UFC 242 Main Event: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier

The minute Khabib vs Poirier was announced everyone knew that it was going to be a thriller. Two extremely contrasting styles, with Poirier being the combination puncher/ striker and Khabib, the wrestler.

In round one, Khabib had his defence planned out, it is a fact that outboxing Poirier is a very very difficult thing to do if not impossible, so from the beginning Khabib was keeping distance and staying out of range. Poirier started throwing some kicks, but nothing too damaging. In the first round itself Khabib threw a combination of short punches and while Poirier was near the cage, managed to get a hold of his leg. Now, this is not a surprise to anyone who has seen Khabib’s 27 fights, but short combinations of punches and feinting allows Khabib to close distance and get a hold of his opponents, and this is so effective that it seems there is no defence to this technique, which means that Khabib’s opponents have to play his game of takedowns and wrestling in which he is amongst the best in the world. In the first round itself, Khabib with his back control, was about to get a choke on Poirier, but he was resisting well. At the end of the first, Khabib managed to strike Poirier who was on the ground with punches and elbows, but was stopped the the bell.

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In round 2, Poirier came out a bit aggressively, but seemed to forget all punching technique as he swung wildly a few times, very uncharacteristic of him. Shortly after this, Poirier managed to catch Khabib with an overhand right, which stunned him. As khabib was retreating , Poirier chased him down, trying to put more pressure on Khabib, but walked straight in to left hook , which landed powerfully enough to stop Poirier. As Poirier tried to regain his momentum, he started swinging wildly , and Khabib’s defence was good enough for it. I also do suspect at this point that Poirier was tired due to the unrelenting pressure of Khabib in the first round. As Poirier’s punches lessened, Khabib saw his opportunity and took him down again. Khabib’s grappling continued for a significant time, with him being in control, just tiring Poirier out. Khabib landed a few strikes and just as Poirier managed to get free, the round ended. It was clear that Poirier was tired at the end of this round

Round 3 started the same way, with Khabib keeping distance then feinting and getting a hold of Poirier, but this time Poirier managed to get a guillotine choke, but not very tightly. Khabib soon managed to get himself out of it and get back to hi plan to clinching and wrestling with Poirier. As soon as Khabib had back control and he knew that Poirier was tired, he got the rear naked choke in place, just like he said he would, in the press conference before this match and subsequently Poirier tapped out, giving Khabib his 28th win.

In conclusion I speculate that Poirier wasn’t in the best shape, mentally. One would expect a black belt in BJJ to lock down a Guillotine choke perfectly if given even a small opening. Poirier as was showing sign of frustration in the break between the 2nd and 3rd round and also was looking at his corner a lot for advice on how to deal with Khabib’s wrestling. Also, it doesn’t help much when your opponent has no losses to his name. In my opinion, Poirier lost due to a lack of strategy but I still strongly believe that he isn’t a lesser fighter to Khabib.