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UFC 236 went into the books on Saturday in Atlanta, and it was a night to remember. The two fights at the top of the card rank as two of the greatest title fights of all-time, as Max Holloway took on Dustin Poirier and Israel Adesanya faced off with Kelvin Gastelum for interim championships. There were five upsets at the event, and the five underdogs who emerged victorious at State Farm Arena supply the material for this installment of Beating the Books.
Dustin Poirier (+180)
The main event saw Poirier win a unanimous decision over Holloway to become the new interim Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder. Theirs was an amazing back-and-forth fight between two of the best mixed martial artists in the world, but Poirier was a bit sharper with his striking throughout the fight and all three judges struck 49-46 scores in his favor. Poirier, who now eyes a unification bout with reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year, cashed as a +180 underdog.
Khalil Rountree (+160)
In one of the most brutal beatdowns MMA has witnessed in 2019, Rountree dominated Eryk Anders in the striking department to take home a clear unanimous decision in a light heavyweight feature. Rountree used leg kicks to batter Anders in the first round and absolutely brutalized him in the second, where he knocked down the former University of Alabama linebacker four times with punches. It had all the characteristics of a rare 10-7 round, and it was stunning that neither the referee nor Anders’ corner stopped the fight. Rountree cashed as a +160 underdog.
Matt Frevola (+145)
Frevola used his grinding wrestling style to neutralize Jalin Turner’s striking skills to take home a clear unanimous decision on the undercard. Frevola was the smaller fighter, but size mattered little, as his wrestling was too much for Turner to handle and afforded him the opportunity to grind out a lopsided decision in a fight many expected him to lose. The odds on Frevola were +145.
Khalid Taha (+155)
Taha pulled off perhaps the most surprising finish, as he needed just 25 seconds to brutally knock out top prospect Boston Salmon in their preliminary bantamweight pairing. After Taha’s mediocre decision loss to Nad Narimani in his UFC debut on July 22, it appeared as though the promotion was bringing him in to lose to Salmon. Taha had none of it, however, as he caught Salmon with a crushing left hook and finished him with punches. The odds on Taha to win were +155.
Max Griffin (+110)
Griffin grinded out a majority decision over former training partner Zelim Imadaev in a three-round undercard tilt at 170 pounds. It was close fight on all counts, and some felt it could have been scored a draw after Griffin benefitted from a point deduction in the first round and Imadaev came on strong in the second and third. However, two of the three judges thought Griffin did enough to win one of the final two rounds, and he ended up cashing as a +110 underdog.
Adam Martin is a mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2011. He is currently the lead odds analyst for Sherdog.com, as well as the lead staff writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com. Adam is also the co-host of “The Parting Shot Podcast” on iTunes. His favorite fight of all-time is Dan Henderson-Mauricio Rua, and he wishes Pride Fighting Championships never died. Adam is based out of Toronto, and he is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Centennial College. Get in touch with him on Twitter at @MMAdamMartin.