Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., April 14, 2018) for UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale, Arizona, which was headlined by a barn-burner of a lightweight showdown that saw Dustin Poirier knock out Justin Gaethje in the fourth round.
Also, Brazilian welterweight Alex Oliveira got back on the winning track by upsetting former UFC titleholder Carlos Condit via second-round submission in the co-main event.
Biggest Winner: Dustin Poirier
“The Diamond” came in to the fight with one objective: Cement himself as a No. 1 contender. And boy did he make a case for himself. After taking some damage early on, especially from non-stop leg kicks from Gaethje, which Poirier simply failed to check time and time again, ‘Diamond” seemed to be fading from damage sustained.
After a few unfortunate eye-pokes, and a brief stall in action, we somehow found ourselves in the fourth round of a fight many expected to be done early. A few seconds into the round, Poirier clipped “Highlight” with a clean straight left that had him on wobbly legs. Like a patient lion stalking his prey, Poirier went in for the kill in a rather calm manner, making sure not blow his load or leave an opening to get clipped himself. But Gaethje was out on his feet, anyway, as Poirier continued to land one shot after another until referee Herb Dean thankfully but an end to the punishment, much to the chagrin of Gaethje.
Poirier called for a shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight strap afterward, but since Conor McGregor is seemingly on his way back, he will have to wait a bit longer to punch his ticket to the big dance.
Runner Up: Alex Oliveira
Facing Carlos Condit on a few weeks notice isn’t normally an ideal situation. That said, it was one “Cowboy” simply couldn’t pass up after Matt Brown was forced out of the fight with a torn ACL.
The Brazilian made the most of it, going to war with “The Natural Born Killer” and living to tell that tale. And not only that, notching the biggest win of his combat career by submitting Condit with a guillotine choke in the second round. Prior to that, however, Oliveira clipped Condit with an upkick that wobbled the bloody fighter, setting him up for the perfect finish.
It’s a huge win for the Brazilian bomber, who gets back into the win column after coming up short against Yancy Medeiros in his previous outing. And based on his last three Octagon appearances, Oliveira is starting to become must-see TV.
Biggest Loser: Carlos Condit
Condit’s comeback run has not been what he had imagined after ending his retirement last year. After losing to Neil Magny at UFC 219, “The Natural Born Killer” was hoping to get back on track with a big win over a late replacement in Oliveira.
With a submission loss at the hands of “Cowboy,” Condit drops to 0-4 in his last four outings. It’s a bad stretch for anyone. But when it happens to a former champion and a fan favorite, the impact resonates a bit more. It’s not a pretty sight to see watching a fighter go downhill, but that’s the nature of the sport we love to watch.
Condit has accomplished a lot throughout his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, but it remains to be seen if he’ll continue to try to collect his first win in two years or if he goes back to the life of retirement.
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