MMA Review: #373: UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier

-To me this was the perfect card for Fuel TV – filled with prospects and mid-level fighters rather than putting top-level bouts onto a channel that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to see. With that said though the main event of Zombie vs. Poirier sort of bucked that trend, as it was likely the winner would receive a title shot. I dunno – it’s something UFC needs to iron out I think, how to put attractive main events on Fuel without wasting big fights that ought to be on PPV or at least FX (and they do seem to be with the last couple of Fuel cards, although the next one has a title match as the main event!) but I have faith they’ll find a way to sort it.

UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier

Fairfax, Virginia

-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Kenny Florian.

Middleweight Fight: Tom Lawlor vs Jason MacDonald

This was a pretty pivotal fight for Lawlor, as he’d lost his previous fight to Chris Weidman and while he’s a charismatic dude who always entertains, that hadn’t saved other fighters from the chop after losing a couple in a row before. Luckily for Filthy Tom though he was matched with a stylistically good opponent in MacDonald; a better grappler on paper, but one that probably wouldn’t be able to take Lawlor down on and on the feet had a large disadvantage in my eyes. In my opinion the fight firmly favoured Lawlor.

Fight begins and Jon Anik tells us that it’s Lawlor’s birthday! Well shit, he better win now. He presses forward early and blocks a head kick attempt from MacDonald. Takedown attempt from MacDonald but Lawlor stuffs it nicely and then catches the Canadian with a big left hook! MacDonald looks wobbly and Lawlor follows in with a CRUSHING RIGHT HAND that drops him face-first! Beautiful stuff!

Replay shows the left stunned MacDonald but the following right hand landed right behind the ear and just turned the lights off completely. Vicious, vicious stuff and a way overdue finish for Filthy Tom, too. Perfect birthday present I guess!

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Fabio Maldonado vs Igor Pokrajac

Pokrajac had originally been slated to fight Thiago Silva here, but when Silva ended up stepping in to face Alexander Gustafsson at the previous Fuel show in March, another hard-hitting Brazilian in Maldonado came in to replace him. This seemed like a really good match on paper – a brawl between two of the better strikers at 205lbs – but due to his iron chin I was taking Maldonado.

Round One and Pokrajac stalks forward and grabs a rear waistlock after ducking a wild hook. Maldonado drops to his back and it looks like he’s going for a kimura, but Pokrajac avoids and gets into half-guard from top position. Couple of short elbows land for the Croatian as he works to pass, and they scramble with Pokrajac managing to take full mount. Hip escape from Maldonado puts him back into half-guard, and from there Pokrajac looks to isolate an arm but can’t quite do it. Good shots from the top for Pokrajac before Maldonado tries an escape. He gives his back, but Pokrajac slips off and Maldonado gets on top and then decides to stand. One-two lands for Pokrajac, but Maldonado fires back with a short left hook that wobbles the Croatian! Nice combo from Maldonado follows and he’s landing big shots here looking to finish. Pokrajac manages to clinch and force him into the fence, but Maldonado stuffs a takedown attempt. Another combo lands for Maldonado, using uppercuts inside the clinch for good measure. He’s landing a lot of shots to the body too. Beautiful combo has Pokrajac in trouble again but he fires back with a knee. They break off and Pokrajac misses a head kick, and that’s the round. Close round to call but despite Pokrajac spending the majority of the round on top, I’d go with Maldonado for the late combinations as they did much more damage.

