“I think I definitely made a statement about being able to go into the title match,” Jung said through an interpreter shortly after the victory, his third in a row in UFC, the premier sanctioning body for mixed martial arts. “Honestly if the fight had gone to a decision, I probably wouldn’t be saying that as definitively.”
Jung had Poirier on his back twice in the first round. The second time both fighters were pinned against the cage, with Jung landing a combination right and left cross as Poirier applied pressure with his legs. Jung briefly relented, allowing Poirier to reverse as the principals closed the round conserving energy.
Ignoring chants of “USA, USA, USA” throughout the arena, Jung (13-3) gained the initial upper hand in the second round with blows to the body and head and twice took down Poirier. But the Lafayette, La., native retaliated with a takedown of his own and managed to get out of the round as Jung attempted to secure his familiar submission.
Jung “came ready,” said Poirier (12-2), who lost for the first time in five UFC fights after beginning his MMA career in World Extreme Cagefighting. “I made some mistakes. I’ve just got to get back into the gym. He’s the better man tonight.”
In the penultimate fight of the evening, welterweight Amir Sadollah scored a victory over Jorge Lopez via three-round split decision.
Lopez began striking Sadollah’s head with a series of jabs early in the first round and continued to connect to the body before taking his opponent to the canvas. Sadollah (7-3) salvaged points with a brief rally as the style moved from boxing to wrestling for most of the remainder of the match.
In the second round, Lopez had Sadollah on the ground but was unable to score thereafter, and the two found themselves in another stalemate when Lopez (11-3) had Sadollah on his back just before the round-ending horn.
Sadollah had his back pressed against the cage during the early portion of the third round with Lopez trying for a takedown while clutching his opponent’s right leg. When Lopez got Sadollah to the mat but made little attempt to attack once there, the referee separated them and signaled for both to stand.
Sadollah counterattacked to close the round, gaining valuable points and escaping for his third triumph in four bouts.
In another prelude to the headliner, Donald Cerrone picked apart Jeremy Stephens for a three-round unanimous decision.
Cerrone (18-4) barely seemed winded by the end of the lightweight bout that left Stephens (20-8) bloodied and his left eye practically swollen shut. Cerrone did some of his most convincing work in the second round, getting inside for punches to the head and drawing fans out of their seats by stalking Stephens along the cage.
On the preliminary card, Vienna lightweight Kamal Shalorus (7-3-2) lost to Rafael Dos Anjos (16-6) via submission at 1:40 of the second round in his first match since moving to Northern Virginia several weeks ago.