UFC 168: What We Learned from Diego Brandao vs. Dustin Poirier

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;    Dustin Poirier (red gloves) and Diego Brandao (blue gloves) fight during their UFC middleweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Dustin Poirier won Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Diego Brandao and Dustin Poirier faced off in a critical featherweight tilt at UFC 168 on Saturday night. The Ultimate Fighter 14 winner, though, generated a bit of controversy by stepping onto the scales at 153 pounds, seven pounds over the cap for featherweight fighters and almost on target for the lightweight division. 

Poirier was fired up when he heard that Brandao had shown such indifference to making weight, and when he had the chance to take out his frustration on his pudgy opponent, he made the most of the opportunity with a devastating series of punches in Round 1 to earn a TKO victory.

So what did we learn from this?


Dustin Poirier Is for Real

We kind of knew this already. You don't rack up an 8-3 record in the WEC and UFC by chance (usually).

What we saw out of Poirier, though, was some immaculate striking. He defended himself almost flawlessly, and when opportunities for offense opened up, he exploded with strikes. Every single swing landed and did damage.

He may not climb up the rankings with this fight, but he maintains his spot on the perch just outside of title contention. Another win like that, though, and we could be seeing him with a chance at gold.


Diego Brandao Is Not for Real...Yet

So look: Missing weight is bad and whatever, and I'm sure we're going to hear the kind of yarn you would spin if Princess Leia was holding you at gunpoint in a sewer, but the way Brandao froze up under fire was telling.

Unless he was nursing a rib injury as a result of Poirier's onslaught, there is no real explanation for being paralyzed like that. 

It's odd, given that in the biggest fight of his career thus far—the TUF 14 Finale opposite Dennis Bermudez—he exploded into an armbar while under fire. Either way, this was a big loss for the young Brazilian.


Not Much on Why Brandao Missed Weight

Missing weight by seven pounds is bad and rare, and it likely happened for a reason. But what reason? Hell if I know.

Joe Rogan alluded to a car accident as the cause for this egregious mistake, but whether or not that is true is a mystery.

As I said, Brando will spin some sort of yarn on why this occurred, but unfortunately that seems to be for another time.


Poirier Deserves a Top 10 Opponent

Brandao is an electrifying fighter, but he finds himself outside the Top 10 for a reason, and Poirier demonstrated why. Poirier deserves better.

Dennis Siver beat Manny Gamburyan earlier on the card, and obviously Siver and Poirier line up nicely. Other good potential opponents include Nik Lentz and Clay Guida.