UFC 269 takes place in the early hours of Sunday morning from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In the main event, Dustin Poirier will get his second chance to win the lightweight title, having lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in September 2019, when he fights the champion, Charles Oliveira. CHad Nagel and Joshua Gaillard preview.
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, the women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes makes her long-awaited return to the octagon to put her 135-pound belt on the line against Julianna Pena after successfully defending her 145-pound title against Megan Anderson in March.
Elsewhere on the main card, two of the brightest prospects in UFC’s bantamweight division, Raulian Paiva and Sean O’Malley, go to war in a three-round bout. Even the prelim fights feature some interesting names like two-time UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Pedro Munhoz, Andre Muniz and Ryan Hall.
Main Event – Oliveira 5/4 | Poirier 57/100 (Lightweight)
While the fight game is many things, this fight has but only eyes for gold and glory, no mercy! The former interim lightweight champion, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier meets the current lightweight champion of the world Charles ‘do Bronx’ Oliveira. Poirier seeks UFC undisputed gold for the second time in his career after faltering against the former undisputed champion of the division, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Oliveira will not let the belt go without bloodshed in his first title defence.
Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) entered the UFC in 2010 and was without question one of the hottest prospects because of his high level of jiujitsu. After his first two wins via submission, the hype felt real, only for a seven-year slump with him going 8-8 and one no contest.
Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) has been on a similar journey, beginning his career in the featherweight division before being knocked out by Conor McGregor who went on to win the featherweight belt and thus making his lightweight debut in the UFC just six months later.
Ups and downs have both plagued both fighters, and now, after years of building the experience, mentality, and reputation deserving of this legendary lightweight bout, it’s time!
An awakening like nothing we’ve seen in the UFC before ‘do Bronx’ earned his chance to fight for the vacant title. A seven-fight win streak in the lightweight shark pool with wins over Clay Guida, Mr UFC himself Jim Miller, derailed Nik Lentz’s hype train, quickly dispatched of Kevin Lee, absolutely dominated Tony Ferguson in grappling, and won the vacant lightweight strap by emphatically knocking out former Bellator champion Michael Chandler.
Forged under pressure, ‘The Diamond’ clearly reached another level once moving up to lightweight. Wins over the division’s best, with but one slip up at the hands of Michael Johnson, Dustin beat Jim Miller as well, plus three former champions in Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis and McGregor (twice), knocking out Justin Gaethje and winning an all-out war versus Dan Hooker.
This is a fight for the ages, historically one for the MMA hall of fame! The UFC’s best ever finisher, Oliveira holds 17 finishes in 19 wins, only going the distance with Ferguson and Jeremy Stephens. The champ’s opponent has a different kind of brand to his name in recent times, with his ability to go to the brink of death and walk away victorious.
This mixed martial arts battle really needs no introduction and no hype for the fight for fans across the world, but if you’re just getting into MMA as a spectator, I hope this got you shaking and quaking waiting for the bell to ring and the ref to say ‘FIGHT!’
Verdict: Poirier 57/100
For all intents and purposes, Poirier is the uncrowned champion of the lightweight division, and that’s said with no disrespect to the current champion. He could have fought for the title but decided to go the money route and destroy McGregor in back-to-back wins.
Having said that, this fight is winnable for either fighter. We all know where the champ will look to win the fight with the most submissions in UFC history (14), and he is willing to fight in any position. Poirier is well versed in every facet, and while he might not excel in a specific style, he is more than capable in any position and continues to prove that.
I could spell out a path to victory for either fighter, on the feet or on the ground, but I believe Poirier will overwhelm with pressure despite Oliveira’s ability to maintain distance in different ways, including a great double leg takedowns in his back pocket at any given moment in the fight. We could go back and forth, around the ring again and again, however, we feel this fight goes into deep waters with both fighters capable of scrapping in any position, and ‘The Diamond’ continues to shine under that sort of pressure, but Charles does not overextend himself, he is calculated and precise in everything he does.
In most cases, technically proficient fighters get my bet and at 12/10 Oliveira is certainly value. But Poirier has the proverbial ‘bigger dog’ in him, and we really do feel this fight will be another war – and NEW!
Co-main – Nunes 1/10 vs Pena 48/10 (Women’s Bantamweight)
Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes returns to the octagon to defend her bantamweight championship against top contender Julianna Pena, who has accused the double-champion of ducking her in the past. The Brazilian legend enters the fight as the clear 1/9 favourite given her utter dominance inside the UFC’s octagon, while ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ is priced at 48/10 to pull off the unthinkable upset.
The two were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 265, but Nunes withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. Now, Pena (11-4) will finally get her wish and face one of the most dominant fighters in MMA history.
