Two top-ranked Featherweight standouts, Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier, kicked off the UFC 164 pay-per-view (PPV) main card tonight (Sat., Aug. 31, 2013) at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., each looking to get back in the title chase after recent losses to Ricardo Lamas (Koch) and Cub Swanson (Poirier), respectively.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) action started with Poirier dropping Koch early in the first round, but in his zeal to finish the fight, he got a little too close for comfort. Koch managed to lock up a tight triangle choke with his legs off his back, forcing Poirier to struggle furiously for more than one minute to escape.
It was close.
Poirier continued to dominate the stand up when they returned upright, drilling Koch with another huge shot that sent him crashing to the canvas. Koch was able to weather the storm, but then as he turtled up to defend, Poirier slid in a tight d'arce choke.
Koch was saved by the bell.
In the second round, the pace slowed tremendously in the first two minutes, perhaps both fighters disinterested in getting too caught up in the moment. Midway through Poirier was able to secure a takedown along the cage and then managed to secure full mount.
Koch attempted to get to his feet, but was met with left hooks to the face. He eventually did with about 90 seconds remaining, but his face was busted open below the right eye.
Poirier angled for another takedown with a minute left, but Koch was able to escape and return to the center of the cage where the pair remained exchanging leather until the buzzer blared.
Koch came out for the third and final round guns blazing, full aware that he was likely behind on the judges scorecards and needed to finish strong ... or Poirier. However, neither was in the cards for Koch, who was unable to do anything with half-guard positional control for most round three.
He was able to take Poirier's back with about one minute remaining, threatening with a rear-naked choke, but Koch couldn't close the deal, going on to drop a competitive -- albeit clear -- unanimous decision.
For complete UFC 164: "Henderson vs. Pettis 2" results, including play-by-play coverage of the entire PPV event, click here.