A bombshell dropped on the MMA world late Friday evening, when ESPN’s Brett Okamoto revealed that UFC president Dana White affirmed to him that there will be an interim lightweight title at stake in UFC 236. In one corner will probably be high lightweight competitor Dustin Poirier, whilst at the other corner UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will endure, looking to join the select few UFC fighters that have won straps in two weight classes. Below, I will give my first thoughts on the fight, and also what it means for the lightweight division.
Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway, UFC 236
Poirier and Holloway will meet in the main event of UFC 236 for its interim lightweight name. The card takes place April 13 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The co-main occasion of this card is an interim middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum, meaning two new UFC champions will be crowned that night.
Before I enter the actual matchup between Poirier and Holloway, I must speak about what this implies for the remaining lightweight division. Evidently, the choice to create an interim name means that the promotion expects UFC lightweight winner Khabib Nurmagomedov to be outside on the sidelines for some time. Indeed, he is scheduled to return in the oldest in November because of his suspension stemming from the post-fight brawl at UFC 226. It is possible the UFC doesn’t even believe he’ll return before the close of the year is up, along with the branch obviously needs to keep moving around.
The fighter who gets hurt the most with this news is clearly Tony Ferguson, who is on an 11-fight win series and that was the prior interim title holder this past year before he slipped to a TV cable and blew out his knee. Ferguson returned late last year in UFC 226 having a TKO win over Anthony Pettis and many figured he’d be the next competitor for Nurmagomedov. However, according to White, Ferguson turned into a interim name struggle with Holloway, and Poirier jumped in and took his own spot instead. What this means for Ferguson moving forward remains to be seen, but considering what happened to Colby Covington along with the welterweight division, it seems the UFC has moved on.
So far as the Poirier vs. Holloway fight goes, it is an awesome matchup, and actually a rematch since the two previously fought at UFC 143 back in 2012, with Poirier beating Holloway by submission. Obviously, that was Holloway’s UFC debut and he’s a completely different fighter now. So is Poirier. They are both are the very best of their respective games and this rematch should be amazing. Poirier (24-5, 1 NC) is unbeaten over his last five fights and will be coming from a TKO win over Eddie Alvarez. Holloway (20-3) is on a 13-fight win streak and knocked out Brian Ortega in his last struggle. Both men are really at the top of the game right now and this ought to be an amazing fight.
The offshore sportsbooks dropped the launching gambling odds for the fight, with Holloway launching as a -230 betting favorite, with all the comeback on Poirier in +170. The first betting action has come in on Holloway, however awarded Poirier’s previous win over him I anticipate some action to come in his way sooner or later or another. In any event, the sportsbooks can expect a large deal with this battle, which claims to become one of the most-anticipated bouts of the year.
Along with Poirier vs. Holloway, UFC 236 additionally features an interim middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum. You can have a look at my thoughts about the opening lineup for this bout here.
Launching Betting Odds
April 13, 2019
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Main Event — Interim Lightweight Title
Max Holloway -230
Dustin Poirier +170
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