The stakes for the match between Max Holloway (20-3) and Dustin Poirer (24-5 1 NC) just a got a little bit higher. The two are scheduled to face one another this evening as the main event of UFC 236 for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. The company scheduled the match to fill the title gap until current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov returns from the suspension the NSAC handed down.
Dana White told TMZSports that the winner of the interim title fight will be Nurmagomedov’s next opponent.
Holloway is the current UFC Featherweight Champion and will be moving up a weight class for this particular fight in hopes of becoming a two-division champ. He is coming off a TKO victory over Brian Ortega at UFC 231 on December 8, 2018.
Max grabbed the interim Featherweight title by beating Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 and unified it by beating Jose Aldo at UFC 212 on June 3, 2017. He has gone on to defend his title in a rematch against Aldo as well as the Ortega fight last December.
Holloway has won his last 13 fights with his last loss dating back to August 17, 2013 when he lost a unanimous decision to Conor McGregor.
Poirer is on a three fight winning streak with his last appearance being a TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez on July 28, 2018. He and Holloway have fought once before a little over 6 years ago when Poirer defeated Max via submission at UFC 143. That event took place on February 4, 2012.
White mentioned their previous fight during his interview and acknowledged that both men are “completely different fighters” now. He also stated he expected a war between these two and couldn’t pick a favorite match between the Holloway-Poirer contest and the co-main event of Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya.
Holloway enters the fight as the favorite to win but most expect this to be a stellar fight. Both are excellent strikers so its not expected either fighter will spend much time on the ground. Poirer is the better grappler but Holloway’s take down defence has steadily improved since their last match.
Poirer may have a bit more strength behind his punch but Max is the more accurate striker of the two. The fighter that is best able to manage the gap the will have a better chance of ending the fight early. Holloway will have to watch for Poirer’s amazing counter-punches and not get surprised through the course of the match.
Holloway and Poirer are clearly two of the best MMA fighters on the UFC roster so either is capable of winning. Don’t be surprised if either fighter gets a Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night bonus when it’s over.
UFC 236 takes place Saturday, April 13, 2019 and will be broadcast live from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.