The UFC heads to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada for its final PPV event of the year. UFC 269 on Saturday night will feature two world title fights and a handful of big names fighting on the main card.

In the main event, Charles Oliveira will defend the UFC lightweight championship against top contender Dustin Poirier in a fight that has been long expected. Poirier was supposed to fight Oliveira for the vacant belt earlier this year but elected to choose a big money fight against Conor McGregor instead. With his bank account now secure, the Diamond looks to finally win the belt that has eluded his MMA career.

The GOAT of women’s MMA will make an appearance in the co-main event as Amanda Nunes defends the women’s bantamweight title against Julianna Pena. Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will also make an appearance on the main card as he continues his new journey in the flyweight division against Kai Kara-France. The well-hyped Suga’ Sean O’Malley will open the main card as he takes on Raulian Paiva.

“Fighting" Charles Oliveira vs Dustin Poirier

Charles Oliveira is the current UFC lightweight champion. The 32-year old from Sao Paulo, Brazil won the belt by stopping Michael Chandler at UFC 262 last May 15th. Oliveira started his MMA career in 2008 and was the Predator FC welterweight Grand Prix tournament winner. He joined the UFC in 2010 and began his career with a modest 4-4 record with one no-contest before his current title run.

Do Bronx holds the UFC record for most finishes with 17 and he has a record of 31-8 with 9 knockouts and 19 wins via submission. Oliveira has won 9 straight bouts which include wins over Tony Ferguson, Clay Guida, Kevin Lee, Jim Miller, and Chandler. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 74 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Dustin Poirier is the no. 1 ranked lightweight contender in the UFC. The Diamond started his career with USA MMA and was one of the holdovers in the WEC merger. A string of six wins led him to the interim UFC lightweight championship but lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 when he fought for the real belt. Since that loss, he is 3-0 with back-to-back stoppage wins over Conor McGregor.

Poirier has a record of 28-6 with 14 knockouts and 7 submission wins. The 32-year old southpaw from Lafayette, Louisiana is 5-9 tall with a reach of 72 inches. He owns wins over Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Dan Hooker, and McGregor.

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Odds from BetOnline as of 12/10/2021

Oliveira has more ways to win with his knockout power and elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But for all the 40 bouts he has fought, Do Bronx has not seen round four. That could be a factor here because Dustin Poirier isn’t just accustomed to fighting under the brightest of lights but he’s been through deep waters many times before.

While Poirier isn’t s skilled as Oliveira, he arguably has more power and could very well be more tough and durable than Oliveira. Knowing his opponent, Poirier will not likely go for the early kill. Instead, he will be patiently outworking Oliveira with leg kicks and counters while trying to keep the fight on the feet.

Poirier only has above average takedown defense at 61% but for all his submission wizardry, Oliveira’s takedown offense is just 44% successful. Unless he is able to take Poirier down and keep him on the mat, the Diamond should be able to outlast the Brazilian, and possibly earn a late stoppage.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier

“Fighting" Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Pena

Amanda Nunes is considered the GOAT of women’s MMA. The current UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion, the Lioness is the first female fighter to win UFC belts in different weight classes, the third overall to hold two belts simultaneously, and the first overall to successfully defend both belts. The 33-year old has won 12 straight bouts, including 9 title fights, and has not lost since 2014 when she was knocked out by Cat Zingano.

Nunes has a record of 21-4 with 13 knockouts and four submission wins. She is 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Julianna Pena is the no. 3 ranked female bantamweight in the UFC. The Venezuelan Vixen was the first woman to win The Ultimate Fighter when she won the 18 edition by defeating Sarah Moras. Pena is just 2-2 in her last four bouts with losses to current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and former featherweight queen Germaine de Randamie. She beat Sara McMann in her most recent bout.

Pena has a record of 10-4 with three knockouts and four submission wins. She is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 69 inches.

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With all due respect to Julianna Pena, the only reason why she is getting this title shot is that she trash-talked her way to it. Consider it a success because she finally has her first title shot. However, when she enters the Octagon on Saturday night and realizes who she is facing, she may regret asking for the fight.

Chael Sonnen has a point when he said that, unlike Nunes’ previous opponents who talked like they were predetermined to lose to the Women’s GOAT, Pena has a different mindset because she believes that she will be the one to end Nunes’ unbeaten run. However, belief without abilities won’t be enough against Nunes.

Pena has good striking but against the woman who knocked out Cris Cyborg in less than one minute, she is outgunned and outmatched on the feet, as she is likely too on the ground. Nunes’ ability to pressure her opponents and do so with heavy punches will be the key. If Pena gets past the first round, that will be a mental victory. But still, it will be a matter of time. Not a good value bet but if you ask me to pick a winner, there’s no doubt here.

Prediction: Amanda Nunes

“Fighting" Geoff Neal vs Santiago Ponzinibbio

Geoff Neal is the UFC’s no. 12 ranked welterweight. The 31-year old from Austin, Texas fought for Legacy FC and XKO and fought for the middleweight belt at the latter, losing to current UFC fighter Kevin Holland. Neal earned his trip to the UFC with a knockout win over Chase Waldon at the Contender Series 3. Neal won seven straight bouts, including five in the UFC before his current two-fight losing skid.