Into the 2nd and Pokrajac opens with a leg kick. Good body shot from Maldonado as he pushes forward. Left hand connects flush from Pokrajac and he follows with a hard combo that snaps Maldonado’s head back before looking for a takedown. Maldonado defends it well and lands some short punches to the head and body, and finally they end up clinched. They exchange some short body shots from the clinch before Pokrajac lands a big knee from the plum clinch. Maldonado has a ridiculous chin as he hasn’t even seemed hurt yet. Good combination to the body breaks Pokrajac off but the Croatian quickly grabs him again. This time though Maldonado forces Pokrajac into the fence and opens up on him with combos, looking like Nick Diaz as he nails the head and body. They break off momentarily before Pokrajac clinches again, but Fabio breaks off once more and goes to the body with another hard combo from close range. They muscle in the clinch again with Maldonado getting the better of it, and evidently Pokrajac is a tough guy too as he’s showing no wear either. They break off with about a minute to go and Pokrajac lands another good knee, but Maldonado’s volume striking is beginning to take over now as he lands another combo. Spinning backfist glances for Pokrajac before they clinch again and exchange some more. Pokrajac shoots, but Maldonado reverses position and ends up on top in half-guard as the round ends. Another tight one but personally I have this 20-18 for Maldonado going into the third.

Third and final round and Pokrajac waves his arms to get the crowd going. Maldonado wades right into another exchange and backs him into the fence with some more combinations, but Pokrajac answers right back. This is a hell of a fight. Knee from Pokrajac is instantly answered by a hard left to the body from Maldonado. It’s basically Pokrajac’s plum clinch against Maldonado’s body shots. BEAUTIFUL jumping knee from the clinch connects for Pokrajac. Referee Dan Miragliotta calls a break as the action slows down a bit, and they trade some more pinches with Maldonado landing big, snapping Igor’s head back. The Croatian returns fire instantly though and lands a massive left hand that sends Maldonado backwards. Another combo lands for Pokrajac and Maldonado finally looks hurt, but recovers pretty instantly to grab the clinch. Hard punches to the body land for Maldonado from the clinch and he follows with a takedown attempt, but Pokrajac blocks it. Miragliotta calls time to replace Pokrajac’s mouthpiece and then they restart, where Pokrajac lands a couple of leg kicks. Lunging left hook connects for Maldonado. One minute to go and Pokrajac cracks him with a body kick that the Brazilian answers with a one-two. Stiff left hand backs Maldonado up again. Clinch from Maldonado and he backs up Pokrajac with a heavy combo. These dudes are SWINGING. Crowd are pretty much giving them a standing ovation now. Seconds to go and they continue to trade leather until the round ends. Awesome stuff.

I’ve got this 29-28 for Fabio Maldonado but it was close. Judges all go the other way though, 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28 for Igor Pokrajac. I don’t want to say Maldonado was robbed there as to be fair on a rewatch Pokrajac landed a ton of great shots too, but I definitely don’t agree with 30-27 as I don’t see how you could give Pokrajac the second round. I just think the judges don’t take body shots into account enough which is annoying as they’re clearly painful – ask Gabe Ruediger! Blah. Fight was awesome though as they just went hell for leather for fifteen minutes without really slowing down, which is super impressive for two guys at 205lbs.

Bantamweight Fight: Yves Jabouin vs Jeff Hougland

After a massive layoff of almost a year, Hougland was initially pegged to make his return in a horrifying match against Renan Barao, but when the Brazilian ended up replacing Dominick Cruz to fight Urijah Faber, ‘Hellbound’ ended up against Canadian Jabouin here instead. I think he was replacing someone on late notice, but due to the Wikipedia admin pricks deleting UFC pages I can’t remember who.

Round One and they circle before Jabouin lands a vicious leg kick. Stiff jab snaps Hougland’s head back. Left hook glances for the Canadian as he looks incredibly comfortable on his feet. Leg kick from Hougland is caught and Jabouin replies with a right hand. Spinning back kick follows and connects hard to Hougland’s body. Beautiful right hand into a leg kick from Jabouin. Hougland’s landed nothing significant thus far. They circle and throw some feints before Hougland blocks a hard left head kick attempt. They exchange some more glancing strikes as Jon Anik helpfully reminds us that Hougland stepped in to replace Mike Easton here. Anik > Wikipedia Nazis. Stiff jab lands for Jabouin but Hougland blocks a high kick. Nice leg kick from Hougland. Both men glance with punches in a brief trade. Nice side kick to the body from Jabouin. Leg kick replies for Hougland but Jabouin CRUSHES HIM WITH A SPINNING BACK KICK TO THE BODY!~! Hougland crumples and goes down….but as Jabouin looks to swarm, referee Todd McGovern randomly steps in his way to block him off. The fuck?! Jabouin tries to capitalize anyway as McGovern hasn’t actually stopped the fight, and he lands some huge hammer fists and then stands over Hougland and tries to make him get up. Kicks to the legs and then an axe stomp to the body land for Jabouin and Hougland looks done again, and you could easily make a case for stopping this. Jabouin keeps bombing away on him, but Hougland somehow survives the round. 10-8 for Jabouin and really he was robbed of a finish by some bizarre, shitty refereeing in my opinion.

