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    Dustin Poirier wins contender for UFC Fight of the Year against Dan Hooker

    Dustin Poirier wins contender for UFC Fight of the Year with unanimous decision in five-round epic over Dan Hooker in lightweight main event

    • Dustin Poirier survived a brutal second round to beat Dan Hooker on Saturday
    • After a thrilling lightweight contest, Poirier claimed win by unanimous decision
    • The judges scored the contest 48-47, 48-47 and 48-46 all in favour of Poirier 

    Dustin Poirier was left with plenty of cuts and bruises as he claimed a thrilling unanimous decision victory over Dan Hooker on Saturday night in what some are hailing as a contender for UFC Fight of the Year.

    After nine months out of the cage, Poirier came back and faced a tough competitor in Hooker. 

    He survived a brutal second round and persevered to finish a well-rounded performance in the main event at UFC Fight Night: Austin by unanimous decision,  with the score-cards all in Poirier’s favour at 48-47, 48-47 and 48-46. 

    Dustin Poirier (right) produced a stunning display across five rounds to beat Dan Hooker (left)

    Poirier (right) made multiple attempts at submissions but found Hooker tough to finish off

    Poirier (right) made multiple attempts at submissions but found Hooker tough to finish off

    It went to scorecards and Poirier was declared the winner on the night by unanimous decision

    It went to scorecards and Poirier was declared the winner on the night by unanimous decision

    The event, headlined by Poirier-Hooker, was the UFC’s fifth consecutive fan-free event at their Apex gym as they continue to adapt to competition amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The main event was gripping from the opening round, with both lightweights trading strikes and showing minimal regard for their defence. The second round was a spectacle, with each fighter badly hurting the other while throwing punches and knees at full power.

    The fight went to the ground in the fourth round, and Poirier attempted several submissions before Hooker escaped. Poirier appeared to have more energy left for the fifth round, and he won on all three cards: 48-47, 48-47 and 48-46.

    The two lightweight fighters traded blows early on leading to plenty of deep cuts and bruises

    The two lightweight fighters traded blows early on leading to plenty of deep cuts and bruises

    Poirier (left) had been out of the cage for nine months but returned with a thrilling display

    Poirier (left) had been out of the cage for nine months but returned with a thrilling display

    ‘It was a tough one,’ Poirier said. ‘Dan came to fight. He’s a tough guy. He’s on the rise. He really thought he was going to get past me. I trusted in my team, in my skill and my work ethic.

    ‘Maybe I’ll fight at the end of the year. Maybe I’ll fight next year. 

    ‘Now that I’m a victor again, I want to get back to the drawing board. I just want to do it right and give it my all the right way.’ 

    Poirier – pushing his record to 26 wins and six defeats – capped his long rise by beating Max Holloway in April 2019 for the interim lightweight title. 

    He lost the belt to unbeaten champion Khabib Nurmagomedov last September, and a leg injury subsequently kept him out of the cage for the longest stretch of his career.

    Saturday night has been hailed by some fight fans as a contender for UFC Fight of the Year

    Saturday night has been hailed by some fight fans as a contender for UFC Fight of the Year

    But he was back in fine form against Hooker, the tough kickboxing star from New Zealand who had won seven of his last eight bouts since 2016. 

    The show was the last of five weekend events at the UFC Apex gym on the promotion’s corporate campus. The UFC has staged eight fan-free events amid the coronavirus pandemic since returning from an eight-week break.

    The UFC will take next week off before resuming competition on July 12 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi with UFC 251, a stacked pay-per-view show with three title fights. The promotion will hold four shows over 14 days at the so-called ‘Fight Island’ before returning stateside. 

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