Neal has a record of 13-4 with 8 knockouts and two submission victories. He is a southpaw who is 5-11 tall and has a reach of 75 inches.

Santiago Ponzinibbio is the no. 14 ranked welterweight in the UFC. The 35-year old from La Plata, Argentina was a finalist at The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 tournament but did not fight in the final due to injury. Ponzinibbio started his UFC career with a 2-2 record before winning 7 straight bouts. His win streak ended at the hands of Li Jingliang last January but has bounced back with a win over Miguel Baeza.

Ponzinibbio is 28-4 with 15 knockouts and six submission wins. He is six feet tall with a reach of 73 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

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This is a tough call. Neal was on a winning streak but has lost back-to-back fights to Neil Magny and Stephen Thompson. Ponzinibbio was on a streak of his own before losing to Li Jingliang. He, however, bounced back to beat Miguel Baeza.

Neal has more than enough punching power to make this fight interesting. And Ponzinibbio is a come-forward fighter who is unlike previous opponents who have refused to oblige with Neal’s invitation to brawl. Three of Ponzinibbio’s four losses have been by knockout so I won’t say Neal doesn’t have a shot here.

More likely than not, however, Ponzinibbio is going to get to Neal first before the latter gets to him, that is if this becomes a brawl. Ponzinibbio stopped Magny who beat Neal and for sure, he carries more power than Wonderboy who touched up Neal. I won’t blame you if you pick Neal for the upset but I like Ponzinibbio to replicate the success that Magny and Thompson had against Neal.

Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio

“Fighting" Kai Kara-France vs Cody Garbrandt

Kai Kara-France is the no. 6 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from New Zealand started his career for Asian promotions like Legend Fighting Championship, Rage in the Cage, Bandung Fighting Club, and AFC. Kara-France joined the UFC in 2018 and has posted an Octagon record of 5-2. In his last bout, he defeated Rogerio Bontorin via KO at UFC 259 last March 6th.

He owns a record of 22-9 with 10 knockouts and three submission wins. Kara-France is 5-4 tall with a reach of 69 inches and fights out of their orthodox stance.

Cody Garbrandt is the former UFC bantamweight champion. No Love is still the no. 7 ranked bantamweight but with four losses in his last five bouts, he is attempting to move down to flyweight. Garbrandt defeated Dominick Cruz to win the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 207 in 2016 but lost the belt to T.J. Dillashaw in his first title defense. In his last bout, Garbrandt was beaten on points by Rob Font.

Garbrandt has a record of 12-4 with 10 knockouts. He is 5-8 tall with a reach of 65 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

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Odds from BetOnline as of 12/10/2021

Give props to Cody Garbrandt and his team for helping him become a 125-pound fighter after winning the UFC belt at 135. But his recent photos on social media portray him as a very fragile fighter who looks like he’s going to break with one good punch from a natural flyweight.

Durability has never been an asset of Garbrandt. In fact, many troll his monicker to be No Chin instead of No Love. While he will make weight for this fight, the weight cut will have been brutal and won’t make him any sturdier once Kara-France starts hitting him.

This is no question the biggest fight for Kara-France and if Garbrandt can carry his power down to this weight class, this could turn interesting. More likely though, Kara-France is going to land a couple of body shots that will soften Garbrand. A few more exchanges and he’s going to tag that glass jaw once again.

Prediction: Kai Kara-France

“Fighting" Raulian Paiva vs Sean O’Malley

Raulian Paiva is a former North Extreme Championship bantamweight champion. The 26-yea old from Amapa, Brazil joined the UFC via the Contender Series Brazil 3 show where he defeated Allan Nascimento. After losing his first two UFC bouts to Kai Kara-France and Rogerio Bontorin, he has won three in a row and heads to this fight after defeating Kyler Phillips in a Fight of the Night winner last July 24th.

Paiva is 21-3 with four knockouts and three submission victories. He is 5-8 tall with a reach of 69 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Sean O’Malley is a former ICF bantamweight champion. The 27-year old from Helena, Montana made his way to the UFC via the Contender Series where he defeated Alfred Kashakyan. He won his first four UFC bouts before he was upset by Chito Vera at UFC 252. Since then, he’s picked up back-to-back wins over Thomas Almeida and Kris Moutinho.

O’Malley is 14-1 with 10 knockouts and one submission victory. He is a switch hitter who is 5-11 tall and has a reach of 72 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 12/10/2021

Paiva has never been knocked out, has tons of experience, and recently dismantled O’Malley’s sparring partner Kyler Phillips. But then he’s also not the ranked fighter that O’Malley has been avoiding in his UFC career.

O’Malley knows how to build his hype and that’s by hand-picking his opponents. Paiva may be the most skilled of the fighters he’s chosen to fight but O’Malley knows he has what it takes to beat Paiva. Sure, O’Malley has been upset before. But remember that it was the injury more than Chito’s punches that ultimately caused the defeat.

O’Malley is the most prolific striker in the UFC with over 8 strikes landed per minute. Despite his lean frame, he has impressive punching power which can knock out anyone in his weight class. Frankly speaking, Paiva is no upgrade in the level of opposition for O’Malley. He’s in the same mold as the ones he’s beaten before. Look for the hype train to keep going.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley

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