Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight scrappers Dustin Poirier and Jim Miller dueled last night (Feb. 11, 2017) at UFC 208 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Prior to his most recent loss, Poirier was the fastest rising prospect at 155 pounds. That first round knockout may have taken some steam off his hype train, but “Diamond” had a chance to recover some momentum with a big win here. On the other hand, Miller put together a trio of wins heading into this match. Having rebounded from his rough patch, this match was a logical step forward, as a win could return Miller to his former position in the Top 15.
Poirier opened the bout intending to maintain range and utilize his size advantage, but it didn’t take long for the two to meet in the pocket and trade hard blows. Taking advantage early, Poirier stuffed a takedown attempt, jammed his foe into the fence, and scored from inside the clinch.
In the second half of the round, Miller found his range and went to work. He began to land quick punches, getting out of the way before Poirier could land his power punches. Additionally, Miller got the better of a scramble with a minute remaining, taking his back and threatening the choke.
With 20 seconds remaining, Poirier reversed position and landed some heavy blows. All in all, it was a damn close round.
At the start of round two, it was Poirier pushing forward and Miller playing the counter puncher. Miller was the sharper man early on, but Poirier landed a big shot that rocked Miller against the fence. After hurting his opponent, Poirier really poured it on, attacking with big combinations and ignoring his foe’s counter punches.
Miller managed to hang tough throughout the onslaught, but the momentum was firmly in his foe’s corner. Miller took a couple of shots but was unable to drag his opponent to the mat, leaving him stranded on the feet with his fresher and more powerful opponent.
It was a dominant round for “The Diamond.”
Miller rebounded strong to start the final frame, cracking his opponent with a few stiff punches before digging low with kicks. The leg kicks did major damage, as Poirier was soon having trouble remaining on his feet. Each time Miller kicked, Poirier was knocked off-balance.
Before Miller could really take advantage of Poirier’s wound, Poirier caught a kick and converted it into a takedown. From top position, Poirier didn’t do all that much damage, but he defended submission attempts and landed small shots for just about the entirety of the round.
It was a gutsy performance from both men, but Poirier’s hand was raised.
Poirier may not have intended to end up in a brawl, but he did just that and it benefited him. Poirier’s power was the real deciding factor in many exchanges, and it wore his opponent down. Ultimately, Poirier was able to absorb Miller’s punches and keep on firing, whereas Miller was forced to go into a defensive shell.
Additionally, Poirier did an excellent job of adjusting the game plan. His top grappling has long been a strength, but Poirier occasionally forgets to make use of it. After Miller destroyed his leg, Poirier quickly remembered his roots, and it likely saved him from being on the wrong end of a third round rally.
Now that he’s back in the win column, Poirier can compete with ranked fighters once again. He’ll likely need some time to recover from his leg injury, but a match with someone like Beneil Dariush would make sense.
As for Miller, he may have lost this contest, but it really shows that he’s back to his old form. In a three-round fight with a Top 10-ranked contender, Miller more than held his own, doing a ton of damage and even going to a draw on one judge’s scorecard.
It’s his best performance in years.
Despite the loss, Miller’s role as gatekeeper to the elite is more intact than ever. He may not be ranked, but Miller is a valuable and entertaining athlete who has a real value to UFC.
Last night at UFC 208, Dustin Poirier brawled past Jim Miller in a fun scrap. What is next for “The Diamond?”
For complete UFC 208: “Holm vs de Randamie” results and play-by-play, click HERE!