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A bombshell dropped on the MMA world late Friday evening, when ESPN’s Brett Okamoto revealed that UFC president Dana White confirmed to him that there’ll be a interim lightweight title on the line in UFC 236. In 1 corner will be high lightweight competitor Dustin Poirier, whilst in 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’ll 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 fulfill in the primary event of UFC 236 for its interim lightweight name. The card takes place April 13 in State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The co-main occasion of the card is an interim middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum, meaning two fresh UFC champions will be crowned that night.
Before I get into the actual matchup between Poirier and Holloway, I must talk about what this means for the rest of the lightweight division. Evidently, the decision to make an interim title usually means the advertising expects UFC lightweight winner Khabib Nurmagomedov to be outside in the sidelines for a while. Indeed, he is scheduled to return in the earliest in November due to his suspension stemming from the post-fight brawl in UFC 226. It’s possible the UFC doesn’t even think he’ll return before the close of the year is up, and the branch obviously must keep going around.
The fighter who has hurt the most with this information is obviously Tony Ferguson, who is on an 11-fight win series and who was the former interim name holder last year before he slipped on a TV cable and blew out his knee. Ferguson returned last year at 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 title fight 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 appears the UFC has already moved on.
As far as the Poirier vs. Holloway fight goes, it is an great matchup, and actually a rematch as both formerly fought UFC 143 back in 2012, together with Poirier beating Holloway by entry. Of course, that was Holloway’s UFC debut and he is a completely different fighter now. So is Poirier. They are both are the top of their respective games and this rematch ought to be amazing. Poirier (24-5, 1 NC) is unbeaten over his last five fights and is coming from a TKO win over Eddie Alvarez. Holloway (20-3) is really on a 13-fight win streak and knocked out Brian Ortega in his final fight. Both men are truly on top of their game at this time and this ought to be an wonderful fight.
The offshore sportsbooks dropped the opening betting odds for the struggle, with Holloway launching as a -230 betting favorite, together with all the comeback on Poirier at +170. The early betting action has come in on Holloway, though given Poirier’s past win more than him I anticipate some actions to come in his way at some point or another. In any event, the sportsbooks can anticipate a large handle for this battle, which claims to become among the most-anticipated bouts of the year.
In addition to Poirier vs. Holloway, UFC 236 additionally features an interim middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum. You may check out my thoughts on the opening line for this bout here.
Launching Betting Odds
UFC 236:
April 13, 2019
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Main Event — Interim Lightweight Title
Max Holloway -230
Dustin Poirier +170

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