Here’s the thing about MMA fight announcements: fans don’t necessarily care about placement on the card so much as how potentially exciting the pairing of two combatants sounds.
When Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller was announced for UFC 208 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it was met with a steady flow of excited utterances and exclamation points. The lightweight matchup between two veteran fighters who both can stand and throw brought thrills to the fans for its chances to light up the Brooklyn crowd.
On Saturday, the night of the fight, it did exactly that as Poirier won a majority decision, 30-27, 28-28, 29-28.
“It’s Jim Miller. He’s blue-collar, always working, always relevant and everyone knows a win over him is a serious win,” Poirier said.
In the final minute of the first round, Miller took down Poirier and quickly jumped on his back to look for a submission, one of his specialties. Poirier successfully defended against the rear naked choke, then with 20 seconds left, escaped and got on top of Miller. That round ended with both fighters on their feet exchanging punches.
“That first round, I went back to the corner and they said ‘What are you doing?’” Poirier said. “I said, ‘We’re fighting,’ they said, ‘No, you’re brawling.’”
Miller (28-9) got hammered with a series of shots from Poirier (21-5) throughout the second round. Each time, Miller returned punches. Each time, the crowd noise grew in approval of what was unfolding in front of them.
The third round opened with Miller attacking Poirier’s right ankle, tripping him twice with leg kicks. Poirier, the No. 10 ranked lightweight, said after the fight that it felt wobbly so he had to adjust and go more with his wrestling. Poirier was able to take Miller down and control him there for a while. But the round ended with Miller trying several different submission attempts and Poirier successfully defending each of them.
Both fighters were transported to an area hospital for precautionary reasons, a UFC spokeswoman said.