Round Two and they exchange some early shots before Jabouin lands another hard kick to the body. Hougland tries a takedown, but Jabouin manages to slip free. Action slows down a little as they circle some more before Jabouin lands another kick to the body. High kick is blocked by Hougland. Leg kick connects for Hougland but Jabouin fires back with one of his own. Spinning backfist glances for Hougland. Spinning back kick glances for Jabouin and a body kick follows. Two minutes to go and Hougland gets deep on a double leg, but Jabouin does a good job of defending it again. Stiff left hand snaps Hougland’s head back. One minute to go and Hougland lands a solid body kick of his own. Head kick lands for Jabouin. Hard leg kick follows up for the Canadian as Hougland tries to land some shots of his own but doesn’t get off with anything significant. Glancing head kick ends the round for Jabouin. 10-9 for Jabouin in that round.

Round Three and a lunging left hook from Jabouin drops Hougland in the opening seconds. He’s in trouble again as Jabouin drops shots looking to finish, but evidently Hougland has a solid chin as he survives. Referee stops him for a second to warn him about hitting the back of the head before letting it go, and Jabouin continues to bomb on Hougland with hard ground-and-pound. Why this hasn’t been stopped yet I don’t know – my guess at this point is that the ref is related to Hougland! Jabouin takes the back, but then slips off and that allows Hougland to get top position! Jabouin works to his feet though and nails Hougland with a hard knee to the body. Hougland tries to get him down again, but winds up on the bottom once more in half-guard. Action slows down a little as Jabouin gets full mount for a split-second before Hougland recovers full guard. Armbar attempt from Hougland but Jabouin postures up to avoid and lands some more solid shots from the top. Almost full mount now for Jabouin but Hougland has like half a butterfly hook in to prevent it. One minute to go now and Jabouin’s still landing from the top. COMPLETELY inexplicable stand-up from the ref follows with about 45 seconds to go, but if the idea was to help Hougland it doesn’t exactly work as Jabouin drops him right away with a knee to the body. Hougland pops back up but a head kick puts him right back down and Jabouin pounds him some more from the guard. Fight mercifully ends there. I have this 30-25 for Yves Jabouin.

Judges have it 30-27, 30-26 and 30-27 all for Yves Jabouin. Well, there’s a shock. Completely one-sided shutout here and honestly, it was only a REALLY shitty refereeing job that allowed Hougland to survive the whole fifteen minutes, as while he showed a lot of toughness there were two or three moments where a competent official would’ve stopped it, particularly in the first round. Fun fight I guess but the ref was so frustrating!

Lightweight Fight: Donald Cerrone vs Jeremy Stephens

This one was being a bit overlooked for some reason given how exciting both guys are, but I guess it could’ve been because neither man looked that great in their previous fights (Stephens in a loss to Anthony Pettis; Cerrone in a loss to Nate Diaz). I figured the big advantage lay with Cowboy though just because he’s a far more technical striker than Stephens and had shown a granite chin before that would probably be able to carry him through any nasty exchanges.

