UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier preview and predictions
A preview and predictions for Saturday’s UFC 269 card, set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
By Stone Lexington
Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 • 8:55 AM ET
Charles Oliveira - Wikimedia Commons
Headlined by two title fights, UFC 269 will take place this weekend in Las Vegas. Below are previews for the main and co-main events, as well as predictions for each fight on the main card.
Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier for the UFC lightweight title
The UFC lightweight title will be on the line when Charles Oliveira defends the belt against No. 1 contender Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 269. The winner will have several fighters waiting to challenge for the title.
Oliveira won the vacant lightweight title in May after defeating former three-time Belabor lightweight champion Michael Chandler via second-round TKO. It looked like Oliveira was on the verge of losing later in the first round against Chandler, as Chandler knocked Oliveira down and rained down punches. Yet, Oliveira survived the round and responded with a brutal TKO in the opening moments of the second.
Former undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov officially retired earlier this year, which allowed Oliveira and Chandler to fight for the vacant title. On Saturday, Oliveira, who is riding a nine-fight winning streak, will defend the belt for the first time.
The champion has a tough task on his hands, as Poirier is one of the most skilled fighters in the UFC. He likely could have fought for the title earlier this year, but opted instead for two lucrative fights with UFC superstar Conor McGregor. Poirier won both bouts against McGregor in under three rounds, and he’ll look to become a UFC champion for the second time this weekend.
Poirier is a former interim lightweight champion, defeating Max Holloway by unanimous decision to win the title at UFC 236 in April 2019. However, he lost a unification bout against Nurmagomedov five months later at UFC 242. Since the loss to Nurmagomedov, though, Poirier is 3-0 with the two wins over McGregor and a unanimous decision victory over Dan Hooker.
Poirier has defeated several worthy challengers inside the Octagon, including Bobby Green, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Hooker, Holloway (twice) and McGregor (twice). He hopes to earn his fourth straight win and the undisputed title against another worthy foe.
Oliveira hasn’t lost since 2017 (via TKO to Paul Folder), and only two of his last nine bouts have reached a third round. What may be even more impressive is that during Oliveira’s nine-fight winning streak, only one of them has reached a decision. The champion has stopped eight of his last night fights, five coming by submission and three by KO or TKO. The stoppages shouldn’t come as any surprise, as Oliveira has the most finishes in UFC history with 17 and the most submissions with 14.
Whoever wins on Saturday will likely have to face Gaethje, the No. 2 ranked lightweight in the world. Poirier defeated Gaethje in 2018 to continue his rise in the lightweight division, while Oliveira has never stepped into the Octagon with Gaethje.
Prediction: Dustin Poirier defeats Charles Oliveira via knockout
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Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Peña for the UFC women’s bantamweight title
Amanda Nunes is the unquestioned queen of women’s MMA, so much so that it’s difficult to find worthy opponents for her.
Nunes isn’t only the women’s bantamweight champion, she’s also the featherweight champion and sits atop the women’s pound-for-pound rankings. She’ll face No. 3 ranked bantamweight Julianna Peña on Saturday for the bantamweight title, but she’ll also enter the bout as a massive favorite.
Being an overwhelming favorite is nothing new for Nunes, who hasn’t lost a bout in the Octagon since 2014 (via TKO to Cat Zingano). She has won 12 straight fights since the loss, including wins over Shayna Baszler, Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Raquel Pennington, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, Holly Holm, Germaine de Randamie, Felicia Spencer and Megan Anderson. Her two most impressive wins, though, came against Valentina Shevchenko in 2016 and 2017.
In 13 fights in the UFC, Shevchenko, the women’s flyweight champion, has only lost twice, both coming to Nunes. She has dominated her competition since the second loss to Nunes, winning all eight of her fights in impressive fashion. Nunes’ second victory over Shevchenko came via a controversial split decision, which wouldn’t have been surprising if it went the other way. While the MMA world eagerly awaits a third fight between Nunes and Shevchenko, other opponents seem like filler until the third showdown takes place.
Peña will be the next woman who will attempt to solve the Nunes puzzle. She’s 6-2 in the UFC with her only losses coming to Shevchenko and Randamie. Those two losses, however, have come in her last four fights. In Peña’s most recent bout in January, she submitted Sara McMann via a third-round rear-naked choke at UFC 257. Nunes, however, will be a completely different challenge.
A Nunes loss on Saturday would be truly shocking.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes defeats Julianna Peña via submission
The rest of the main card
Welterweight bout - No. 12 Geoff Neal vs. No. 14 Santiago Ponzinibbio
Prediction: Geoff Neal defeats Santiago Ponzinibbio via TKO
Flyweight bout - No. 6 Kai Kara France vs. No. 7 Cody Garbrandt
Prediction: Kai Kara France defeats Cody Garbrandt via split decision
Bantamweight bout - No. 15 Raulian Paiva vs. Sean O’Malley
Prediction: Raulian Paiva defeats Sean O’Malley via unanimous decision