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UFC New Orleans main card result recap: Poirier, Ortega impress, Soto knocked out

Bloody Elbow recaps the fights from UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Boetsch Saturday night in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here, we look at the main card bouts, including a fight of the night between Brian Ortega and Thiago Tavares.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night, UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Boetsch took place at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana and was headlined by a pair of hard hitting middleweights. Former two-division PRIDE FC champion Dan Henderson was looking to return to winning ways against the ever-tough Tim Boetsch. While on paper the main event seemed to be an otherwise weak card's saving grace, we were treated to a main card full of spectacular finishes.

Alex Caceres vs. Francisco Rivera

Official Result: Francisco Rivera defeated Alex Caceres by KO (strikes), :21 of round 1

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight further illustrated that Francisco Rivera is amongst one of the most powerful strikers in the bantamweight division. The high point of this fight was Rivera's boxing which he used to expertly render Caceres unconscious within just 21 seconds.

Where do these two go from here?

Francisco Rivera has continually evolved as a fighter since joining the UFC. While he always had the raw talent, his skills were a little rough around the edges. Over the last 18 months he has really refined his talents and turned into a serious contender in the bantamweight division. Next up I think a rematch with Urijah Faber would make a lot of sense.

When Alex Caceres enters the cage you can be assured that excitement is on its way. Caceres' UFC tenure has featured a litany of highs and lows and it seems, while remaining fun to watch, Caceres' career has become stagnant. With 3 straight losses it is safe to say that his future may not lie within the UFC.

Watch now, later, or never?

Now, this fight was short but provided a lot of entertainment value while it lasted.

Anthony Birchak vs. Joe Soto

Official Result: Anthony Birchak defeats Joe Soto by KO (punches), 1:37 of round one

What was the high point of the fight?

Like the opening bout of the main card, this fight too would end early. From the get go Anthony Birchak looked like a man possessed and constantly pushed forward. Birchak dropped Soto early and while he temporarily recovered, this proved to be the beginning of the end for Soto as Birchak landed a combination against the fence, which knocked out Soto and was clearly the highpoint of the fight.

Where do these two go from here?

Anthony Birchak certainly made up for his disappointing debut with this surprisingly dominant performance against an extremely talented Joe Soto. Next time out it would be interesting to see him face relentless Frankie Saenz. A fight against a durable opponent like Saenz would act as a good gauge to see where Birchak fits within the stacked division.

After lasting 22 minutes with the champion, it was extremely surprising to see Joe Soto go down so early against Birchak. While the result and the performance that went with it will likely leave a bitter taste in Soto's mouth, it is safe to say that he has the talent to hang around in the UFC. Expect him to return later this year in an undercard bout.

Watch now, later, or never?

Now, Birchak put on a career-defining performance in this one.

Brian Ortega vs. Thiago Tavares

Official Result: Brian Ortega defeats Thiago Tavares by TKO (strikes), 4:10 of round three

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight encompassed every aspect of what makes mixed martial arts the most exciting sport in the world. From the opening bell this fight was non-stop action with a variety of solid stand-up skills and insane scrambles on display. This fight was a wash with potential high points, but for me, the guard game of Ortega and in particular his sweeps were the best bits of this fight.

Where do these two go from here?

Brian Ortega is in an unfortunate position - if it wasn't for the failed drugs test in his last fight it would be safe to assume he deserves a step up in opponent notoriety. But with his prior indiscretions still looming over him expect an inconspicuous ascent up the rankings before Ortega is given the opportunity of a big named opponent.

Since making the move to featherweight, Thiago Tavares has been able to rely on his brute strength and grappling advantage. A loss to Ortega should give Tavares the motivation to try to further diversify his offense and make much needed improvements to his boxing.

Watch now, later, or never?

Now, this one was a back-and-forth fun fight.

Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros

Official Result: Dustin Poirier defeats Yancy Medeiros by TKO , 2:38 of round one

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight was one-sided from the opening bell. Dustin Poirier, who was making his return to his home state, immediately put pressure on Medeiros, rocking him twice in the opening exchanges before landing the high point of the fight, a liver kick, which signaled the beginning of the end for Medeiros.

Where do these two go from here?

Dustin Poirier looks like a new fighter since moving back up to the lightweight division. Following his loss to Conor McGregor it would have been hard to predict such a great 2015 for Poirier, but he has arguably put on his two best UFC performances to date in his last two bouts. Poirier's performance last night should lead to a big name fight next time out and Medeiros' teammate Nate Diaz makes a lot of sense.

Since making the move to California to train with the Diaz brothers, Yancy Medeiros has looked much improved but on Saturday night, in Dustin Poirier, he met a fighter on another level technically. This fight should act as an impetus for Medeiros to make further improvements to his already developing game.

Watch now, later, or never?

Now, this event really is a must watch and this fight delivered like all others on the main card.

Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell

Official Result: Ben Rothwell defeats Matt Mitrione by submission (front choke), 1:54, round one

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight went as many predicted up until the finish. In the early exchanges Mitrione used his frenetic footwork in an attempt to nullify Ben Rothwell's heavy counters and he had some success doing that.  That was until Rothwell seemed to get his timing down and landed some decent shots on Meathead. Mitrione decided he had seen enough of Rothwell's power and elected to take down the former IFL star, but much to his dismay he was caught almost immediately in a front choke which forced the tap.

Where do these two go from here?

Ben Rothwell has put together quite the winning streak. In his last 3 fights he has finished Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem and now Matt Mitrione. Extended winning streaks in the heavyweight division are hard to come by and Rothwell's victory may be enough to earn him a rematch against Andrei Arlovski, who knocked him out in 2008.

Matt Mitrione has shown a lot of talent in the last few years but he seems to have an inexplicable propensity to put himself into bad positions in fights where he should have an edge stylistically. Expect Mitrione to face Travis Browne next time out.

Watch now, later, or never?

Later. This fight was the least exciting of the main card match-ups so leave this one until last.