Poirier vs. Gaethje 2 was a night of thrilling finishes, stunning upsets, and memorable moments. The event, which took place at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, July 29, 2023, featured nine finishes in 11 fights, including two title bouts. Here are some of the highlights and takeaways from the action-packed PPV.
Gaethje avenges his loss to Poirier with a spectacular knockout
In the main event of the evening, Justin Gaethje (24-3) proved that he is the baddest motherf*cker in the UFC by knocking out Dustin Poirier (28-8) with a right high kick in the second round to claim the vacant BMF title. Gaethje, who lost to Poirier by TKO in their first encounter in 2018, showed improved patience and accuracy in the rematch, landing crisp combinations and leg kicks that wore down Poirier. In the second round, Gaethje caught Poirier with a perfectly timed kick to the head that sent him crashing to the canvas. Gaethje followed up with a few hammer fists before the referee stepped in to stop the fight at 1:00 of Round 22.
Pereira shocks Blachowicz with a split decision win
In the co-main event of the night, Alex Pereira (32-6) made a successful debut in the light heavyweight division by defeating former champion Jan Blachowicz (28-10) by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Pereira, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in MMA history and holds two wins over current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, showcased his striking skills and power against Blachowicz, who is known for his durability and grappling prowess. Pereira landed several hard punches and kicks that rocked Blachowicz throughout the fight, while also defending most of his takedown attempts and getting back to his feet quickly when taken down. Blachowicz had some success with his jab and body kicks, but was unable to inflict significant damage or control Pereira on the ground. After three rounds of back-and-forth action, two of the judges scored the fight in favor of Pereira, while one gave it to Blachowicz.
Lewis takes off his pants after flying knee KO
In one of the most bizarre and hilarious moments of the night, Derrick Lewis (27-11) took off his pants after knocking out Marcos Rogerio de Lima (21-9-1) with a flying knee in just 33 seconds of their heavyweight bout5. Lewis, who is known for his knockout power and humorous post-fight interviews, surprised everyone by sprinting across the cage and launching a knee that connected with de Lima’s chin. De Lima fell to the floor and Lewis followed up with a few punches before the referee intervened. Lewis then proceeded to take off his pants and throw them into the crowd, causing a mixture of laughter and confusion among the fans and commentators. When asked why he did that, Lewis gave his trademark answer: “My balls was hot.”
Bobby Green def. Tony Ferguson via third-round submission (head and arm triangle)
Kevin Holland def. Michael Chiesa via first-round submission (d'arce choke)
Gabriel Bonfim def. Trevin Giles via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
CJ Vergara def. Vinicius Salvador via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Roman Kopylov def. Claudio Ribeiro via second-round knockout (head kick)
Jake Matthews def. Darrius Flowers via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Uros Medic def. Matthew Semelsberger via third-round TKO (punches)
Miranda Maverick def. Priscila Cachoeira via third-round submission (armbar)
Terence Crawford is the undisputed welterweight king after stopping Errol Spence
The debate over the best welterweight of the modern era is over. Terence Crawford dominated Errol Spence on Saturday night, scoring three knockdowns and stopping Spence in the ninth round to become undisputed welterweight champion.
Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) proved that he is not only the best fighter in the 147-pound division, but also one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He displayed his superior speed, skill, power and ring IQ against Spence (27-1, 21 KOs), who was widely regarded as his toughest opponent to date.
The fight started off as a chess match, with both fighters feeling each other out in the first round. Crawford, who switched to southpaw early in the fight, landed a few jabs and left hands, while Spence tried to establish his own jab and body attack.
The second round was where Crawford made his first statement. He caught Spence with a counter jab followed by a left straight that sent Spence to the canvas for the first time in his career. Spence got up and survived the round, but it was clear that Crawford had seized the momentum.
From then on, Crawford was in complete control of the fight. He used his jab as a weapon, snapping Spence’s head back and disrupting his rhythm. He also landed sharp left hands that rocked Spence repeatedly. Spence tried to rally back and press forward, but he could not find an answer for Crawford’s speed and accuracy.
Crawford scored two more knockdowns in the seventh round, both from left hands that stunned Spence. The first one came after a brief exchange, and the second one came after Crawford slipped a punch and countered with a left hook. Spence showed his heart and determination by getting up both times and continuing to fight.
However, Crawford was relentless and ruthless in his pursuit of victory. He continued to batter Spence with jabs and left hands in the eighth round, and then finished him off in the ninth round with a barrage of punches that forced the referee to stop the fight at 2:32 of the round.
Crawford celebrated his historic win by raising his four belts in the air. He became the first undisputed welterweight champion since Zab Judah in 2005, and only the sixth fighter in history to hold all four major belts (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO) in any weight class.