UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2 is an exciting and power-packed card. With each fight offering the chance to end in devastating fashion, UFC 236 has the potential to be one of the darkhorse candidates for most exciting cards in 2019. (To order the PPV, go here.)
The biggest storyline of the night is featherweight champion Max Holloway facing Dustin Poirier in a rematch for the interim lightweight championship belt. With a win, Max Holloway has the chance to join an elite club of fighters who have simultaneously held two championship belts. Only Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and Daniel Cormier have ever achieved the feat in the 25-year history of the UFC.
Standing in his way is UFC veteran and longtime contender, Dustin Poirier. Poirier handed Holloway his first career loss in his UFC debut and has a fighting style that is built to give Holloway problems. While Holloway has improved greatly on the ground during his time in the octagon, Poirier is still a far better grappler and has a significant advantage if he can get the fight to the ground.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. When Is UFC 236?
The main card for UFC 236 starts at 10:00 pm ET on Saturday, April 13th and can be purchased through ESPN+. Featuring a card loaded with elite talent and pure power punchers, UFC 236 is shaping up to be one of the more explosive cards of 2019.
The prelim fights kick off a bit earlier at 8:00 pm ET and air on ESPN featuring an exciting matchup between Max Griffin and the undefeated Zelim Imadaev, The stakes are incredibly high for Griffin in this fight as he has lost his last two matchups and three out of his last four. In danger of being dropped from the roster, Griffin needs to pull off a big win against an unknown and unbeaten prospect in Imadaev.
If those eight fights aren’t enough for you, there will be an additional three fights airing even earlier on UFC Fight Pass. In UFC 236’s early prelims, our matchups are headlined by a Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammed showdown at welterweight. After stringing together three straight wins, Millender dropped his first UFC fight to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. An exciting striker, Millender has the raw tools to make a name for himself in the UFC and is worth keeping an eye on to see how he rebounds from his first UFC loss.
2. Who Is on the UFC 236 Fight Card?
UFC 236 is headlined by an interim lightweight championship fight between Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway. With lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended until July following his post-fight brawl with Conor McGregor’s camp, the winner of the fight will inevitably have to face Nurmagomedov in a lightweight unification bout.
The card also features up and coming middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya taking on UFC veteran Kelvin Gastelum. Adesanya is one of the UFC’s most exciting young strikers and recently has picked up career-best wins over Derek Brunson and Anderson Silva. However, Gastelum has a strong wrestling background and provides a mismatch Adesanya hasn’t really faced during his time in the UFC.
Eryk Anders faces Khalil Rountree Jr. in what promises to be an exciting light heavyweight showdown while Alan Jouban takes on Dwight Grant in a welterweight heavy hitter showdown. Leading off the main card is UFC veteran Ovince Saint-Preaux facing Nikita Krylov in another light heavyweight matchup.
UFC 236 airs April 13 on ESPN+. You can order it here.
3. What Are the UFC 236 Odds?
The main card odds for UFC 236 are:
- Max Holloway (-200) vs. Dustin Poirier (+170)
- Kelvin Gastelum (+150) vs. Israel Adesanya (-180)
- Eryk Anders (-200) vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. (+160)
- Dwight Grant (-105) vs. Alan Jouban (-125)
- Ovince Saint Preux (-105) vs Nikita Krylov (-125)
4. UFC 236 Predictions
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
In the first matchup between the two fighters, all the way back in 2012, Holloway came out of the gates hot and took the fight to Poirier in the early going. However, Holloway was a UFC rookie and looked to get a bit too confident against the UFC and WEC veteran Poirier. After missing on an ill-advised flying knee, Holloway was taken down by Poirier and quickly submitted by an arm triangle choke.
This time around, both fighters are much more well-rounded and are coming into the matchup on the back of strong winning streaks. Despite Holloway being the featherweight champion and being favored by oddsmakers, look for Dustin Poirier to utilize his superior ground game to put Holloway on his back and grind out a hard-fought decision win.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
UFC super-prospect Israel Adesanya gets his toughest test yet in UFC veteran Kelvin Gastelum. A former wrestler with heavy hands, Gastelum offers a tough stylistic matchup for Adesanya and one he hasn’t been exposed to at this high of a level. Facing mostly strikers or submission specialists during his UFC run, Adesanya has yet to face a powerful wrestler and it should be interesting to see how his takedown defense fares against one of the best middleweight wrestlers in the UFC.
Despite the tough matchup for Adesanya, look for the young fighter to inflict heavy damage on the feet and possibly pick up a knockout win over Gastelum. Expect Adesanya to try and finish things early as the longer he stays in the octagon with Gastelum, the bigger risk he runs of being put on his back and into a position where he cannot escape.
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
What Anders and Rountree lack in star power, they more than make up for with pure punching power. Anders is a former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker and has some of the most explosive power in the division. While definitely a raw fighter in terms of his overall skill, there is no denying the dynamite in Anders’ hands.
Similarly, Khalil Rountree Jr. is a knockout specialist and tends to struggle with other aspects of the fight game. Fortunately for both men, there is almost no chance this fight goes to the ground. Expect a first-round finish most likely coming from the hands of Khalil Rountree Jr. as he looks to prove his loss to Johnny Walker was a fluke.
Dwight Grant vs. Alan Jouban
Another matchup between two power punchers, Dwight Grant and Alan Jouban face off at 170 pounds. 10 of Jouban’s 16 career wins have come by KO or TKO and his only submission victory to date came at the hands of his opponent tapping to punches. While he has lost a few decisions – namely to solid grapplers – Jouban is usually good to give the fans a stand-up war that sees somebody taking a nap.
Grant will likely welcome that type of fight after getting back in the win column over Carlo Pedersoli. Similar to Jouban, Grant operates best when allowed to stand and trade shots with his opponent. Expect Grant to pick up a statement win over Jouban with an early first-round knockout.
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Ovince Saint Preux was once formerly known as a top contender in the light heavyweight division. However, in recent years OSP has fallen on hard times and has lost two of his last three fights. At UFC 236 he gets a tough matchup in a rematch with Nikita Krylov.
Krylov is a heavy hitting and multi-talented fighter who actually lost his light heavyweight debut to a prime OSP. Given the fact that Krylov has only improved since the last meeting while age looks to be catching up to OSP. Expect Krylov to return the favor and pick up a late round finish after battering OSP around the cage to start the fight.
5. How to Get Tickets to UFC 236
If you’re in Atlanta tomorrow, the good news is there are still tickets available for UFC 236 on Ticketmaster. Currently, the least expensive seats available cost $150 each and are located in the lower bowl of the State Farm Arena. All seats in the upper bowl have sold out and the remaining open options are either on the lower level of the arena or on the floor. The most expensive seats still available cost $750 and are located in the second row on the floor.
UFC 236 airs April 13 on ESPN+. You can order it here.