Round One and it’s pretty clear right away that Cerrone wants to keep his distance. They exchange a couple of leg kicks before Cerrone manages to block a big swing from Stephens. Hard leg kick lands for Cowboy. Nice combination follows ending in another good leg kick. Another kick is caught but Cerrone blocks a Stephens takedown attempt. Same combo follows for Cowboy; a one-two into a leg kick. Wild left hook misses for Stephens. Jab from Cerrone and he just leans back to avoid the counter hooks from Stephens. Body kick from Cowboy. Same combination ending in the leg kick follows. Cerrone is picking Stephens apart here. Head kick glances for Cowboy and he dodges a wild right hook counter. Beautiful leg kick from Cowboy. Nice combination has Stephens covering up and backpedalling a bit. Hard high kick is blocked but the power sends Stephens back anyway. Leg kick follows up for Cerrone. Right hand into a left uppercut from Cerrone. Stephens tries to fire back with a high kick but slips to the ground. He pops up before Cerrone can follow up though. Stephens’ face is looking marked up. Right hand glances for Stephens. Flying knee misses for Cerrone but a leg kick does not. Heavy running leg kick from Cowboy almost takes Stephens’ leg from under him and then the round ends with a flying knee from the WEC veteran. Easy 10-9 round for Cowboy.

Round Two and Cowboy picks up where he left off, cracking Stephens with a leg kick, a left jab and a glancing high kick. Big swings miss for Stephens as Cerrone continues to use his range to his full advantage. Hard leg kick connects again. Spinning elbow misses but a glancing knee follows. Left hook to the body from Cowboy backs Stephens up and a leg kick almost buckles his leg. Another leg kick follows and Stephens tries to shoot, but Cerrone sprawls back to avoid. Cowboy is just owning Stephens in this fight. Stephens’ left eye looks badly busted up. More combinations land for Cerrone including a couple more vicious leg kicks. Cerrone’s apparently landed more than double the strikes of Stephens now. Big combo has Stephens covering up and Cerrone is closing him down without any fear. Takedown attempt is easily shrugged off by Cowboy. Decent body shot lands for Stephens but Cerrone hits him with a combo and a chopping leg kick. Don’t think I can remember anyone clowning Stephens quite this badly before. Big leg kick completely buckles Stephens and he has to deflect a big head kick too. Combo follows with Cerrone going to the head and body. Easy takedown from Cerrone mixes things up and the round ends with Stephens on his back. 10-9 Cerrone again in another one-sided round.

Round Three begins and Cerrone’s first low kick lands to the groin. Ref Mario Yamasaki calls time to let Stephens recover. His eye, by the way, is a MESS. They restart and Cerrone lands the one-two into the leg kick again. Nice leg kick from Stephens. Cerrone backs out and then lands a knee to the body and another leg kick. Combo lands again. Stephens manages to avoid a takedown but he looks gunshy now. Leg kick connects again for Cowboy. Beautiful knee lands to the chest as Stephens steps in. Leg kick drops Stephens for a moment but Cowboy lets him back up. Stephens looks tired too. Wild swings miss for him as he’s desperate for the knockout now, but just can’t land and Cowboy makes him pay with yet another leg kick. Overhand right counter almost lands for Stephens but Cowboy just about avoids it. Two minutes to go now and Cowboy hits the body with a hard right hand. Body kick follows. Stephens claims an eye poke but Mario Yamasaki lets it continue. Heavy body kicks from Cerrone and he dodges the big right hand. Running leg kick from Cowboy and he shrugs off a clinch attempt. Another beautiful combination lands for Cowboy. Seconds to go and Yamasaki calls time to replace Stephens’ mouthpiece. They restart and Stephens tries a wild flying knee that Cerrone ducks under. Stephens tries desperately to swing, but he can’t connect and the round ends with Cerrone landing again. Absolute shutout. I’ve got this 30-27 for Donald Cerrone.

Judges all agree with my score and it’s a unanimous decision for Cowboy. This was, in hindsight, perhaps his best UFC performance to this point as while he’d finished the likes of Siver and Kelly beforehand, Stephens was a more dangerous opponent than those fighters and yet Cowboy just owned him from bell-to-bell, not letting him into the fight for a second. Just goes to show exactly how good Cowboy is at this point – top six in the world in my opinion – as very few people have dealt with Stephens like that before, especially in a striking match. Cerrone is awesome.

