The featherweight division definitely has a new challenger waiting in the wings to become a contender.
Dustin Poirier picked up yet another impressive victory at the first ever UFC on Fox show, finishing off Pablo Garza with a slick D’arce choke in the second round to get a submission win.
In his last two fights, Pablo Garza has been as explosive as anyone in the featherweight division. He’s capable of big knockouts and quick submissions, so for that very reason Poirier approached the fight with a much smarter strategy than just getting in his face and throwing punches.
Poirier was more methodical in the first round than he’s been in past fights, but once he got Garza’s long, lanky range in hand, he showed that he was clearly the stronger fighter once they got in the clinch.
Poirier picked up the pace in the 2nd round, and got Garza to the mat again where he saw an opening that soon finished the fight.
As Garza wrapped his arm under Poirier’s trying to gain position, he left his head open for the Louisiana native to wrap up a D’arce choke. Poirier flexed and sunk in the choke and Garza did the exact thing you’re not supposed to do and he rolled to his back.
“Sometimes that choke’s really hard to finish from half guard, but he turned and laid flat and gave it to me,” Poirier described after getting the submission. “I train my jiu-jitsu with Tim Credeur, six days a week, I’m a purple belt. A lot of you guys haven’t seen my ground game because I like to tuck my chin and bang, but Tim’s a 6’3″ black belt. I knew Garza didn’t have anything I haven’t seen.”
Garza couldn’t last and tapped out, handing Poirier his third win in a row since moving to the featherweight division.
“I didn’t cut any corners in training camp, I came in here the best I’ve ever been,” Poirier said.
The victory puts Poirier right in line to become a potential contender in the featherweight division, alongside fellow WEC veteran Erik Koch, who is also on a solid winning streak lately.
With champion Jose Aldo already scheduled to meet Chad Mendes in January, a Poirier vs. Koch match-up could be just the medicine to provide the 145lb weight class another challenger for the belt.