It’s a new year, so Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of MMA in 2018. Throughout the next few weeks, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
Fight of the Year – Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje (UFC on Fox 29)
When the fight between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje became official, nearly everyone in the MMA world immediately circled the date on the calendar. It’s rare that a fight lives up to the pre-fight hype, but as is usually the case with these men, the action more than validated the anticipation.
Their fight became a battle of attrition early and often through the UFC on Fox 29 clash. Gaethje immediately looked to work his punishing leg kicks, while Poirier primarily employed a boxing-focused game plan. Poirier found himself in trouble on a few occasions, but he was able to weather the storm and pulled ahead later in the contest.
Much of the credit for Poirier’s success in the fight should be attributed to his body work. “The Diamond” landed numerous body shots throughout the first three rounds, and it paid off in spades as the fight went into the final two rounds. Gaethje’s offense finally started to slow a bit, and Poirier took full advantage by overwhelming his adversary in the fourth round.
With their amazing war, Poirier and Gaethje combine to earn the 2018 Combat Press “Fight of the Year” honor.
Other finalists: Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis (UFC 229), Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez (UFC Fight Night 139)
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