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UFC 302: Makhachev beats Poirier by submission, defends lightweight title



UFC 302: Makhachev beats Poirier by submission, defends lightweight title

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Islam Makhachev had a determined opponent in entrance of him and far of a sold-out crowd in opposition to him.

None of that stopped him. Nothing has in a very long time.

Makhachev defended his light-weight title and prolonged his profitable streak to 14 fights, the third longest in UFC historical past, by getting a submission victory over Dustin Poirier within the fifth spherical on Saturday evening at UFC 302.

Overcoming one of many sport’s achieved veterans and a crowd — together with former President Donald Trump — that was in opposition to him from the beginning, Makhachev ran his report to 26-1 and stated afterward he could transfer up in weight for one more problem.

“That is my dream,” Makhachev stated.

There’s definitely not a lot left for the Russian at 155 kilos, the place he defended his title for the third time and confirmed once more why he’s ranked because the pound-for-pound finest in UFC.

Poirier (30-9) fell brief in his third try for the undisputed title, all three ending by submission. At 35, he’s contemplating retirement.

“I’ve obtained to see. I believe this may very well be it,” he stated after the struggle.

He battled again after Makhachev managed the primary spherical and bloodied the champion’s face later, however Makhachev took him down halfway by means of the fifth and rapidly pounced, with Poirier unable to flee the chokehold.

“Unimaginable struggle. Each guys dug deep,” UFC President Dana White stated.

Makhachev, whereas respectful of the challenger’s accomplishments, famous this week that Poirier did effectively in opposition to boxers however was uncovered in opposition to fighters with wrestling backgrounds — which Makhachev lists as his energy.

The champion appeared on his option to a twelfth victory by submission within the first spherical when he took Poirier down within the opening minute of the struggle and stored him on the mat the remainder of the spherical.

Followers roared when Poirier, the No. 4-ranked light-weight, escaped a few takedown makes an attempt within the second, rising even louder when he made it to the horn on the finish of the spherical.

The fighters had good exchanges within the third and fourth and each have been bloodied, however Makhachev didn’t have to fret about taking any extra punches.

“Completely happy to complete him, however this man remains to be among the finest on this planet,” Makhachev stated of Poirier.

Although Makhachev spoke of his want after to maneuver as much as 170 kilos, White appeared extra interested by making a match with Arman Tsarukyan, the No. 1-ranked contender at light-weight, who’s from Russia however represents Armenia. However Makhachev appears intent on difficult for one more belt.

“If you wish to create a legacy you must get second belt,” he stated.

Poirier, the favored veteran from Louisiana who ranks within the UFC’s prime 5 in profession victories, knockouts and finishes, bumped into maybe the very best fighter at this time. He was choked out by Charles Oliveira and Khabib Nurmagomedov in his different title photographs, and whereas White stated that gave Poirier information he may use for this struggle, it wasn’t sufficient to win it.

Although it sounded at instances like retirement was the plan, he definitely didn’t sound certain.

“I nonetheless really feel like I wish to be world champion,” he stated.

Within the co-main occasion, former middleweight champion Sean Strickland obtained again within the win column with a break up choice over Paulo Costa. Strickland seemed to be controlling what he referred to as a boring struggle in opposition to the Brazilian, who spent a lot of it backpedaling away from exchanges.

Strickland (29-6), who misplaced the title in his final bout, additionally by break up choice to Dricus Du Plessis in January, stated afterward he desires one other shot.

“I wish to struggle for the belt,” he stated.

Strickland spent a lot of the first spherical utilizing brief kicks to maintain the gap, throwing few punches with the newly designed UFC gloves — designed largely to forestall eye pokes — that he criticized till dropping Costa (14-4) with a proper hand within the last minute of the spherical.

He tried for the end within the last minutes of the fifth spherical, knocking Costa down with a kick and dashing after him earlier than the clock ran out.

Trump entered to a loud ovation simply because the preliminary portion of the occasion was ending. Days after turning into the first former U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes in New York, he shook fingers with the announcers and waved his fists to supporters who cheered him earlier than sitting to observe the motion with White.


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