Welterweight Fight: Amir Sadollah vs Jorge Lopez

No idea why this one was positioned as the semi-main event, sorry. I mean sure, Sadollah is a native Virginia guy but he’d been on the shelf for a while and no offense to him, seemed irrelevant at 170lbs after his loss to Duane Ludwig. Lopez was hardly the opponent to bring him back into contention either – the Wanderlei Silva student had come into the UFC with the reputation of a strong prospect, but then lost to Justin Edwards and didn’t exactly look great in the process. I was expecting Sadollah to win here but hardly set the world alight in doing so either.

Fight begins and Sadollah comes forward right away but takes a leg kick from Lopez. Left hand backs Amir up a little and he follows with a quick combo. Amir closes the distance and clinches, forcing Lopez into the fence, but Lopez quickly reverses position and muscles Amir into the cage instead. They exchange some knees inside before breaking off. Couple of jabs and a left hand connect for Lopez as Sadollah stalks forward. Decent leg kick from Lopez and he grabs an attempted kick by Amir and looks for the takedown. Sadollah works to defend it and does a decent job, but after a bit of a struggle Lopez gets him airborne and drops him down into guard. Lopez passes into half-guard and it looks like he’s working for a kimura on the right arm, but Amir avoids by getting his back to the fence and working to his feet. Amir goes for a takedown of his own now, but Lopez defends it and they muscle along the fence in the clinch. Good knee to the face from Sadollah and the round ends there. 10-9 Lopez I guess but it was a shoddy round.

Into the 2nd and Lopez connects with a body kick to set up the clinch. Single leg attempt from Lopez and Sadollah works to defend, managing to prevent the takedown. Lopez keeps him pressed into the cage though and unsurprisingly the crowd are beginning to boo as they exchange knees. This is dull as fuck. Finally they break off and exchange some punches, with Sadollah connecting with a decent combo. Lopez fires back with a low kick and then counters a rush from Amir with a takedown attempt. Amir works to defend it again, and then he transitions to a guillotine attempt and rolls to his back, but Lopez slips his head free and winds up on top in side mount. Sadollah rolls and gives his back, and Lopez gets one hook in as Amir stands. Amir turns into him though and drops for a takedown of his own, but he can’t get it and they break. Good body kick from Amir. Push kick to the chest follows as Sadollah begins to really push forward. One minute to go and Amir lands a nice right to the body. Leg kick follows as Sadollah continues to press the action. Body kick from Amir but Lopez catches it and gets a takedown to guard. Amir looks to wall-walk, but Lopez gets into half-guard. Amir manages to get to his feet and that’s the round. Another dull one but 10-9 Amir just about I think.

Third and final round begins with Lopez swinging before grabbing the clinch to look for another takedown. Amir defends it well and it looks like he might be going for another guillotine, but he can’t lock it up and Lopez gets him down. Amir pops right back up though and forces Lopez into the cage for a takedown attempt of his own. Lopez looks for a standing kimura but Amir easily avoids that. They break off as the crowd begin to boo, and Amir misses a flying knee. Nice front kick to the jaw from Amir. They clinch again and Amir forces Lopez into the fence and then breaks with a left. Takedown attempt from Lopez but Sadollah blocks it initially. Lopez keeps trying for it, and manages to get a single leg down into guard. Very little action follows on the ground but Lopez has the top position and that might be telling for the judges. Crowd begin to boo wildly before the ref calls a stand-up, and Sadollah comes charging in with a flying knee. Lopez immediately goes for the takedown again though, much to the disgust of the fans. Sadollah reverses it nicely and takes the back, but he can’t get the hooks in and Lopez gets to his feet and again looks for the takedown. Amir sprawls out and lands a solid knee, and they brawl from close range to end the fight. I’ve got that 10-9 for Lopez giving him the fight 29-28.

