UFC 236 is just around the corner, it goes down this weekend from the State Farm arena in Atlanta and this card is headlined by not just one but two interim title bouts
In the main event UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway moves up a division to 155lbs in a rematch against Dustin Poirier for the Interim Lightweight title. In the co-main event Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya will go head to head with the Interim Middleweight title on the line.
Rewind back to February 2012 and Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier met inside the octagon for the very first time. A 20 year old Max Holloway came in on 4 weeks notice at just 4-0 in his professional career. Dustin Poirier just 23, was 11-1 and a rising star in the Featherweight division. Poirier was able to take down Holloway and submit him by mounted armbar securing the W in the first round. Max Holloway was handed his first loss but went on to win his next three before falling short to Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor in 2013. Poirier on the other hand went on to headline his first card against the Korean Zombie, but fell short due to a forth round submission.
Now seven years on, Dustin Poirier is riding a four fight win streak and Max Holloway is just unstoppable at 145lbs. Both men will face off again but this time in the prime of their careers with a ton of experience behind them. We have seen the benefits moving up in weight has given Dustin and no doubt the same will be said for Holloway. These new circumstances will make for a different outcome and with the Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov out of action until the summer, a new Lightweight Interim Champion will be crowned.
The other Interim title on the line this weekend comes at 185lbs as Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker sits out and recovers from surgery. Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya will face off in the co main event in what is expected to be a fan favourite fight. Undefeated and unorthodox, Middleweight striker Israel Adesanya has made a big impression since debuting in the UFC just one year ago. But he will be met with the power of Gastelum who will be looking to hand the New Zealander his first loss.