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UFC 269: Poirier vs. Oliveira Preview

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UFC 269 will be headlined by the lightweight title fight between the current champion, Charles Oliveira, and the number one contender, Dustin Poirier. The main card will also showcase another title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Peña for the women’s bantamweight title. This card is stacked with talent from the prelims all the way through the main card and is primed to show the world what the UFC has to offer.

Lightweight Title Fight: Charles Oliveira (31-8-1) vs. Dustin Poirier (28-6-1)

Oliveira is coming off an intense battle against Michael Chandler where he was able to secure the victory and the title with a second round TKO earlier this year. Oliveira, who is known for his submissions, showed the world that he is dangerous from anywhere inside the octagon as he was able to put away Chandler on the feet. Chandler, who has incredible knockout power, was close to putting away Oliveira at the end of round one. However, even though Oliveira had to face adversity, he was able to show that he had the grit to persevere and come back in round two. As a result, Oliveira put Chandler away and won the title. His focus is now to defend that title and his first challenge isn’t going to be an easy one.

When the words “grit” and “adversity” get thrown around the first name that comes to my mind, is Louisiana’s own, Dustin Poirier. Since moving to the lightweight division in 2015, Poirier has won 12 out of 14 fights, losing only to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson. He has fought some of the best in the world since making the jump in weight and has shown tremendous amounts of resilience and head durability in that time. Poirier hasn’t been knocked out since 2016 when he suffered his first loss as a lightweight against Johnson. He will need that durability in this fight if he wants to leave the octagon with the belt wrapped around his waist.

Analysis and Prediction: Poirier Leaves UFC 269 as the Lightweight Champion

It’s crazy to think that this fight could go all five rounds when considering that Oliveira finishes about 90% of his fights, but that is exactly what I think will happen. I expect Oliveira to use his kicks, knees, and some power shots to set up his takedowns with the intention to try and finish Poirier early on the ground. Similar to how Khabib was able to defeat Poirier at UFC 242. Poirier, who is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Tim Credeur, has the credentials and confidence to defend himself on the ground. However, this challenge is against the guy that has more submission finishes than anyone in the history of the UFC with 14.

This fight shows the signs of being an all-time classic that could come down to the wire. Oliveira, who is on a 9-fight win streak has looked unstoppable at times, while Poirier has continued to dominate his fights after coming off two victories in-a-row against Conor McGregor. My expectation is that I believe Poirier will overcome Oliveira’s ground game and be able to suffocate him on the feet as the fight progresses. If this fight gets past the third round, I believe it benefits Poirier’s style of fighting most.

Prediction: Poirier walks out of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the lightweight champion of the world by way of unanimous decision.

Bantamweight Title Fight: Amanda Nunes (21-4-0) vs. Julianna Peña (11-4-0)

Amanda Nunes walks into Saturday night still holding two belts. This time around, she is defending her bantamweight title. While Julianna Peña is a game opponent, she is 2-2 over her last 4 fights, and comes into the fight as a huge underdog at +630, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. On the other hand, Nunes comes into the fight on a 12-fight win streak and has already staked her claim as the greatest women’s champion of all-time. For Pena to have a chance in this one, she must fight as if she has nothing to lose and go right at Nunes. If she shows any signs of backing down, it will be a long night for her.

Prediction: Nunes defeats Pena via second round submission to retain her bantamweight title.

Geoff Neal (13-4-0) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-4)

The last two years for Geoff Neal have not gone well, as he is currently on a 2-fight losing streak. Recently hasn’t gone well for him either as he was arrested on DWI and weapons charges. However, Neal is looking past the charges and is ready to bounce back against UFC veteran, Santiago Ponzinibbio. Ponzinibbio has fought twice in 2021 after being out for about 3 years due to medical issues. In his first fight back, Li Jingliang caught him with a counter right followed up by a looping left hook that put him to sleep. Though, Ponzinibbio came back in June and defeated Miguel Baeza, both guys are desperate for a win. Therefore, this match-up has the potential to earn a fight of the night bonus.

Prediction: Neal bounces back to defeat Ponzinbbio by decision.

Kai Kara-France (22-9-0) vs. Cody Garbrandt (12-4)

Coming off a recent loss to Rob Font in May of this year, Cody Garbrandt is desperate to get back on track with a win against Kai Kara-France. The former bantamweight champion, Garbrandt, is making a move down to flyweight and believes he will take over the division. Kara-France has some momentum riding into this fight as he was last seen in the octagon knocking out Rogerio Bontorin back in March of this year. Both guys have knockout power and can end their opponent’s night on any given strike. If this fight goes beyond the second round, I believe Kara-France will have the upper hand to secure the victory.

Prediction: Garbrandt catches Kara-France late in the second round and wins via TKO.

Raulian Paiva (21-3-0) vs. Sean O’Malley (14-1-0)

The main card will kick-off with one of the most electric fighters in the UFC entering the octagon. Sean O’Malley is coming off an absolutely dominating performance against Kris Moutinho. While he wasn’t able to finish Moutinho early, who showed tremendous resilience the entire fight, O’Malley was able to showcase his striking arsenal throughout the fight. Unlike Moutinho, Raulian Paiva was able to get a lot more time to prepare for this fight. Paiva is on a 3-fight win streak, including a big win against Kyler Phillips this summer. I expect this fight to bring fireworks in the opening round, with O’Malley pushing the pace. Paiva will have to survive the early onslaught but if he can do that, he will have a chance in this fight.

Prediction: O’Malley makes a statement and puts away Paiva early in the first round via TKO.

Other Notable Fights: UFC 269 Prelims

While the main card is stacked at UFC 269, the prelims are also filled with some great match-ups to check out. One of those fights will be in the heavyweight division as fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, looks to secure the victory against Augusto Sakai and end his night doing his patented “shoey” with the Las Vegas crowd. Another fight to check out is the Dominick Cruz vs. Pedro Munhoz fight. Cruz is looking to make another run at the title he once held, while Munhoz wants to get back on track after losing to Jose Aldo in August.

UFC 269 Early Prelim Fighter to Watch: Miranda Maverick

Miranda Maverick lost her last fight against Maycee Barber via split decision this past July, but many believe she should have won that fight. She has been able to dominate most of her fights and is a legitimate threat making waves through the women’s flyweight division. A win on Saturday night should get Maverick another shot at someone inside the top 15 and fans should take notice.

What Time Does UFC 269 Start?

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 11
  • UFC 269 Main card (PPV): 10 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. PT
  • Prelims: 8 p.m. ET | 5 p.m. PT
  • Early prelims: 6:15 p.m. ET | 3:15 p.m. PT

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