Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event in Norfolk was expected to be one to remember, and it was, as Dustin Poirier scored a third-round stoppage of former world champion Anthony Pettis at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.
“Everyone says I slip up in big fights, but that’s two champions in a row I just beat, so what’s up?” asked Poirier, who was coming off a May no contest with Eddie Alvarez.
Pettis opened up with kicks as Poirier pressured his foe, trying to get close. A minute in, Poirier got his wish and followed up with a takedown, pinning Pettis against the fence. Pettis looked for a kimura but wasn’t able to secure it, but moments later he swept his way off the mat and back to his feet. After a couple exchanges, Poirier tried another takedown, and while he wasn’t able to get it, he jarred Pettis and cut him over the left eye, leading to some furious trading up until the end of the round.
Poirier got the fight back to the mat early in round two, cutting Pettis again with an elbow. The blood was clearly bothering Pettis, but the Milwaukee native spun out of trouble and into the top position, where he fired off some elbows of his own, cutting Poirier in the process. As the crowd roared, the scrambles continued, but with under a minute left, referee Keith Peterson brought in the Octagonside physician to check Pettis’ cut. After getting the green light, Pettis locked in a triangle choke, but Poirier escaped and then ended the round with a series of hard ground strikes.
The bout hit the canvas in the opening minute of round three, Poirier taking Pettis’ back. Yet as Pettis tried to escape, he appeared to injure his ribs, forcing him to tap out at 2:08 of the round.
“I’m a nasty dude, this is what I live for,” Louisiana’s Poirier said. “The talking, the calling people out, acting crazy, that’s not what I do. I fight and I earn it.”
With the win, the No. 8-ranked Poirier lifts his record to 22-5 with 1 NC. The No. 13-ranked Pettis falls to 20-7.