Interim Lightweight Title Fight Headlines UFC 236

A lightweight title fight is the scheduled main event for Saturday’s UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2 event emanating from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The two principles on the eponymously subtitled card are current UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway (20-3-0) and challenger Dustin Poirier (24-5-0). Holloway is moving up in weight to challenge for the interim lightweight title. Poirier is coming off three very impressive wins in his previous three fights beating Eddie Alverez, Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis all by stoppage. Pettis and Alverez are both former UFC champions.

The two men have faced each other previously with Holloway winning by first round submission at featherweight in 2012 at UFC 143. Poirier is a tough stylistic matchup and his impressive recent form suggests that Holloway won’t have quite as easy a fight as in their previous meeting. Poirier holds a three inch reach advantage despite giving up two inches in height to Holloway. Another very significant challenge for Holloway–Poirier fights out of a Southpaw stance and in both boxing and MMA that can be tough for an Orthodox stance opponent to deal with.

Holloway does have a few tactical weapons he can employ here and has worked from a Southpaw stance himself in previous fights. Despite Poirier’s reach advantage, it’s not a given that he’ll get the best of standup exchanges as Holloway receives high marks for his ability to get inside as well as his punch volume and accuracy. There’s a good chance that Holloway will have more punching power at the higher weight. Holloway is also very good defending against takedowns but Poirier will definitely want to test this. If Poirier can take the fight to the ground it could be to his advantage–Holloway hasn’t had to do much ground fighting of late due to his stellar takedown defense.

Holloway will likely try to keep the fight in the center of the cage while it could be to Poirier’s advantage to do the opposite. He’s the more ‘natural’ at the 155 weight and this advantage could be leveraged in the clinch. It also helps to minimize the danger of Holloway’s excellent punching ability. Both fighters have impressive wins against top flight opponents in their recent battles so relative quality of opposition simply isn’t an issue here. On a ‘macro’ level, Holloway has the advantage of a successful champion and the confidence that comes with winning ‘big money’ fights. Poirier has beaten tough opponents but in fights with arguably ‘lower stakes’ than a championship battle.

The current UFC betting line on the fight has Holloway installed as a -210 favorite with takeback on Poirier at +180. The Over/Under on the fight is 2.5 rounds with the ‘Over’ priced at -160 and the ‘Under’ at +130. The early prelims for the card begin at 6:15 PM Eastern on ESPN’s streaming platform ESPN+. The later prelims will air starting at 8:00 PM Eastern on ESPN with the five bout main card available on PPV starting at 10:00 PM Eastern.

Veteran MMA fighter Chael Sonnen was the guest on Wednesday’s Under Review podcast. In addition to discussion about his forthcoming Bellator 222 matchup against Lyoto Machida he provided a comprehensive fight by fight preview of the entire main card. Sonnen has earned a reputation not only for his toughness inside the cage but his insightful commentary and analysis of the sport. You owe it to yourself to give it a listen–if you’re betting the card listening to Sonnen’s observations is downright essential.



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