The main event of UFC 236 will crown an interim Lightweight champion as Max Holloway (20-3 MMA; 16-3 UFC) faces Dustin Poirier (24-5(1) MMA; 16-4(1) UFC). The UFC rankings have Poirier as the division’s #3 contender, while Featherweight champ Holloway is unranked as a Lightweight, but is #4 pound-for-pound. UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2 airs live from Atlanta this Saturday night, April 13. The main card airs on PPV through ESPN+ with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and 6:15 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
This fight is a rematch from quite some time ago. It was all the way back at UFC 143 in 2012 that a then UFC debuting 4-0 Holloway met the 11-1 Poirier. Poirier took the win there in a short, but exciting fight. Seven years later, they meet again. And with champion Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended through July, the winner here will be declared an interim champion at Lightweight.
How do these two stack up?
Holloway: 27 years old | 5’11” | 69” reach
Poirier: 30 years old | 5’9” | 72” reach
What have these two done recently?
Holloway: W - Brian Ortega (TKO) | W - Jose Aldo (TKO) | W - Jose Aldo (TKO)
Poirier: W - Eddie Alvarez (TKO) | W - Justin Gaethje (TKO) | W - Anthony Pettis (Sub)
How did these two get here?
Max Holloway’s current unbeaten streak is really remarkable. He started his UFC career going 3-3 and looking perfectly good but not exceptional (of course, with 2 of those losses coming to Poirier and Conor McGregor, time has been good to that early run). But then he just started winning and winning. He’s now approaching 6 years and 13 fights without a loss. Along the way he picked up the Featherweight title by defeating Jose Aldo, then impressively defended it against Aldo and Ortega. He missed almost all of 2018 with some slightly weird health issues, but showed no signs of that when he returned in December. I’m not ready to crown him the greatest Featherweight of all time yet, but there’s no denying he’s something truly special right now. This is his first Lightweight fight since his pre-UFC days back in 2010/2011.
Dustin Poirier has a very similar path in many ways to Holloway’s. He’s also looked very good, but like the fighter that can’t quite get over the final hump, losing when he had big fights against the likes of Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson. But the 10 year veteran just keeps going and keeps improving. He walks in to this fight on an insane run of wins over former champ Pettis, all around violence machine Gaethje, and former champ Alvarez. Like Holloway, Poirier has evolved into a complete fighter, and one who seems to be at the absolute peak of his skills right now.
Why should you care?
I can not conceive of a way these two do not have a terrific fight. Both men are so violent, but so technically beautiful at the same time. This is must-watch stuff.