Last night (Weds., April 16, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight notables Dustin Poirier and Akira Corassani went to war in the opening main card bout of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale from Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Both fighters came in off of wins, but they weren't for the same reason. Poirier destroyed TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao with a first round technical knockout at UFC 168, while Corassani won by disqualification after Maximo Blanco hit him with an illegal knee that broke his nose in five places.
On paper, this mixed martial arts (MMA) match-up between the talented No. 6-ranked Poirier and the unranked Corassani was a bit unfair. In the end, it turned out to be quite the opposite. Poirier scored a knockout, but it wasn't until after he was nearly put away himself.
The fight kicked off with Corassani landing a left hook. Poirier pressed forward, but Corassani answered with a few shots. Poirier snapped a solid combination that ended in a short clinch. All of the sudden, Corassani dropped "Diamond" with a big left hand that had him in trouble, but he didn't capitalize on the situation as much as he could have.
Corassani threw a wild spinning kick followed by another sharp right hand. Poirier recovered to nail Corassani with a big left. The fighters engaged in a furious exchange, followed by Poirier going for a Peruvian necktie on the ground. Corassani was in big trouble but survived to land a big knee, eating another combination to end the wild first round.
Poirier came out aggressive to start the second round, nailing Corassani with a massive uppercut and swarming him with a flurry of body shots to earn the finish.
"Diamond" did what everyone thought he was going to do. As a massive -1000 favorite, Poirier was in a lose-lose proposition because a win over Corassani didn't earn him much, but a loss would have been absolutely devastating.
For a moment in the first round, it looked like that was a distinct possibility.
But Poirier recovered like the professional he is, earning the record for most wins in the UFC featherweight division with eight. If there was one knock on him, it was that he looked a bit overaggressive and impatient in the first round, and he nearly paid the price for it.
However, once he found his range, he showed why his all-around game makes him one of the absolute best 145-pound fighters on the face of the Earth.
He's ready for a big fight in a loaded division. A fight versus Chad Mendes to decide the next title contender to champion Jose Aldo's belt would be a blockbuster match-up. If that doesn't materialize, a bout with Ricardo Lamas makes sense, as would a rematch of his 2012 classic with Chan Sung Jung. Even a bout against Clay Guida, who picked up a "Fight of the Night"-winning decision over Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night 39, could be a solid pairing.
Corassani won't lose much standing in suffering defeat to Poirier. "Diamond" revealed that Corassani told him his second round uppercut broke his nose again, explaining why he dropped to the canvas and covered up.
It's an unfortunate result for the Swede, but he looked excellent in the back-and-forth first round. He could have jumped on Poirier when he had him hurt, but overall his footwork and boxing looked sharp.
He'll most likely face a lengthy medical suspension, but he deserves to fight another Top 15-ranked opponent upon his return.
For complete TUF: "Nations" Finale results, including play-by-play coverage of the entire fight card and much, much more, be sure to check out our comprehensive story stream here.
Dustin Poirier won his third straight bout with a brutal stoppage of Akira Corassani. How many more wins will it take before "Diamond" is fighting for gold?