Poirier overcame adversity in which Alvarez had him in a neck crank and then was in full mount near the cage, to score a vicious second-round finish.
Poirier landed his patented lead left hand to start the finishing flurry. He followed that with a knee to the body, another big left hand and a second knee. Alvarez is often hurt, but has become renowned for his ability to fight back from danger and turn the tables on his opponent.
As is his custom, Alvarez attempted to punch his way out of trouble, but Poirier was far too composed and on top of his game. He was firing punches, knees and kicks at Alvarez, who wound up covering up and trying to circle away on the cage.
Poirier didn’t give him the opportunity to make a dramatic escape and referee Marc Godard jumped in to stop it at 4:05 of the second round.
After the bout, he called out lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“Where you at, Khabib?” Poirier shouted in exultation.
It was sweet revenge for Poirier, who had Alvarez in big trouble in the second round of their first fight, on May 13, 2017, at UFC 211 in Dallas. Alvarez was staggering around after Poirier landed two lefts. As they were fighting by the cage, Alvarez landed two illegal knees. The bout was stopped and called a no-contest.
This time around, there was a bit of controversy, as Alvarez threw a 12-6 elbow when he was in mount, forcing Godard to step in and stand up the fighters.
Freed from the adverse position, Poirier went after Alvarez very quickly and finished the fight.
Excluding the no-contest, it was Poirier’s fourth consecutive win. He beat Jim Miller at UFC 208, knocked out Anthony Pettis and then finished Justin Gaethje before taking out Alvarez. Pettis and Alvarez are each ex-UFC lightweight champions and Gaethje held the World Series of Fighting lightweight belt.
“Just look at my track record,” Poirier said. “Eddie Alvarez, former champ. Anthony Pettis, former champ. Justin Gaethje, former champ. Eddie Alvarez, former champ. That’s four champions in a row. What else do I have to do?”
Poirier made a strong argument for himself for a title shot. Former champion Conor McGregor had his legal situation cleared on Thursday and is the leading contender to fight Nurmagomedov for the belt.
But Poirier, who entered the bout ranked fourth behind No. 1 Tony Ferguson, No. 2 McGregor and No. 3 Alvarez, has no doubt earned it.
It was his 21st fight in the UFC and what he said was his 39th overall. He said he has fights on his record that haven’t been recorded.
All that experience has turned him into one of the sport’s most dangerous men.
“I felt good coming in here and this was the most calm I’ve ever been,” Poirier said. “This is my 30th pro fight, but I’ve had a bunch of fights in Louisiana and Mississippi that aren’t on my pro record, but this is my 39th fight. I’m a young veteran and I feel at home in here.”
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