Hall Of Fame
Very little is guaranteed in the sport of mixed martial arts, but if there was one thing that seemed like an absolute lock to deliver, it was the main event matchup between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje that went down in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night.
Both Poirier and Gaethje are well known for putting on the kind of action packed fights that live in highlight reels forever and their back and forth war did not disappoint.
From the start of the fight, Poirier was head hunting with his powerful boxing game as he continuously punished Gaethje with a relentless barrage of punches. To counter that, Gaethje began eating away at Poirier's lead leg with a series of devastating kicks that had the American Top Team fighter limping to his corner between rounds.
Still, for all the groundwork that Gaethje laid with those damaging leg kicks, Poirier never seemed to slow down and his output was just as effective in the first round as it was in the final combination that led to the end of the fight.
It was at the start of the fourth round when Poirier caught Gaethje with a clean shot that left him rattled and wobbled as he fell backwards towards the cage. Poirier just poured on the punishment once he knew Gaethje was hurt and at just 33 seconds into the fourth round, referee Herb Dean called a stop to the contest.
With the win, Poirier moves another step closer towards a title shot while also pulling off a mild upset based on the selections made by fantasy players going into the card. Poirier was selected by only 43 percent of fantasy players, with another 64 percent predicting that he would win by knockout. Those players who selected Poirier also walked away with an extra 120 points because it was such a close matchup going into Saturday night.
The co-main event also ended in an upset by an even wider margin as Alex Oliveira submitted Carlos Condit by second-round guillotine choke with just 37 percent of fantasy players picking him to win. Once again, because it was a tight matchup, the players who selected Oliveira earned an extra 120 points plus another 50 points because he accepted the fight on short notice.
While upsets took place in the main and co-main events, the favorites helped even things out with the first two fights on the main card, with top prospect Israel Adesanya securing a hard fought split decision win over Marvin Vettori in a middleweight matchup with 81 percent of fantasy players picking him to win.
On the preliminary card, Antonio Carlos Junior picked up his fifth win in a row as he submitted veteran middleweight Tim Boetsch by submission with 62 percent of fantasy players correctly predicting that matchup.
Another heavy favorite who came away victorious was Muslim Salikhov, who knocked out replacement opponent Ricky Rainey in the second round with 85 percent of fantasy players picking the Dagestani fighter to get the win.
MORE FROM GLENDALE: Poirier: "Now it's time" | Octagon Interviews: Oliveira | Adesanya | Waterson
John Moraga got his third win in a row as he eked out a decision in a back and forth battle with Wilson Reis with just 32 percent of fantasy players picking him on the card. The players who did select Moraga also enjoyed an extra 120-point bonus because this was a tight matchup on paper.
Lauren Mueller also made a successful Octagon debut with a win over former Ultimate Fighter competitor Shana Dobson by unanimous decision with 67 percent of fantasy players picking her in this flyweight showdown. The players who picked Mueller also earned an extra 120 points because it was a close matchup on paper.
UFC veteran Yushin Okami got the job done against Dhiego Lima despite just 28 percent of fantasy players picking him to win, while Adam Wieczorek became the first heavyweight in UFC history to pull off an omoplata submission as he finished Arjan Bhullar with just 31 percent of fantasy players selecting him.
Two favorites kicked off the card, with Alejandro Perez taking out Matthew Lopez with 55 percent of fantasy players picking him, and an overwhelming 82-percent correctly predicted that Luke Sanders would defeat Patrick Williams.
When the night was over, nine favorites were victorious according to the picks made by fantasy players with just five upsets out of 14 total fights at UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Gaethje.