Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier surely had much bigger expectations for their fight than the no-contest result they got at UFC 211 on Saturday in Dallas. It was an exciting fight up until the lackluster outcome, but that doesn’t leave the result tasting any less sour.
Alvarez came into this fight wanting to put a disappointing loss to Conor McGregor behind him. Poirier, coming off of a win over Jim Miller in his previous fight, was looking to catapult from No. 9 in the division up into title talks.
The first round saw both men open strong. They showed lots of head movement, but Poirier was a little more fluid than Alvarez. While they both showed good movement and combinations, Poirier set himself apart with several solid left kicks to the body throughout the round and packed a little more power in his punches.
Poirier appeared close to finishing the fight in the second round. He unleashed a straight left that staggered Alvarez, who was on wobbly legs as he fell backward into the cage. Poirier unloaded on him, but somehow, some way, Alvarez fought his way back, landing a right hand that hurt his foe.
Alvarez dropped for a takedown, but got caught briefly in a guillotine. He slipped out, but then Poirier landed a couple stinging punches. Then, out of nowhere, Alvarez hit the takedown he had been seeking and attempted to put Poirier in a guillotine as he crumpled by the fence.
Poirier got out of the guillotine and attempted to regain his feet, but Alvarez kept him up against the fence. Poirier had one hand on the canvas as Alvarez unleashed a knee to the head. Poirier again had his hand down and ate another knee to the face, which lifted his hand up off the canvas. This time he dropped to a knee, putting his hand fully on the mat, and Alvarez drove another knee into the side of his head.
Following the third knee, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight and called the doctor into the Octagon to check on Poirier.
Poirier had blurry vision in his left eye and the fight was waved off.
Texas had not adopted the new rules where a fighter can be deemed fair game for a knee to the head if he is on both feet but touches the fingers of one hand to the canvas, so all three of the knees appeared to be illegal.
Dean’s conversation with cageside officials, however, was picked up on the mic and he explained that he felt the first two knees were legal and that he didn’t feel there was illegal intent on the third knee, so he declared the blows accidental and the fight a no contest.
After the fight, Alvarez apologized to Poirier, saying, “I’m not a dirty fighter. We’re fist fighting in here. I’m doing the best I can. I apologize to Dustin.”
The crowd was booing heavily, which angered Poirier.
“Don’t boo this man. This guys’s a champion. Don’t boo this man. This guy’s a warrior,” as he reprimanded the crowd.
It’s unclear what the UFC will do following the no contest decision, but Alvarez was clearly open to a rematch.
“Let’s run it back. We can do it again.”