Two Wars: Poirier and Adesanya Win at UFC 236
I’ve not really got the point of Interim titles, what meaning or value do they really have. They should be created in only the most exceptional circumstances, and for me neither Interim title on the line at UFC 236 fitted that criteria. Both fights were nothing more than final eliminators, earning the right to face the real champion later in the year.
But the four fighters who challenged for these belts gave everything for them and then some, in two incredible fights that will live long in the memory.
Each had their moments, victory seemingly there for the taking. But in the end, Dustin Poirier and Israel Adesanya had their hands raised, each gave a big part of themselves to emerge victorious, and will undoubtedly have to give even more in their next fights.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Robert Whittaker lie in wait, and Poirier and Adesanya know the job isn’t yet complete if they want to call themselves a fully fledged UFC champion.
At the end of their titanic middleweight showdown, Kelvin Gastelum must have thought the fight was his. Adesanya looked on the verge of being stopped towards the end of the 4th round, the legs went as a result of a head-kick, and Gastelum might regret going for a takedown rather than letting his hands go to finish the job. Adesanya who was dropped in the opening round, showed again what his powers of recovery are like as he recovered to turn it on in the final round, dropping his man repeatedly to seal the decision that hinged on that last round.
Adesanya has been a slow burn for me, impressive one fight, less so another. The Anderson Silva fight didn’t really convince me, but he showed he has the heart to go with the silky striking skills. Gastelum more than played his part, and he came so close to the win, I was surprised he didn’t wrestle more, maybe the success he had in the first round let him believe his best shot was on the feet, but he will come again and nobody would complain if a rematch was made in the future, his story is far from over.
Max Holloway saw his 13 fight unbeaten run end at the hands of Dustin Poirier in another brutal savage war in the main event. Holloway saw his move up to lightweight end in defeat against an inspired opponent. Holloway had success in every round, even the ones were he was badly hurt, the power and size of Poirier were just too much, even if I had Holloway edging it 48-47.
Like the co-main, it was back and forth, and Holloway himself looked as though he had finally sucked the fight out of Poirier in the 4th, but like Adesanya, he survived and went home with the hard-earned win.
Holloway looked small at the weight, and he faces the reality of putting himself through the torture of making featherweight again, at least for the immediate future.
For Poirier, the nearly man tag has gone, the reward if you can call it that, a fight with Khabib in September.
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