Dustin Poirier edges Dan Hooker in thriller at UFC Fight Night

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In a bloody and action-packed slugfest, Dustin Poirier edged Dan Hooker by unanimous decision Saturday at UFC Fight Night’s main event at the promotion’s Apex facility in Las Vegas.

The judges scored it 48-47, 48-47 and 48-46 for Poirier.

Both fighters set a furious pace and had success doing damage with power combinations in the opening two rounds. By the start of Round 3, Hooker had a massive cut near his right eye, and Poirier’s face also was bloodied, but neither fighter backed down or stopped swinging.

Hooker finally went for a takedown midway through the third round and landed it in the center of the cage. Poirier still managed to threaten from his back, cinching in a guillotine that appeared to be tight, but Hooker escaped it and landed several strikes from top position.

Hooker scored another takedown in the fourth round. Poirier worked his way back to his feet, and after a scramble, he landed a takedown of his own. Hooker appeared to be in trouble but escaped an armbar as well as another guillotine attempt.

With the fight seemingly up for grabs in Round 5, Hooker ate another big right hand from Poirier but quickly pinned Poirier against the cage and landed another takedown but didn’t do much damage. The fight ended with Poirier on top of Hooker against the cage and landing a series of short punches.

Poirier (26-6, 1 NC), ESPN’s No. 4-ranked lightweight, returned to the Octagon for the first time since losing a title bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 last September. Before that bout, Poirier, a Louisiana native, was the UFC interim lightweight champion on a six-fight unbeaten streak.

Hooker (20-9), ranked No. 5 in the division by ESPN, entered on a three-fight winning streak and had won seven of his past eight. The New Zealand native was coming off a split-decision victory over Paul Felder in February.

There were no fans in attendance for the event, which marked the fourth consecutive week the UFC held a card on a Saturday in Las Vegas.

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