Judges have it 29-28 Lopez, 29-28 Sadollah and 29-28 for Amir Sadollah to take the split decision. Can’t really call it a robbery as it was close, but I definitely thought Lopez did enough to take that one. Unfortunately though it was a TERRIBLE fight overall, so Amir didn’t really gain much with the win regardless. No offense to them but there was no way this should ever have been a co-main and the way the fight went largely proved that.

Featherweight Fight: Chan Sung Jung vs Dustin Poirier

Well, this was an AWESOME fight on paper and one of my most anticipated fights of 2012 to this point. Poirier had been on a serious roll since dropping to 145lbs, crushing fighters like Josh Grispi and Pablo Garza, while the Korean Zombie had come into the UFC all guns blazing, tapping Leonard Garcia with the UFC’s first twister in March 2011 before tying the record for the UFC’s fastest knockout with a seven-second stoppage of Mark Hominick in December. The favourite coming in seemed to be Poirier, but you can never count the Zombie out and more than anything, I was expecting fireworks.

Round One and before I mention anything else, it has to be said that Poirier’s claw-scratch tattoo is AWESOME. Leg kick opens for the Zombie before Poirier fires back with a left hand. Crowd begin to chant for the Zombie right away as he catches a body kick and counters with a right hand that puts Poirier on his back. More of an off-balance takedown thing than a knockdown, though. Takedown attempt from Poirier off the reversal, but the Zombie avoids it and uses the fence to work to his feet. Zombie’s look of pure calm as Poirier forces him into the fence is awesome. He’s evidently stronger than he looks too as Poirier is having no success in muscling him around at all. Loud Zombie chant as they continue to muscle for position on the fence. Good knee inside from Poirier but Jung trips him down into side mount. Beautiful takedown there. Poirier manages to manoeuvre into full guard, but the Zombie postures up to deliver a couple of short, sharp elbows to the head that open a bit of a cut. More action in this round thus far than in the whole fifteen minutes of Sadollah/Lopez. Looks like Poirier’s trying to tie up the right arm/shoulder of the Zombie but Jung’s having none of that and he continues to land with short blows to the head. Triangle attempt from Poirier allows him to hit a reversal, and he winds up on top in Zombie’s half-guard. Jung works back into full guard and gets his back to the fence, as Poirier lands with an elbow and looks for the half-mount thing that Tatsuya Kawajiri loves so much. Zombie blocks it and looks to work to his feet as the crowd start a small USA chant. Back to the feet and Poirier looks to muscle him back down, but Zombie breaks only to take a combo and a knee on his way out. Head kick glances for the Zombie but Poirier fires back with a push kick to the body. Takedown attempt from Poirier but Jung sprawls and that’s the round. Fantastic opening five minutes and quite tough to score too, but I’d call it 10-9 for the Korean Zombie.

Round Two begins and the Zombie cracks Poirier with a leg kick, then catches one from Poirier again and counters with another takedown. Big shots from the top from the Zombie and Poirier’s definitely busted open now. Poirier looks for a possible leglock but the Zombie’s having none of that and he keeps top position inside the guard. Crowd are chanting for the Zombie again now. Poirier keeps trying to work a high guard, but Jung avoids it and drops some really hard ground-and-pound down onto the youngster. Poirier manages to escape to his feet, but Zombie lands with a glancing left hand. Left hand fires back for Poirier but a flurry and a spinning backfist attempt push him back. Big flying knee from the Korean Zombie now and Poirier looks a bit wobbled as Jung follows with uppercuts and more knees! Takedown from Poirier but the Zombie ROLLS RIGHT THROUGH AND WINDS UP IN FULL MOUNT!~! Holy SHIT that was awesome. Kenny Florian is having a seizure on commentary and quite rightfully so. Crowd are going insane with the Zombie chants as Poirier desperately tries to defend by holding onto Jung’s body. Few good shots from Jung but Poirier’s doing a good job of stopping him from posturing up fully. Armbar attempt from the Zombie but Poirier somehow manages to avoid it only to get caught in a triangle! Poirier manages to hold on as Zombie nails his head with elbows and then goes for the armbar again, but evidently Poirier’s defense is INCREDIBLE as he escapes and gets into side mount! Jung immediately scrambles to full guard though. Poirier looks for some ground-and-pound of his own, but Zombie throws up a triangle from nowhere and it looks locked up….but the round ends there. God damn that was an incredible round. 10-9 Korean Zombie.

