michelle Waterson should face the winner of Gadelha and Esparza in her next fight. Courtney Casey should fight Joanne Calderwood in her next fight in the strawweight division. Grade: C-
Antonio Carlos Junior submits Tim Boetsch in round 1. This fight didn’t last long, and it was fairly one sided from the beginning to the end. Boetsch had a hard time getting his heavy big hands on Antonio and he couldn’t get the pace of the fight under his control. Antonio being able to control the pace of the fight landed his shots and got his takedown. Once this fight got to the mat there was no hesitation for him on how he was going to end this fight. This fight was fun though as it was an aggressive paced fight and we saw a great finish. I would like to see Antonio Carlos Junior fight Uriah Hall in his next fight to see if he belongs among the top middleweights. Grade: B+
Muslim Salikhov knocks out Ricky Rainey in round 2. This fight was a very interesting battle as it was slow at times, and then had moments of brilliance. Muslim had great takedown defense and kept this fight standing which is where regardless of a significant disadvantage in the reach department he was the better fighter. Ricky was hitting once and stopping he wasn’t landing combinations and continuing to strike he was respecting the power coming back too much and it cost him. Muslim caught Rickey one on of his shots and ended the fight so quick I missed it at first because I went to throw a ball for my dog. It was a great fight in the end and has me wondering just what the king of Kungfu, Muslim Salikhov could do in this division. Muslim should fight Abdul Razak Alhassan like he was originally supposed to in this fight. Grade: B
#10 (10) John Moraga defeats #7 (6) Wilson Reis by unanimous decision. I can’t lie I was shocked a little bit by this decision. I thought Moraga was clearly the better fighter on his feet, but Wilson did everything he could to get this fight to the met where he dominated the ground and kept the fight on the mat for 7 minutes. Wilson landed 8 takedowns in this fight showing how good he is at getting top level flyweights to the mat. Moraga though I believe did do more damage though and was the much more accurate striker and maybe that’s what the judges saw in the decision. John Moraga should fight Ben Nguyen in his next fight that would be a great fight for the fight fans. Wilson Reis should fight Alexandre Pantoja in his next fight and see if he can turn around his flyweight luck of late. Grade: C
NR (15) Brad Tavares knocks out #14 (13) Krzystztof Jotko in round 3. Tavares just simply beat Jotko with his striking and takedown defense when Jotko tried. Tavares proved he had a gas tank this fight and was able to keep his aggressive striking and landed good clean shots. The knockout came with his patience and he proved he is really finally ready to start moving up this division and can win big fights in this division. Tavares called out Bisping for his next fight and that should be a good fight to make. Jotko who isn’t going to be ranked anymore should fight Johny Hendricks in his next fight and get himself back in the rankings conversation. Grade: A-
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