UFC 302: Makhachev vs. Poirier Live Fight Coverage

In perhaps the most dangerous bout of his reign as UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev lived up to his title as the promotion’s top pound-for-pound fighter.The Russian defeated UFC veteran Dustin Poirier with a fifth-round submission to defend his belt in a fight that seemed to be trending against him in the later rounds. He spent much of the fight in control on the ground, but was stuffed on several takedown events and was sporting a gnarly forehead cut going into the fifth.

The whole effort looked like it would be a lot easier in the first round, when Makhachev clocked Poirier, took him down and took his back, spending the next four minutes looking for a choke or arm triangle. Poirier fought all of those attempts off and started to find his footing in the second round. It has proven to be borderline impossible to beat Makhachev on the ground, but Poirier fought him off as much as he needed to and landed some big strikes to keep the fight fairly even.With the Prudential Center in Newark crowd firmly behind the American underdog, an upset very much seemed possible Poirier won the fifth round. Makhachev snuffed out that threat with a D’Arce choke and was soon being mobbed by his corner as Poirier laid on the floor, either unconscious or close to it.

It was yet another stellar display of creativity and talent by Makhachev, who said he would next like to compete for the UFC welterweight crown, currently held by Leon Edwards. Makhachev has now defended the belt three times, with the other two coming against former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

“It’s my dream. I want to fight for the second belt. I want to feel that energy again, because when you defend your belt, it’s not the same. I need new one,” Makhachev said.

As for Poirier, the 35-year-old indicated he was seriously considering retirement, though he said he wasn’t 100% yet. This was his third shot at the lightweight belt, with the other two also resulting in submission losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was in Makhachev’s corner Saturday, and Charles Oliveira.

“If I do fight again, what am I fighting for? Just to fight? I’ve done that 50 times,” Poirier said. “I don’t know. I’ve got a little girl I love, I gotta see. I think this could be it, honestly.”

Here’s how the entire UFC 302 card went down. It was a great night if you like wins by decision, some with absolutely inscrutable decisions from the judges.

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