Keichi, ranked third in the UFC lightweight rankings, won a right-footed high-kick KO in the first minute of the second round against Dustin Poirier (34 U.S.) in the lightweight BMF title match of the main event of “UFC 291: Poirier vs Geirier 2” at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, the U.S.S. on the 30th (Korea Standard Time).
BMF is the slang for the toughest man, and in Korean, it is ‘manly man’. UFC holds a BMF title match to determine the toughest man among tough fighters.
With the victory, Keichi became the second BMF champion after Jorge Masvidal (38 U.S.), who defeated Nate Diaz (38 U.S.) in 2019 to become the BMF champion.
Revenge was sweet. Keichi suffered a referee stop TKO loss by a fourth round punch to Poirier in 2018. It was the second consecutive KO (TKO) loss following Eddie Alvarez (39 U.S.).
Keichi completely changed his style after losing consecutive games. Before that, he had a wild fight to shoot leg kicks and punches while advancing recklessly, but now he has become a smart fighter who fights by catching the opponent’s square through footwork by throwing a light jab.
Through this game, Keichi proved this change perfectly. Instead of exchanging slugfest with Poirier from close range, he used Poirier’s attack in reverse and put in a counter punch. He also refrained from the front inside leg kick, which provided an excuse for TKO’s defeat in the first game, and attacked Poirier’s leg from a safe distance.
Finally, in the first minute of the second round, Poirier was KOed with a head kick after a right straight punch fake that completely deceived Poirier. Poirier raised his left-handed guard, but the shock broke through the guard.
“It’s crazy,” Keichi said of the finish scene, “I was surprised myself,” and “I knew Poirier was thinking of the counter after throwing his left hand. That’s why I put a fake in the counter,” he explained.
Regarding revenge for losing the first game, he said, “Unlike other sports, it is difficult to get a chance to revenge in MMA.” That’s why it’s meaningful to prove yourself when you come back. I always believed in myself,” he said.
Finally, Keichi said, “I want to prove that I am the best in the world. Win or lose, I’ll do my best. Luck is also an important factor in the sport, but I’m willing to roll the dice,” he said, expressing hope for a lightweight title match.
Former champion Charles Oliveira (33, Brazil) will challenge champion Islam Makachev (31, Russia) at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in October. Currently, Keichi and UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (34, Australia) hope to fight the winner of the match.
In the Comain event, former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira (36 Brazil) defeated former light heavyweight champion Jan Blahovic (40 Poland) by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) and successfully made his light heavyweight debut.
Pereira struggled with Blahovich’s wrestling early in the game. He was taken to the ground and threatened with a rear-naked choke submission several times. However, he calmly defended and survived the first round.
Blahovic, who used unfamiliar wrestling in the 1,500-meter highlands, was visibly exhausted from the second round. Once again, he succeeded in taking down and controlled the ground, but this time Pereira happened. Pereira used leg kicks and jabs to press, and Blahovic was defensive in the corner of the cage.
A similar pattern continued in the third round. Ahead of the end of the game, Blahovic squeezed his last strength and succeeded in a take-down, but Pereira was ahead of the batting overall. In the end, two out of three referee ruled in favor of Pereira.
As a result, Pereira became a strong candidate to challenge for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. Champion Jamal Hill (32, USA) returned the title due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, emptying the light heavyweight championship. Former champion Yuri Prohaska (30 Czech Republic), who returned the title with Pereira due to injury, is mentioned as a strong candidate for the title match.
“I’m only thinking about the belt,” Ferreira said in an interview after the match. “I don’t care who the opponent is, so I want to fight for the title,” adding, “It was a big difference because I lost almost 9kg less than the middleweight.” I’m a strong man in this weight class now. “I want to be a light heavyweight champion.”