UFC 299: Dustin Poirier knocks Benoit Saint Denis flat with 2nd-round KO

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 09: (L-R) Dustin Poirier punches Benoit Saint Denis of France in a lightweight fight during the UFC 299 event at Kaseya Center on March 09, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dustin Poirier flattened Benoit Saint Denis. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dustin Poirier is still an elite lightweight. As Benoit Saint Denis’ face can attest.

The lightweight star got back in the win column at UFC 299 on Saturday with a wild second-round KO, leaving the Frenchman flat on the mat with a hard right counter. The Miami crowd, not far from the American Top Team headquarters in South Florida where Poirier trains, approved.

The first round saw Saint Denis play the roll of aggressor, though many of his attacks resulted in him having to avoid a guillotine from Poirier. The judges unanimously called the round for Saint Denis, but Poirier left no doubt in the second.

Poirier’s desire for a guillotine reached almost self-parody when he wobbled Saint Denis with an uppercut and immediately went for another choke rather than throw some shots — he said “I’ll never stop doing it” after the fight — but he finally got home a few seconds later.

It was a huge moment for one of the UFC’s most popular fighters. Poirier had lost two of his last three fights to top lightweights Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, and a date with a rising star in Saint Denis wasn’t exactly a favor. Instead, as Poirier later said, he was the one doing the favor.

“I took this fight because he finished his last five opponents,” Poirier said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. “He wasn’t a name that the world really knows, he’s on his way up and he’s dangerous. Every win in his professional career, he’s finished, and he has a never-say-die attitude. When I saw that and watched some of his fights, I called one of my friends. I said ‘I gotta take this fight because I honor this sport that we do.’

“Eddie Alvarez gave me my shot in Dallas when he was a former champ and I was on my way up. You gotta pay it back, hold your position or lose it. That’s the nature of the beast.”

Saint Denis entered UFC 299 on a five-fight win streak, all with finishes in the first two rounds. Poirier represented a chance for him to enter the top echelon of challengers in the division under Islam Makhachev, but it wound up being the 35-year-old veteran’s night.

First appeared on sports.yahoo.com

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