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May 13, 2017

Eddie Alvarez stages incredible comeback before illegal strike causes fight to end in controversy

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A guy walked into a Texas sporting arena wearing a "Dallas Sucks!" shirt and left with a bloody face. 

That was Kensington native Eddie Alvarez, in full view of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, on Saturday night prior to his lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier at UFC 211 in Dallas. 

The surprise of the night, however, at least to those who watched the first round and a half of their fight, is that Alvarez was actually in better shape than Poirier when referee Herb Dean stopped the bout after an illegal knee to the head from Alvarez. 

Luckily, Alvarez wasn't disqualified – the fight ended in a no contest. But, honestly, he had no business still being in the fight. 

After taking a handful of second-round blows, including a vicious left hook from the southpaw Poirier, Alvarez looked finished. The cut under his left eye, which he got in the first round, had exploded. He was staggering back and struggling to stay on his feet, wildly throwing haymakers back at Poirier – in part, on the off chance that one should connect, but also as a defensive strategy to keep him at bay. 

One local boxing writer even texted, "He's done!"

But that's when things quickly and drastically began changing in the 33-year-old former champ's favor. He returned the favor to Poirier, landing a few blows of his own and stunning his opponent enough to where it actually looked like he was going to pull off an improbable comeback that would have been one for the ages.

After escaping a chokehold, and with Poirier pinned against the cage, Alvarez was one solid hit away from ending the fight.

Unfortunately, that hit came in the form of the aforementioned illegal knee to Poirier's blood-covered head. Dean separated the fighters before doctors decided that Poirier was too hurt to continue.

At this point, the call was up to the referee. He could have easily disqualified Alvarez – and if you were listening to the analysts on the FX broadcast – including Joe Rogan – they seemed to think that would've been the right call.

"I was in a fist fight," Alvarez explained. "I thought I had Dustin hurt and I thought he was a little tired. The first knee, I thought he was playing the game where he had his hand down. Herb [Dean] was very clear about you can't play the game. 

"So I hurt him with the first one, I think the second one may have been legal, but the third knee was illegal. I saw it on the prompter afterward that it was illegal and I apologize to Dustin."

Dean ultimately decided that the strikes were accidental and not intentional, and called it a "no contest."

After the decision was announced, Alvarez and Poirier met in the ring. And despite the controversial ending, there was nothing but respect between the two. Even when the fans began to boo as Alvarez apologized for causing the fight to be called, Poirier came to his defense and asked them to stop.

The two men then shared a hug in the octagon – and that might not be the last time we see these two meet.

"Oh, yeah, that's a fight I'd love to replay," Alvarez added. "I think it's only right for me, Dustin and the fans to run that back."

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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