After the big-ticket drama of UFC 217 in New York, the octagon traveled to Norfolk, Virginia for UFC Fight Night 120. And you know what? It delivered a fun night of fights – and one of the most entertaining rounds of the year.

Here are our big takeaways from a memorable night.

Poirier vs. Pettis was bloody and brilliant

The main event clash between lightweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis promised much but delivered so much more, as both men put their bodies on the line in a breathless contest that had the crowd on its feet throughout.

It was such a closely-matched contest that we advised you to avoid betting on this bout, and as things panned out, that was probably the best call, as a thrilling match eventually finished in unusual, anticlimactic circumstances.

Poirier pushed the pace, mixing up his striking and wrestling and keeping the former world champion on the back foot. But Pettis looked to fire back with strikes of his own, attempting to counter the aggressive American Top Team man.

After a blistering exchange of strikes marked the end of the opening round, the most significant action of the contest took place on the mat in the second round, with both men bloodied up and working hard for a finish – Poirier using his ground and pound from the top position and Pettis using his submissions from his back. Their bloody back-and-forth battle in the second frame was one of the best rounds of the year.

It looked like we were in for more of the same in the third round, but then the fight stopped abruptly, with Pettis tapping out after appearing to sustain a rib injury.

Officially, the fight is ruled a TKO because the fight stopped as a result of an injury, which would muddy the waters and cause consternation to those who saw Pettis tap. So we were definitely best off steering clear.

But what a fight!

The Under cashes as Brown KOs Sanchez

We picked Matt “The Immortal” Brown to win in short order against fellow veteran Diego Sanchez, and he did it in devastating fashion.

After fending off Sanchez’s sustained takedown attempts, Brown eventually gained separation from his opponent, then threw a vicious elbow that landed on Sanchez’s temple, sending him crashing to the canvas.

It meant our under 1.5 rounds pick cashed at +125 and gave us a nice odds-against winner in a bout where Brown was a big betting favorite pre-fight.

Arlovski delivers, as we expected

The heavyweight clash between Brazilian prospect Junior Albini and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski was one that had most observers picking the young Brazilian to claim victory and hand Arlovski his sixth successive defeat.

We thought differently, however, and picked Arlovski to win, by KO/TKO.

“The Pitbull” couldn’t quite earn the stoppage win we’d looked for, but he delivered his best performance in a long time to claim victory and end his five-fight losing streak.

Up next…

The octagon heads Down Under for UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney, Australia, with a heavyweight main event at the top of the card.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum takes on Poland’s rising prospect Marcin Tybura in a battle between the old guard and the new, while the rest of the card features no fewer than 10 Australian fighters.

We’ll bring you an event preview, and a pick or three, later in the week.

[Main image credit: © Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports]

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