Lightweight contender Dustin Poirier isn’t fond of his reputation of falling short when he has the most on the line.
He is doing everything he can to prove the claim false.
Poirier won a thrilling bout over former champion Anthony Pettis in the main event of UFC Fight Night 120 on Saturday night in Norfolk, Virginia.
Officially, Pettis tapped out due to injury when he appeared to hurt his rib while trying to escape from a bad position on the mat in the third round. Poirier had already inflicted a great deal of damage over the course of the first two rounds and had cut Pettis enough the fight had to be stopped for the doctor to check him.
“He was hurt and I felt the power leave him,” Poirier said. “You know the point in a fight when a guy gets broken. I do that to a lot of these guys. I’m a nasty dude. I love this. This is what I live for. The talking, calling people out and acting crazy? That’s not what I do. I fight.”
Poirier was coming off a strong performance against former champion Eddie Alvarez that had ended in controversial fashion when he couldn’t continue after a pair of illegal blows delivered by Alvarez. The fight was ruled a no-contest instead of Poirier being awarded a victory, which still appears to bother him.
“Everybody says I slip up in big fights, but that’s two champions in a row I just beat,” Poirier said. “So, what’s up?”
Poirier said he would like to fight the winner of a Dec. 2 bout between Alvarez and Justin Gaethje next, with a possible title shot being awarded to the victor.
Welterweight veteran Matt Brown left a lasting impression in what may have been his final fight with a highlight-reel knockout of Diego Sanchez.
Brown used his left hand to gauge the distance before unleashing a crushing right elbow that crumpled Sanchez and ended the fight at 3:44 of the first round.
It was billed as a retirement bout for Brown, but the 36-year-old said afterward he would discuss his fighting future with his family before making an official decision.
“I wanted to focus on this fight and enjoy the moment,” he said. “It could be my last fight. I’m closing the door, but I’m not locking it. I want to think hard about what my motivations are and what I want out of this. I want to think about what I do with myself and my life. I love fighting. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. But do I want to be a championship fighter or just fight? I don’t want to just fight. If I’m not going to be fighting towards a championship, then I’m not going to be fighting.”
Another veteran, former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, turned back the clock with a unanimous-decision victory over Junior Albini.
The victory snapped a five-fight losing streak for Arlovski and likely ensured he would continue his UFC career.
Also, middleweight Cezar Ferreira scored a split-decision victory over Nate Marquardt.
The main card opened with two spectacular knockouts.
Clay Guida needed just 1:07 to knock out Joe Lauzon in a lightweight bout to kick off the broadcast.
Guida landed a right uppercut on Lauzon’s chin and followed it up with some relentless ground-and-pound to stop the fight on a series of punches and elbows on the mat.
It was his first stoppage victory since 2011 and first knockout win since 2008.
“I flip the calendar and think, ‘Man, am I ever going to finish someone?’” Guida admitted. “It’s a long time coming and to get it against someone as high-level as Joe feels pretty good.”
Guida’s UFC contract is up and he hopes the performance will be enough to warrant a new deal.
Bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao hopes his knockout win gets him a title shot.
Assuncao wore down Matthew Lopez with leg kicks and then knocked him out with a right hand in the third round.
The victory improved him to 10-1 in his last 11 fights with the lone loss coming to current champion T.J. Dillashaw in July 2016.
Assuncao wants a shot at redemption.
“My only loss at bantamweight is to TJ Dillashaw and I also have a win over him,” Assuncao said. “Let’s do the trilogy. The first fight was close. For the second fight, I fought him in my first fight after 16 months away. We fought and he beat me. Now, he’s become the champion again. Now, I know his game and I can use different parts of my arsenal.”
Six of the seven preliminary card bouts went the distance, with only Karl Roberson finishing a fight when he submitted middleweight Darren Stewart with a rear-naked choke in the first round.
Marlon Moraes earned the split-decision nod over John Dodson in a matchup of bantamweight contenders. Lightweight star Sage Northcutt won all three rounds of a unanimous decision over Michel Quinones.
Tatiana Suarez and Nina Ansaroff each won unanimous decisions in women’s strawweight bouts. Welterweight Sean Strickland edged Court McGee and light heavyweight Jake Collier earned the favor of the judges in his bout against Marcel Fortuna.
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