Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier was on its way to perhaps being the best fight of 2017 but the featured preliminary bout at UFC 211 ended in controversy.
Poirier and Alvarez were engaging in fierce striking exchanges when midway through the second round Poirier rocked the former lightweight champion with a left hand. Alvarez showed tremendous heart and managed to stay on his feet, something he wasn’t able to do when he lost his title to Conor McGregor in November.
Alvarez turned the tables and landed his own hard shots on Poirier before securing a takedown along the cage. However, as Poirier was working back to his feet, Alvarez landed three illegal knees. The blows were illegal because Poirier was considered a downed opponent at the time. He had a hand on the mat for the first two and a knee on the mat when the third one landed. The third knee flash KO’d Poirier and referee Herb Dean intervened.
Instead of Alvarez being disqualified, though, Dean deemed the illegal knees to be unintentional and the fight was ruled a no contest.
McGregor, who also holds a win over Poirier, was watching and enjoying the fight.
"Raise both their hands and [bleep] it. Good fight," he tweeted.
In other preliminary action, Jason Knight extended his winning streak to four with an impressive TKO of Chas Skelly. Knight was being pressured by Skelly early on but gained momentum throughout the featherweight bout, finishing things off early in the third.
Chase Sherman and Rashad Coulter put on a show for the fans in a back-and-forth heavyweight slugfest. Sherman battered Coulter's left leg with kicks and ended up finishing him off with an elbow in the in the second round.
James Vick improved to 7-1 in the UFC with a quick TKO victory over Marco Polo Reyes.
There were eight fighters from American Top Team scheduled to compete at UFC 211 and Gadzhimurad Antigulov started things off strongly for ATT with a first-round finish of Joachim Christensen.
Here are the complete results from the UFC 211 prelims.
-- Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier ends in no contest
-- Jason Knight def. Chas Skelly by TKO
-- Chase Sherman def. Rashad Coulter by knockout
-- James Vick def. Marco Polo Reyes by TKO
-- Cortney Casey def. Jessica Aguilar by unanimous decision
-- Enrique Barzola def. Gabriel Benítez by unanimous decision
-- Gadzhimurad Antigulov def. Joachim Christensen by submission