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With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best fights from April 2018: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Fight of the Month” award for April.
At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.
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Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Kyle Bochniak at UFC 223
Magomedsharipov had just a little bit more firepower on his side, though, and got his hand raised against the gritty Bochniak, who probably is just a little bit crazy in a good way. Magomedsharipov won with a pair of 30-27 scores and a 29-28 in a fight that was supposed to be on UFC Fight Pass before getting elevated to the main card.
Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 223
Namajunas took a unanimous decision from Jedrzejczyk in their rematch for the 115-pound title, giving Namajunas back-to-back wins over the former titleholder. Namajunas won with a trio of 49-46 scores. She was strong in the first 10 minutes, faded a bit in the third and fourth rounds, but closed well to retain her title.
Alex Oliveira def. Carlos Condit at UFC on FOX 29
Carlos Condit (30-12 MMA, 7-8 UFC) looked every bit the menacing presence he’s capable of being, but ultimately was forced to tap out against Alex Oliveira (19-4-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) in their welterweight bout.
In a wild second-round scramble, an Oliveira upkick hurt Condit and allowed him to latch on to a standing guillotine choke. The choke was immediately in tight, but Condit refused to give up. Working desperately to get his back to the floor, Condit couldn’t quite work free. Eventually, Condit had no choice but to tap.
Dustin Poirier def. Justin Gaethje at UFC on FOX 29
The anticipated lightweight headliner between Dustin Poirier (23-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC) and former WSOF champion Justin Gaethje (18-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) lived up to all the hype and expectations placed around it.
In a matchup of divisional contenders, Poirier earned a fourth-round TKO victory of Gaethje in an epic back-and-forth affair. Both men had moments after absorbing heavy strikes, but Poirier’s ability to both give it and take it proved superior in the win.
Ricky Simon def. Merab Dvalishvili at UFC Fight Night 128
In a fast-paced fight, Merab Dvalishvili’s (7-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) striking volume and takedowns were too much for octagon newcomer Ricky Simon (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in their bantamweight matchup. Or so it seemed.
Dvalishvili looked to be on his way to a decision win. But in the final minute, Simon put a mounted guillotine on Dvalishvili – who kicked his way to the final horn. It appeared Dvalishvili had survived the choke to go to the judges’ scorecards. But instead, the referee called the fight a TKO win for Simon, apparently determining he was out when the round ended. Simon turned a sure loss in his promotional debut into a miraculous rally for a win.
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In a bout that delivered on every bit of the expectations surrounding it, Poirier scored a fourth-round stoppage of Gaethje.
With the crowd chanting his name to start the fight, Gaethje pushed forward as you’d expect, throwing out low kicks and big right hands. Poirier kept his hands high and looked to counter, landing a few clean left straights and an uppercut or two. Gaethje stayed in his face, chopping at the legs and continuing to deliver the right hand. Poirier briefly slipped to the canvas but brought himself back to the feet, and the two resumed trading in the pocket.
As the round progressed, Poirier laced together a few combinations, including a nice left to the body and a high kick that found the mark, as well. Gaethje covered, but the left side of his face was damaged early, and Poirier started to really sit down on his punches. Poirier’s uppercut found its way through the guard, and the jab continued to pepper his opponent’s face, as well. In typical fashion, Gaethje continued to move forward, and he chopped the leg at every available moment. Meanwhile, Poirier’s left hand tore away at the head and body.
Poirier pounded the body with punches and kicks in the final minute, but Gaethje wouldn’t go away, hanging on until the bell.
Despite the early damage, Gaethje was out quick in the second, looking to reverse his fortunes. Poirier responded well, sipping and countering with crisp punches and a high kick or two that found the mark. Gaethje continued to attack the leg, though Poirier needed a brief timeout following a poke to his right eye. Both men appeared energized on the restart, coming out and trading furious punches in the pocket.
Gaethje started to find his range with punches, and the leg attacks continued, but Poirier certainly didn’t back away, lacing together combination and finding the most success with uppercuts and sweeping hooks. Poirier briefly attempted a takedown, but Gaethje pushed him away. On the restart, Poirier just rapid fired jabs before bringing the left behind it. Blood trickled down Gaethje’s face, but he seemed to smile as he tasted it before loading up on big punches he hoped would sway the momentum.
Poirier continued to stick and move, though Gaethje tagged him following another missed takedown and ended the round with a signature rolling thunder attack that brought the crowd to a fever pitch.
Poirier was breathing deeply to start the third, and Gaethje asked the crowd for some noise, which they happily provided. The two went right back to work in close quarters, and a bit of blood began to trickle down from around Poirier’s right eye. Gaethje continued to chop the legs, and Poirier started to reach down to grab the kicks. Then suddenly, a Gaethje right hand landed clean, and Poirier staggered back to the cage. Visibly disorientated, Poirier tried to shake the cobwebs, and Gaethje rushed forward to deliver more punishment.
Poirier briefly held the clinch as he looked to recover before the backed out to the center and continued the brawl. An exhausted Gaethje absorbed a Poirier combination, and somehow the two men both remained standing. Poirier complained of another eye poke in the final minute, and Dean elected to take a point, much to the crowd’s dismay. Unfazed, Gaethje again asked the crowd for more volume before the cageside doctor came in to look at Poirier, ultimately allowing the fight to continue.
Though just seconds remained, the round ended with Gaethje complaining of a potential finger to the eye.
At the start of the fourth, Poirier countered a low kick with a clean left hand, and Gaethje was stunned. Sensing an opportunity to end the chaos, Poirier rushed forward and unleashed a barrage of punches that landed clean. Staggered and trying to recover, Gaethje showed the heart that has become his calling card, never falling to the floor. But after dropping to a knee from a series of unanswered blows, Gaethje was deemed unfit to continue, ending the brawl in dramatic fashion 33 seconds into the frame.
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