In a bout that was designed to open the show with a bang, the two featherweights booked with the responsibility at UFC 168 - Dustin Poirier and Diego Brandao - didn't disappoint. Poirier, using patience and superior technique, overwhelmed the Brazilian, earning a TKO stoppage just before the final bell of the first round.
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The two opened blasting each other, Poirier the southpaw. The two exchanged a series of heavy punches - including a kick from Brandao that was nearly illegal - but the first came from Poirier, who cracked a flat-footed Brandao with a right against the fence. Brandao returned the favor and nearly scored a takedown, but Poirier used a whizzer to stuff it and keep the fight standing. Despite being telegraphed, Brandao secured a double leg takedown, but Poirier was able to quickly stand.
From there, however, Poirier tuned it on and took over the bout.
Poirier was able to use his significant reach advantage and Brandao's seeming fatigue to potshot the Brazilian over and over against the fence, mixing in takedown attempts and overhand punches. Brandao eventually collapsed to the mat, but Poirier had to follow up, secure position and pour on shots against the fence before referee Mario Yamasaki saw fit to end it.
"Diego missing weight really sucked because I busted my butt to make weight," Poirier said. "I didn't get to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas because I'm a professional and making weight is what we agree to do. Honestly him missing weight isn't what got me so angry though. He started yelling and trash talking before weigh ins because he claimed I looked at him weird or something. It felt good to finish him because of that little issue before we weighed in yesterday. I'm just fortunate that I have great coaches and teammates around me who help me get better every day."
The conclusion came at 4:54 of the very first round, via TKO. Poirier moves to 15-3 in MMA while Brandao drops to 18-9.