Round Three and Poirier opens with a quick combo. Both men look a little slower now which is understandable given the wild pace of the opening ten minutes. Good left hand connects for Poirier but the Zombie swings right back and they trade openly for a few moments. Poirier begins to work his jab though and he’s beating Jung to the punch in this round. Zombie comes back with a nice combination though. Big left into a leg kick from Poirier. More jabs from Poirier and Zombie definitely looks a bit gassed. He manages to land a one-two but Poirier answers with a leg kick. Awesome slamming takedown from Jung puts him in side mount though and he rains down some shots before Poirier hits a SICK reversal to scramble to his feet. They continue to exchange punches with both men landing before Jung takes over a little with a knee to the body. Both men are swinging pretty wildly now due to fatigue. Couple of really good shots land for Poirier but the Zombie keeps on wading forward. Just like a fucking Zombie. Body kick lands for Jung and a knee follows that has Poirier taking a deep breath. Straight left connects for Poirier though. Wild trade follows with both men winging punches from the pocket. Nice right hand lands for Poirier and backs Jung up a bit. Flurry from Jung follows but Poirier fires back and they trade until the buzzer. Another amazing round. This one I’d score for Poirier by a hair I think as he just about landed the better strikes.

Between rounds Poirier’s cornerman is telling him this is the fight of the night. Well, no shit.

Round Four begins with a high kick from the Zombie, but Poirier just about blocks it. They exchange some punches again with both men landing once more. Good knee to the body from Jung but Poirier fires back with a combo. BRUTAL right uppercut into a left hook from the Zombie rocks Poirier badly, and as he staggers back Jung follows with a leaping knee! Poirier shoots for the takedown, but Zombie sprawls back and LOCKS UP THE D’ARCE!~! Poirier tries to get his head free, but the Zombie flips him onto his side and Dustin passes out rather than tap. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is your Fight of the Year. Unbelievable stuff.

What can you say about this one? It was literally just pure action from start to finish as both men came to fight and threw everything they had at one another. Poirier was awesome but unfortunately for him the Korean Zombie was somehow EVEN MORE AWESOME, as he showed himself once again to be far more than the crude brawler he was initially introduced as to the US crowds, showcasing some great takedowns, more technical striking and groundwork, and a surprising amount of physical strength to deal with his toughest opponent to date. This should’ve set him up for a MASSIVE fight with Jose Aldo later in the year for the Featherweight belt, but unfortunately both men have been injured since and Frankie Edgar has now gazumped him for the shot, but hopefully we’ll get Aldo vs. Zombie at some point in 2013 as it’s easily the most intriguing fight right now at 145lbs in my opinion. As for Poirier, I don’t think he lost all that much with this fight anyway as it was so good. MMA doesn’t get much better than this, point blank.

-And that’s all, folks, as we end with the victorious Zombie walking to the back in front of his adoring fans.

Final Thoughts….

This was another really good free TV show from the UFC. Not only did we get the likely FOTY in the main event, but on any other show Maldonado/Pokrajac would’ve been the easy fight of the night as that was phenomenal too, and while Cerrone/Stephens and Jabouin/Hougland were one-sided, they were still entertaining to a point. And that isn’t even mentioning Tom Lawlor’s awesome knockout. Sure, Sadollah/Lopez sucked badly, but you can’t really complain about one bad fight in six, especially when one of the other five is Zombie vs. Poirier. Definite thumbs up for this one.

Best Fight: Zombie vs. Poirier
Worst Fight: Sadollah vs. Lopez

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Until next time…