Headliners Put on Fights of the Year at UFC 236
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Atlanta--- UFC 236 took place on Saturday night and featured two interim title fights that provided fans watching at home and those in attendance at State Farm Arena with some of the greatest fights in UFC history. Former Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum and Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya fought in an absolute brawl in the co-main event and reigning UFC Featherweight Champion, Max "Blessed" Holloway and Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier lived up to the hype in the main event.
Rightfully so, both fights were awarded Fight of the Night, with all four fighters recieving an extra fifty-thousand dollars. Both fights will definitely be talked about for years to come and will be in the discussion for Fight of the Year.
Adesanya defeated Gastelum by unanimous decision to become the Interim-UFC Middleweight Champion. All three judges scored the fight 48-46 in favor of Adesanya in a fight that could've gone either way.
Gastelum surprised many by fighting more of a standup fight, which usually plays to the strength of Adesanya, but he was able to hit him with many powerful strikes that had those in attendance believing Stylebender was on the verge of being knocked out.
Adesanya was able to recover and land a combination of his own that stunned Gastelum but he couldn't finish him either. Both fighters were resilient and when it came to the fifth and final round, Adesanya took over and was able to knock down Gastelum a few times, which likely won him the fight. This was significant for Adesanya's MMA career because he displayed a championship mentality in that he was able to overcome adversity earlier in the fight and turn things around in his favor.
UFC President Dana White announced in the post-fight press conference that Adesanya became a star Saturday night and compared his rise to Conor McGregor, which is a great compliment considering McGregor has become the highest paid fighter on the roster. White also mentioned that the unification fight between new Interim-UFC Middleweight Champion and current UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker will take place in Australia and could even be in a stadium.
Just when fans thought they'd seen something special, the main event featuring two fighter who are known for putting on exciting fights was up next.
Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier went to war inside the octagon and each had moments throughout the fight where it looked like they were going to finish their opponent. Poirier landed many powerful strikes that rocked Holloway early on, but Holloway was able to recover and push the pace later in the fight by landing a fleury of strikes that looked to have slowed Poirier down.
During an exchange in the fourth round, Poirier landed a knee to Holloway's forehead that cut him above his eyebrow and caused blood to pour down his nose and around his left eye.
Poirier maintained his composure in the fifth round and weather the storm when Holloway started picking up the pace again. All three judges scored the fight 49-46 in favor of Poirier, making him the Interim-UFC Lightweight Champion and sets up a unification bout with undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, likely in September.
Photo and Video Credit: UFC