Dustin Poirier was slotted to face three different opponents at several points in the lead up to UFC 143. Finally after a rash of injuries, UFC rookie Max Holloway was the man across the cage from Poirier. Holloway, while an interesting prospect and exciting striker, is fairly inexperienced on the ground. On the other had, Poirier is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under TUF veteran Tim Credeur. While that might not sound impressive to the modern MMA fan, who is used every fighter sporting a black belt, the purple belt is the first of the 'upper' belts. The gap between a purple belt and a black belt is in the details, but the difference between a white belt and a purple can be a chasm.
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That chasm is mainly due to the fact that purple belts have learned to think two or three moves ahead, while white belts are thinking in the moment, putting them at a disadvantage. Anticipating submission openings in transitions is a skilled acquired by years of grappling, and this includes transitions that come after escaping a submission. Known as chaining, experienced grapplers often can make one submission flow into another by taking full advantage of the transition created by escaping from one submission attack.
Dustin Poirier attacked transitions to perfection against Max Holloway and the result was something akin of quick sand. Each time Holloway made an attempt to save himself or escape all he did was sink himself deeper and deeper into danger.
Poirier's attack began from mount, when Holloway desperately attempted to escape he left his arm exposed and Poirier pounced. The position he ended up was not the traditional armbar, instead the leg that normally goes over the face is behind the head. While unorthodox the armbar can still be finished, but escape is easier because Holloway can turn towards Poirier and sit up out of the arm bar.
Poirier is ready for this escape and slides his left leg over Holloway's free arm, from this point the triangle choke is being set up because Holloway's head and left arm are in play. As Holloway turns toward Poirier and sits up he thinks he is getting his arm out of danger but in reality he is turning into a triangle choke. Poirier's left leg, which was poised for this, leaps up and bites down on the back of Holloway's neck breaking his posture. Poirier then locks up a loose triangle choke.
After the triangle is locked on Holloway attempts to quickly twist out of the choke, and when it fails his balance is destroyed and he begins to fall on his side. Poirier looks to roll to mount and to force Holloway over he posts his hand on the mat. With his hand stabilizing, Poirier is able to lift his hips and turn them over into mount. Once in mount, Poirier looks to finish to the triangle choke by traping Holloway's arm across his chest but Holloway resists. This resistance allows Poirier to trap Holloway's arm, and extend it. Trapping Holloway's extended arm against him body, Poirier pushes his hips forward to extend the joint to the breaking point and force the tap.