The 33-year-old Nunes (21-4) lays claim to both the UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight titles – the first women to hold UFC titles in two weight classes simultaneously – and enters on an incredible 12-fight winning streak that includes wins over former UFC champions Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko, Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Germaine de Randamie. Besides her lengthy winning streak, ‘The Lioness’ has 17 stoppage wins on her record and 14 first-round victories in her career.
On the other side, Pena is currently ranked fourth at bantamweight and coming off a submission victory over Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann at UFC 257 in January. Pena took the win with a rear-naked choke in the third round. The victory got her back into the win column after being submitted by De Randamie in October of 2020. ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ was The Ultimate Fighter 18 champion and has had some impressive wins against Cat Zingano, Jessica Eye and Nicco Montano.
Verdict: Nunes 1/10
This will be Amanda’s first defence of the bantamweight title since UFC 245 in December 2019, where she defeated De Randamie via unanimous decision. The Brazilian has held this belt since 2016 and since successfully defended it five times.
If Nunes is successful against Pena, she will match Rousey’s record of six defences of the UFC women’s bantamweight title. ‘The Lioness’ will be facing a fresh challenge, with ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ looking to force her grapple-heavy approach, but be it TKO/KO, submission or on the judge’s scorecard, Nunes should emerge with her hand raised in victory.
Bantamweight – Paiva 9/4 | O’Malley 3/10
This will certainly be an exciting bantamweight matchup between two rising stars in Raulian Paiva and Sean O’Malley. Both fighters head into this bout on the back of win streaks: Paiva has won his last three on the trot, while O’Malley will look to make it a hat-trick of wins for the year.
Despite not being ranked, O’Malley (14-1) is one of the biggest prospects in the UFC right now. The ‘Suga Show’ made a name for himself in the promotion by knocking out Alfred Khashakyan at Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2017. So far, his only octagon setback came at the hands of Marlon Vera at UFC 252 in a bout where he injured his ankle before being stopped with strikes. O’Malley is 2-0 since that defeat, with stoppage victories over Thomas Almeida and Kris Moutinho. Overall, the bantamweight star is 14-1 with 10 knockouts and one submission win. He is also 6-1 with four knockouts in seven UFC bouts.
Paiva (21-3) meanwhile is currently on a three-fight winning streak and ranked No. 18th in the promotion’s official rankings, defeating tough competitors Mark De La Rosa, Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Kyler Phillips consecutively. Like O’Malley, the 26-year-old Brazilian emerged from the Dana White Contender Series.
Verdict: O’Malley 3/10
This fight is going to be a perfect starter for the highly anticipated fight card of UFC 269 and both of these guys are looking to climb up the rankings. Paiva is a tough and aggressive fighter, and if he manages to upset ‘Sugar’, his popularity would explode.
But the hype around O’Malley isn’t without merit. He is massive for the bantamweight division, and both as fast and powerful as they come. Therefore, we are backing up the ‘Suga Show’ to win this. Our first pick is that it would be via unanimous decision.
Fight of the Night
With many fighters on the UFC 269 card capable of putting on a show, there is only one fight worthy of the prediction. The ‘Suga Show’ will be on display, as well as the G.O.A.T. taking on her biggest pre-fight hyper – she basically just hasn’t kept Amanda’s name out her mouth – but there is only one! With a combined 15 performance of the night awards and 10 fight of the night awards, how could you possibly look anywhere else but the main event, Charles Oliveira versus Dustin Poirier.
Full card predictions:
Main Card: 05:00 CAT, Sunday 12 December
- Charles Oliveira (c) (5/4) vs Dustin Poirier (57/100): Poirier
- Amanda Nunes (c) (1/10) vs Julianna Pena (48/100): Nunes
- Kai Kara-France (21/20) vs Cody Garbrandt (66/100): Kara-France
- Raulian Paiva (9/4) vs Sean O’Malley (3/10): O’Malley
Prelims: 03:00 CAT
- Josh Emmett vs Dan Ige: Emmett
- Pedro Munhoz (81/100) vs Dominick Cruz (9/10): Cruz
- Augusto Sakai vs Tai Tuivasa: Tuivasa
- Jordan Wright vs Bruno Silva: Silva
Early Prelims: 01:00 CAT
- Andre Muniz (66/100) vs Eryk Anders (21/20): Muniz
- Miranda Maverick vs Erin Blanchfield: Blanchfield
- Alex Perez (2/7) vs Matthew Christopher Schnell (47/20): Perez
- Ryan Hall (9/20) vs Darrick Minner (31/20): Minner
- Randy Costa (46/100) vs Tony Kelley (31/20): Costa
- Gillian Robertson (24/100) vs Priscila Cachoeira (26/10): Cachoeira