The FX portion of the UFC 211 preliminary card is in the books. James Vick kicked things off with a quick finish of Marco Polo Reyes, Chase Sherman and Rashad Coulter had an unbelievable heavyweight brawl, Jason Knight continued to state his case as a future featherweight contender by stopping Chas Skelly, and Dustin Poirier vs. Eddie Alvarez ended in a controversial no-contest, just as the fight was gearing up to be a classic. Here’s how those four fights played out.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier ends in a no-contest (illegal knee) at 4:21 of round 2 - Lightweights
Chants of “Eddie! Eddie!” rang around the American Airlines Center as the fight began. Alvarez dug in a right hand to the body. Poirier opened up with kicks to the body. Alvarez was caught with a straight left and then failed on the takedown. Poirier was doing much of the pressuring in the early stages, but it wasn’t an action-packed brawl. It was more of a tactical affair with spurts of offense. Alvarez scored with two head shots but then absorbed a heavy leg kick. The former champion whiffed on a right hand as the round ended.
Alvarez cracked Poirier with a stiff right hand and then changed levels for a takedown. Poirier countered with a standing choke but Alvarez fought his way out of it. “The Diamond” landed a lovely short uppercut with his lead hand. He was also touching Eddie’s face up with the jab and keeping busy with the body kick. Alvarez got cracked with a massive shot and he turned away in noticeable discomfort. Poirier went for the finish but Alvarez was still throwing back. Dustin was teeing off and Alvarez was still badly hurt. Poirier got clipped and Alvarez was unloading big shots against the fence. This was an extraordinarily crazy contest and Poirier tried to turn things back in his favor with a front choke. Alvarez dropped to the mat but survived it. He was still getting clipped in exchanges and didn’t have his wits about him.
In a disappointing end to a tremendous fight, Alvarez got a takedown and went for his own choke. The grip wasn’t tight, and then seconds later, Alvarez threw a series of illegal knees and the fight had to be halted. Poirier could not continue, and Herb Dean ruled those shots an accidental foul. I’m not sure how those were accidental strikes when he intended to throw those knees and on the one that rendered Poirier unable to fight on, Poirier’s hand and knee were down. Hopefully we see a rematch because this was terrific stuff with an unfortunate ending, and it surely should’ve been a DQ loss for Eddie Alvarez.
Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly by TKO (punches) at :39 of round 3 - Featherweights
Skelly drew first blood with a solid left hook, then he got the body lock takedown and put Knight on his back. Knight went for an omoplata, which Skelly avoided, but he took some elbows in the process. then used it again to sweep Skelly for brief top position. Incredible back-and-forth scrambling ensued, with Knight attacking with a gogoplata, then an ill-fated decision to go for a kimura, and Knight then escaped an armbar attempt from Skelly. At the end of the first round, Knight took Skelly down and went for the back but time had already expired. It was as fun a scrambling matchup as advertised.
Knight was willing to stand and trade with Skelly, who ate a couple of right hand counters. It looked as if Knight had a clear speed advantage and he was in a comfort zone. Skelly had two takedowns thwarted, with Knight using elbows to the body and head to try and deter him. Chas went for a guillotine but Knight used a single to get him down and easily get out of the choke. Knight had a crucifix momentarily but Skelly escaped and then cracked Knight with a head kick. They exchanged heavy shots to conclude the second round.
The third round didn’t last long. A left hand and then a right uppercut dropped Skelly. Knight pounded away on Skelly with right hands, and referee Jacob Montalvo took way too long to stop the fight. An inexcusably late stoppage, but take nothing away from the win. Jason Knight has won four straight and continues to impress as a potential featherweight contender. Skelly, who is from Texas, has his two-fight winning streak snapped, and it’s the first time he’s ever been stopped.
Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter by TKO (elbow) at 3:36 of round 2 - Heavyweights
Sherman began the fight by picking apart Coulter’s legs and going at a measured pace. Coulter was more content to throw power shots. Coulter buckled after another hard kick to his lead leg. Rashad tagged Chase with a good right hand and backed him up. Sherman took those shots and continued to smash home the leg kicks to the point where Coulter could hardly stand and had to switch stances. Coulter was noticeably limping as the first round ended.
Coulter came out swinging a strong right hand, as he desperately tried to get back into the contest. The success was short-lived, as a big knee by Sherman was followed by two leg kicks that had Coulter almost crippled. A right hand dropped Coulter and Sherman teed off with ground strikes. Coulter, tough as nails, avoided getting finished and did everything he possibly could to rock Sherman. Both men were able to score with massive shots. Coulter punched Sherman in the head numerous times but kept getting his leg kicked. As this incredible war continued, Sherman showed glaring signs that he was exhausted. Coulter did as much as he could to get the improbable comeback win on short notice, but he was still wobbly due to the damage done to his lead leg, and it had an impact on how powerful his punches were. Sherman also demonstrated what a chin he has, which made up for the lack of defense. The dramatic conclusion came when Sherman slammed home a vicious elbow that put Coulter down and out for good. It was a good ol’ fashioned slobberknocker and unfathomably violent. Sherman gets his first UFC win in three tries, while Coulter loses his Octagon debut but gains plenty of fans.
Reyes attacked Vick’s legs with a steady stream of kicks in the first ninety seconds. Vick switched stances and mixed up his own shots, but Reyes was throwing with bad intentions. Both men let their hands go in close quarters and it looked like we were in for a brawl. After a short left hook connected inside, Vick missed with one right hand, but an even harder right hand put Reyes down, and hammerfists ended the fight. Vick is quietly 7-1 in the UFC, while Reyes loses for the first time in the Octagon. The Texas crowd was appreciative of “The Texecutioner’s” latest sterling performance.