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DALLAS – As expected, it didn’t take long for things to get a little crazy between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier.

What was unexpected was how it ended, with Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) mounting a comeback from a near knockout just long enough to floor Poirier (21-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) with a blatantly illegal knee, prompting referee Herb Dean to rule the bout a no-contest at the 4:12 mark of Round 2.

The lightweight fight closed today’s UFC 211 preliminary card at American Airlines Center in Dallas. It aired on FX prior to the pay-per-view main card and following the early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

After a close first round that saw Poirier get the better of the exchanges, thanks largely to his sharp left hand, the action heated up early in the second. Another straight left from Poirier sent Alvarez reeling, and the follow-up blitz seemed like it might knock him the rest of the way out.

But Alvarez somehow managed not only to recover, but also mount some offense of his own. After hurting Poirier with punches and turning his back to the fence, Alvarez nabbed a takedown and bought himself some time to rest late in the round.

As Alvarez was working back to his feet, however, that’s when Alvarez opened up with a series of knees to the head that quickly went from questionable to clearly illegal.

At first, they seemed to glance off Alvarez’s glove as he kept one hand on the mat. Since the Texas commission has not yet adopted the new unified rules of MMA, that alone should have been a sufficient breach of the rules to prompt an intervention from Dean. But when Poirier made things even clearer by putting one knee down, that’s when Alvarez landed a much harder knee right behind Poirier’s ear.

Poirier immediately dropped face-first to the mat, and after a brief consultation with the cageside doctor, as well as Poirier, Dean called the fight off. But instead of disqualifying Alvarez, Dean ruled the illegal knees unintentional, resulting in a strange no-contest ending to the bout, despite the fact that it was clearly stopped due to obviously illegal blows.

It’s the first no-contest of Alvarez’s career, denying him a shot at redemption after his TKO loss to Conor McGregor this past November. For Poirier, the result prevents him from adding to the momentum he gained from a majority-decision win over Jim Miller in February.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 211 results include:

For more on UFC 211, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Dallas.)

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