UFC champion Dustin Poirier had his challenger, Charles Oliveira, knocked out in less than a minute with a no-nonsense combination of punches, followed by a devastating head kick, at UFC 234.
For Poirier, this is a case of now or never. He is due for his ascent in the UFC with a tilt at the welterweight belt, due in July against American ‘legion of steel’ champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 234, has to avoid Olympic gold medalist in wrestling with Oliveira at UFC 269 on 4 November.
Oliveira is one of four ‘heavyweights’ ranked ahead of Poirier in the division rankings, with the other three being champion Woodley, Robbie Lawler and Brazilian star Paulo Thiago.
“I don’t know what can stop me from the champion,” Poirier told the world following his submission win at UFC 234 in Brisbane, Australia.
“I can’t pressure him to allow him to get lazy. He can bring everything he’s got into the fight, and it’s the same for me: my aggression is needed for this fight.”
Poirier proved that assertion at UFC 234, in front of a second sold-out crowd at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, and inside 20 seconds!
His straight left and right up-arm combo, set up by a crude, kneeing jab, saw Oliveira completely disorientated and beaten from the outset.
As Oliveira bounced on the mat, Poirier moved on to a right shot and attempted to body slam Oliveira. Oliveira managed to roll over to the back, Poirier getting the better of a standoff and ripping a piston-like combination to the head.
He landed a hook, shoving Oliveira down to the mat, sent Oliveira reeling forward, and nailed a devastating head kick, followed by one to the face, an instant knockout.
“I was not scared in this fight,” Poirier said after the fight. “I was not going to be a spectator.”
The defeat of Oliveira, who has been an elite muay thai athlete for 17 years, comes as a disappointment to the UFC Brazilian powerhouse, but he will be very much factored into Poirier’s preparation for UFC 269.
“Dustin Poirier has a lot of power and is so talented in a variety of positions,” Oliveira told this correspondent in Brisbane.
“There will not be one position I cannot handle. If I fight him in Rio or in the Octagon I can compete with the best. He is not unbeatable and I am here to prove it. I have improved in the gym and he has to see that I can go all the way.”
Should Oliveira defeat Poirier, there is a fight on his plate for the winner of the Woodley/Poirier title bout.
Woodley vs Poirier should be a spectacular battle of styles, one in which the champion’s game is fast, furious and aggressive. With Poirier’s size and striking prowess, he will have no trouble putting it on the champion.
As a former K1 Japan and World Elite Athlete champion, Oliveira is also an exhibition wrestler with heavy hands and a ceaseless will to win. Should he overcome Poirier, a title shot is more likely. He would give ‘The Chosen One’ the choice of defending or submitting the belt.