Poirier and Gaethje received "Fight of the Night" honors and $50,000 apiece for their lightweight brawl on Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
Gaethje targeted Poirier's legs with kicks from the opening bell and the strategy appeared to be paying off as it took its toll on his mobility. And the fight delivered in spades, going back and forth before ending with Poirier hurting Gaethje and attacking him to a stoppage 33 seconds into round four. In his last nine fights, Poirier is 7-1 with a no-contest vs. Eddie Alvarez. In the end it was Poirier who capitalized in the fourth round when he clipped Gaethje and then poured on the pressure, forcing the rubber legged Gaethje across the cage and finally to the canvas for a stoppage.
Gaethje (18-2), from Safford, Arizona, had the crowd support and landed a series of punches in the second round after a shaky first.
Alex Oliveira filled in as a replacement against Carlos Condit in the co-main event after Matt Brown tore his ACL. Late in the round, Poirier saw a couple takedown attempts come up empty, and it was Gaethje missing, but thrilling the crowd, with a flip at his foe.
"Absolutely. No, he's definitely in there - he's one of the guys we were thinking about calling, you know, last week to take the fight, but I didn't wanna screw up this event".
Poirier was still ahead on all three cards and left no doubt in the fourth round, stunning Gaethje with the left hand and burying him in a flurry of punches until Dean stepped in to stop it. And Michelle Waterson was given a gift decision after getting out-muscled on the feet and the ground by Cortney Casey.