The fight was a back-and-forth war that saw both Poirier and Koch nearly finish the fight, but ultimately the fight somehow went to the judges' scorecards. Poirier survived to get back on the winning track and prove that he deserves to face the elite of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 145-pound division.
Let's take a look at just how "Diamond" shined bright last night in "Beer City."
The bout didn't take long to pick up a feverish pace, as Poirier landed some big shots to drop Koch early on, following on the ground with punches. However, Koch locked up a textbook triangle choke that was so tight it looked like Poirier might go out. "Diamond" showed incredible resiliency to get out of the hold, rising up to nail Koch with a hard shot that rocked "New Breed." Poirier again looked to finish on the ground, and nearly got there.
He ended the first by locking up his signature d'arce choke, nearly making Koch pass out before the exciting first round came to a close.
The second round wasn't as action-packed, but Poirier showed good wrestling by taking down Koch to score with more ground-and-pound. With his opponent seemingly fading, Poirier used great Octagon control to push Koch up against the cage, locking up the first two rounds in the process. The final frame saw Koch use great ground skill, taking Poirier down and transitioning to his back.
Spending the majority of the round looking for a submission, Koch found couldn't find a home for one and dropping a unanimous decision in front of his hometown fans.
For the Louisianan Poirier, it was a badly needed win. He had a bad taste in his mouth after dropping a decision to Cub Swanson at UFC on FUEL TV 7 in England earlier this year. "Diamond" came back with a killer instinct last night, but Koch proved to be a very deserving foe. Poirier showed an incredible will to win by staying in the fight long enough to break free of Koch's tight first round triangle. That gave him a chance to fight on, and he earned a victory over a Top 10-ranked opponent by doing so.
Poirier should get a step up in competition in his next bout, and a fight against someone like Frankie Edgar could prove to be a very attractive proposition.
For Koch, it's a tough loss that leaves him without a win in the Octagon since a decision over Jonathan Brookins at UFC Fight Night 25 way back in September 2011. Now the loser of two straight, his current position is a far cry from the scheduled title shot he had against Jose Aldo at UFC 149 before injuries took their toll. He'll return to the drawing board taking some consolation from this bout, as he nearly finished the fight early on and also had a dominant third round against Poirier.
Time is on Koch's side, and he should be a mainstay in the division heading into the future.
Dustin Poirier got back into the win column with an impressive victory in Milwaukee. What should "Diamond's" next test be? And how much should Erik Koch drop after fighting valiantly in a losing effort?