Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight finishers Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller will scrap this Saturday night (Feb. 11, 2017) at UFC 208 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Poirier chose to move up from the Featherweight after coming up short in a couple pivotal bouts, and “The Diamond” made the right decision. He brutally knocked out three opponents in four fights since switching weight classes, but Poirier found himself on the wrong end of a quick knockout in his last time out.
On the other hand, Miller recovered from a really rough stretch to put together three straight wins heading into this bout. Miller may not be a top contender any longer, but the veteran actually has a chance here to potentially recover a spot in the rankings.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes.
Key Wins: Joseph Duffy (UFC 195), Bobby Green (UFC 199), Carlos Diego Ferrira (UFC Fight Night 63), Erick Koch (UFC 164)
Key Losses: Michael Johnson (UFC Fight Night 94), Connor McGregor (UFC 178), Cub Swanson (UFC on FUEL TV 7), Chan Sung Jung (UFC on FUEL TV 3)
Keys to Victory: Poirier is a well-rounded athlete with big power. He has a base in wrestling and jiu-jitsu, but Poirier is usually down to walk his man down with hard combinations and some big kicks.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that Jim Miller struggles with a few things at the highest level. For example, Miller does not do well with fighters who pressure him, particularly if they mix takedowns into their attack.
Poirier can pretty easily fit that description. By mixing power punches, takedowns, and forward pressure, Poirier can make his opponent very uncomfortable without having to really change up his style.
Additionally, Poirier has another advantage as the younger athlete. If he’s able to suck Miller into a stand up war or grinding wrestling match, it’s rather likely that his opponent will slow down first.
In short, it’s his fight to lose, as Poirier simply needs to avoid getting clipped or falling into a submission early on.
Record: 28-8 (1)
Key Wins: Joe Lauzon (UFC on FOX 21, UFC 155), Thiago Alves (UFC 205), Danny Castillo (UFC Fight Night 45), Yancy Medeiros (UFC 172)
Key Losses: Diego Sanchez (UFC 196), Beneil Dariush (UFC on FOX 15), Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 45)
Keys to Victory: Miller has been in the UFC for nearly a decade now, utilizing his wrestling background to strangle a good portion of the division. The Southpaw is also a tricky striker with sneaky power, making him a pretty potent finisher in all areas.
For all his prowess and success, Poirier has never been a great defensive fighter. His last loss confirmed that problems still exist, as Poirier completely exposed himself to the counter punch that ended his night.
Miller should look to copy that strategy. He’s not the longer fighter, but he can still take advantage of Poirier’s nature to bait him into reaching by sticking to his jab and hard low kicks.
By scoring points and remaining patient, it won’t take long for Miller to convince Poirier to get aggressive. Miller can then attempt to find an opening and capitalize — be it a counter punch or submission off a poor shot — which is likely his best chance at scoring the upset.
Bottom Line: This should be a solid scrap between experienced Lightweights.
Poirier needs to bounce back, and that’s the real purpose of this match up. It’s a step back in competition for the Louisiana-native, and it should allow him to get back into the win column before he returns to fighting the division’s best.
That said, if Poirier comes up short here, it’s a dramatic setback. Throughout his entire UFC career, Poirier has only lost to top contenders in their prime. Miller may still be dangerous, but that’s not an accurate description of him at this point. Poirier may even be dropped from the rankings with a loss, forced to start his run from the bottom once again.
As for Miller, this is a big opportunity for him. If he can upset Poirier, it’s far and away the biggest victory of his four fight win streak. We’ve seen other Lightweight veterans like Evan Dunham recover from a rough streak to return to relevancy in the past, and Miller could add his name to that small list.
A title run is still incredibly unlikely, but it’s a real start.
In the more likely event that Miller comes up short, his position remains unchanged. He’s still a solid fighter and gatekeeper, but it’s clear that the top 15 in the world are simply too skilled for him.
At UFC 208, Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller will open the main card. Which man will have his hand raised?
Source:: mma mania