UFC fan-favourite drops huge hint after bloody loss

UFC fan-favourite drops huge hint after bloody loss

Sometimes, the underdog story doesn’t pan out.

Dustin Poirier went into Sunday’s event in New Jersey with an immense level of support from the mixed martial arts community – but he was no match for Islam Makhachev, falling short against the lightweight world champion in the main event of UFC 302.

Despite some impressive moments in the fight, Poirier failed to resist the grappling of the Russian superstar, who forced the American to tap out in the fifth and final round.

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Less than a minute into the fight, Makhachev took down Poirier and maintained control on the mat, showing off his incredible power and wrestling ability.

However, the toughness and striking prowess of the fan favourite saw the momentum shift slightly in the second round, before both warriors were left bloodied by the end of the fourth as Makhachev remained on top.

Islam Makhachev celebrates his win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 302.  Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Poirier was keen to stand and throw hands as the fight progressed, but in the end, it was Makhachev’s wrestling that proved to be the difference as he continued to cement himself as an all-time great in the sport.

“Dustin did great game – he prepared very good, he defended my takedowns and gave me a hard time – he is a champion and a legend of this sport,” Makhachev said.

Poirier had suggested in the lead-up to the fight that if he was unable to reach the pinnacle on Sunday (AEST) and hinted at retirement in his post-fight interview.

“He’s the champ – I thought I was starting to chip away at him, but he kept coming back,” he said.

“I know I can compete with the best of these guys – but if I do fight again, what am I doing it for? I’ve got a little girl. I’ve got to see … this might be it, I think.”

The two fighters embrace post-fight at UFC 302.  Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

In the co-main event, former champion Sean Strickland kept himself within reach of the middleweight title, securing a split-decision victory over Paulo Costa.

In a five-round bout, Strickland did enough in the eyes of the judges, coming away with a 46-49, 50-45, 49-46 triumph over his dangerous Brazilian opponent before embracing and endorsing former president Donald Trump cageside.

“President Trump, you’re the man. It’s a damn travesty what they’re doing to you,” Strickland said post-fight.

“It was a boring fight, sorry guys. He’s hard to catch, I’m not known as being athletic. I thought we were gonna have a war … I don’t know what’s happened to Costa.”

Sean Strickland celebrates with Donald Trump at UFC 302.  Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Earlier on the card, Kevin Holland scored a vicious submission victory over Michał Oleksiejczuk, who appeared to have broken his arm in the finish.

Australian star Jake Matthews also came away from the event with an important decision win over Philip Rowe, keeping him in the mix in the welterweight division.

The next pay-per-view offering from the UFC will come in latevJune as the company’s biggest name, Conor McGregor, returns to the octagon after a lengthy absence.

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