Check out our breakdown of the post-fight bonuses from UFC on FOX 29: Gaethje vs. Poirier from Glendale, Arizona.
The Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona was home to an entertaining night of fights, with five (T)KOs, three submissions and six decisions, including two split-decisions.
Tonight’s card had an incredible fourteen fights on it, but the pacing was, by and large, not terrible. It helped that more than half the fights ended in a finish, and almost every fight after the Fight Pass prelims delivered in one way or another.
Performances of the Night: Adam Wieczorek, Alex Oliveira
In the opening round, Arjan Bhullar started out dominating Adam Wieczorek with inside pressure and a big overhand left before scoring the first takedown. Once in the Pole’s guard, the tides turned, and Bhullar struggled to posture up. Wieczorek angled to look for a triangle, but with no success, and Bhullar isn’t landing anything with authority, so the ref stands them up.
The second round saw Bhullar connect with a solid punch and the two locked up in clinch battle. At some point, Adam loses his mouthpiece and directly after the ref pauses the action to put it back in, Bhullar scored another takedown. Wieczorek attempted a kimura, but Bhullar escaped. As Arjan advanced again, the Pole managed to position his legs for the omaplata and miraculously secured it for the tap from Bhullar and 50,000 smackeroos for his bank account.
It’s insane to think that Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira ever made the 156 lb lightweight limit, given how huge he is in the cage. He was clearly larger than Carlos Condit, who himself is a 6’ 2” career welterweight. While not the only factor, Cowboy’s weight advantage absolutely played a huge role in his win over fan-favorite Condit, as he bullied Carlos in the clinch and landed repeated takedowns.
Condit, to his credit, was always active from the bottom and made it difficult for Oliveira to use his weight advantage by constantly creating scrambles for position. It was one of these scrambles that would ultimately prove to be his undoing, as Cowboy snatched up an opportunistic guillotine. Condit fought gamely and seemed close to riding the choke out, but Oliveira kept pressure on Condit’s neck as he dragged him from standing, to sitting, to the mat, and the Natural Born Killer was left with no choice but to tap at 3:17 of round two. Alex Oliveira walks out $50,000 richer for his efforts.
Fight of the Night: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
If MMA had an all-violence team, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje would be among the first names on the team sheet—week in, week out. Both guys are the type to come back with their shields or upon them, for better or worse, and fireworks are guaranteed every time either man steps in the cage, so you can imagine what was expected when they were both locked in the Octagon together.
The fight lived up to the lofty expectations of the fans, delivering action in spades and something for everyone—except maybe grappling diehards. Neither man took a backwards step, or even seemed aware of the concepts of “wrestling” or “grappling” or “not constantly punching.”
Poirier was the victim of a few unfortunate eye-pokes, but veteran referee Herb Dean caught them, and Gaethje was ultimately deducted a point in the third round. Poirier responded by apparently delivering an eye poke of his own to Gaethje at the end of the round, but no deduction there.
An eyepoke for an eyepoke might be enough to satiate those seeking vengeance in biblical terms, but Poirier doesn’t subscribe to that theory and came out swinging in the fourth round, cracking Gathje almost instantly with a left hand that would have dropped most mortal men.
Gaethje, rather than falling, performed his best “drunken master” impression, staggering around the cage, willing his wobbling body to throw a punch, any punch, at the swarming Poirier. His mind might have been willing, but his body wasn’t, and as soon as he lost his balance under the barrage of blows, Herb Dean stepped in to protect Gaethje from himself.
The 16 or so minutes of back-and-forth brawling earned both men a standing ovation after the fight and a cool 50 Gs in bonus cash.