One year after their lightweight duel was marred by Eddie Alvarez's illegal knees, Dustin Poirier proved that revenge was best served violently on Saturday.
Poirier (24-5, 1 NC) survived both Alvarez's never-say-die style and an illegal 12-to-6 elbow that threatened to ruin their rematch just moments before Poirier recorded a resounding second-round TKO in the main event of UFC on Fox at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. In the process, the red-hot Poirier may have secured a future title shot at 155 pounds.
"I told you so," Poirier said defiantly after the bout. "I told you so."
Although Poirier originally vouched for Alvarez (29-6, 1 NC) in the aftermath of their first meeting at UFC 211 in May 2017, the buildup to their rematch was overtaken by trash talk and statements from both that the other was on the verge of quitting as Alvarez delivered the illegal blows which caused the fight to end via no contest.
"What really irked me this whole camp and after the fight is how I stood up for this man in Dallas, Texas, and then he comes back to say I quit," Poirier said. "I'll never quit, I'll die in here. This is what I do, I live for this everyday, all day. This is who I am, I'm a fighter at heart. I'll never quit in here, that's disgusting to hear."
The first round played out very similar to their first fight as Poirier, 29, landed the cleaner shots in a very tactical round. But just like the first time, fireworks ensued one round later.
The 34-year-old Alvarez, a former UFC champion who was fighting out the last bout on his contract, came out aggressive and scored a pair of early takedowns. Alvarez cut Poirier with punches and briefly worked a neck crank. But his dominant position was taken away midway through the round. Alvarez attempted an illegal 12-to-6 elbow from his knees while Poirier was seated against the cage, causing referee Marc Goddard to stand them up and sternly warn Alvarez.
"The elbow actually landed on my shoulder, it didn't hurt me at all," Poirier said. "It felt like a normal elbow, I'm not even sure. After the fight, Eddie said, 'They stood you up though,' as in I won the fight because of that. But don't throw a 12-to-6 elbow just like you don't knee a downed opponent."
After the illegal strike, the action only intensified on the feet. A straight left hand from the southpaw Poirier hurt Alvarez and he followed with a knee to the chest and seven straight jabs which landed flush and backed Alvarez up to the cage.
Given Alvarez's history of brawling through pain and damage, Goddard allowed him to hang in despite enduring tremendous punishment against the cage. Although Alvarez was countering with haymakers, Poirier stayed poised and picked him apart with a brutal series of punches, forearms, kicks and knees until Alvarez collapsed to the ground and Goddard waved it off at 4:05.
"I felt good coming in here. This is the most calm I've ever been," Poirier said. "This is my 30th pro fight. I'm a young veteran and I just feel at home in here."
Poirier, who improved to 7-1 since returning to lightweight, called for a title shot after the fight.
"Just look at my track record," Poirier said. "Eddie Alvarez, former champ. Anthony Pettis, former champ. Justin Gaethje, former champ. Eddie Alvarez, former champ. That's four champions in a row. What else do I got to do, that's like my 25th fight in the UFC? Khabib [Nurmagomedov], where you at?"
Although Poirier could see a title shot in his future over the next year, the division remains as crowded as ever. Nurmagomedov is expected to face returning former champion Conor McGregor later this fall and Poirier may still find himself behind Tony Ferguson in the pecking order when all is said and done.
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UFC on Fox 30 results
Dustin Poirier def. Eddie Alvarez via second-round TKO (punches)
(30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexander Hernandez def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
CBS Sports was with you for every punch, kick and submission attempt on Saturday night with our live blog below.
UFC on Fox 30 live updates/commentary
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