Justin Gaethje stuns Dustin Poirier with brutal head-kick knockout at UFC 291

Gaethje won the ‘BMF’ title and avenged a 2018 loss to his fellow American with the spectacular KO

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Sunday 30 July 2023 06:16 BST
MMA fighter Tom Aspinall sings 'Sweet Caroline' at UFC London

Justin Gaethje knocked Dustin Poirier out cold with a stunning head kick on Saturday, winning their rematch at UFC 291 and claiming the ‘BMF’ title in the process.

Five years after suffering a TKO loss to Poirier, Gaethje looked a completely different fighter against his fellow American, getting the better of most exchanges in Round 1. Gaethje, widely deemed the most exciting athlete in the UFC, then dropped Poirier with a clean head kick in Round 2 to end the fight abruptly.

In doing so, the “Highlight” won the ‘Baddest Motherf*****’ belt, a gimmick title previously seen in 2019 when Jorge Masvidal beat Nate Diaz to become the inaugural champion. Gaethje, 34, might just be next in line for a shot at an official title, too, after Islam Makhachev defends the lightweight belt against Charles Oliveira in October.

Like Poirier, also 34, Gaethje previously held the interim lightweight title but twice failed to capture undisputed gold. Gaethje and Poirier both lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission in their first bids to become undisputed champion, before being submitted by Charles Oliveira on their second attempts.

Gaethje is increasingly performing like a fighter transformed, however, as he showed with his spectacular KO on Saturday – almost a year after Leon Edwards finished Gaethje’s teammate Kamaru Usman in the same fashion in the same building: the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the co-main event, former middleweight champion Alex Pereira moved up to light-heavyweight and outpointed Jan Blachowicz, an ex-title holder in the division. Every other fight on the main card ended with a finish, however; Bobby Green submitted Tony Ferguson in the final seconds of their lightweight bout, after Derrick Lewis and Kevin Holland both landed clean knees to set up stoppages in their respective fights.

Lewis landed a flying knee before forcing a TKO just 33 seconds into his heavyweight bout with Marcos Rogerio de Lima, after Holland’s knee against Michael Chiesa led to a submission via D’Arce Choke in Round 1.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in