UFC 269: Oliveira vs Poirier Predictions & Results
I will never, ever complain about a heavily stacked PPV card. Almost every single fight on UFC 269 promises fun – even the sloppy Heavyweight showdown between Augusto Sakai and Tai Tuivasa should be wholesome, stupid entertainment. The weakest fight, or to rephrase it, least exciting, is possibly the co-main event execution between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena.
Failed to catch last weekend’s action? No worries, we have you covered:
PI’s Preview: UFC on ESPN 31: Aldo vs Font Predictions.
PI’s Review: MAFB: UFC on ESPN 31 Aldo vs Font Review.
PI’s Scoring: MAFB Math: UFC on ESPN 31.
PI’s Recommended Fight: Jose Aldo vs Rob Font.
Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in UFC Predictions Results: November 2021.
UFC 269: Main Event
Charles Oliveira (31-8) vs Dustin Poirier (28-6)
UFC Lightweight Championship
To see Charles Oliveira win the belt after a back-and-forth career in the UFC brought a tear to the eye of many. The Brazilian has redefined himself over the years. There was once a time that Oliveira was renowned as a submission specialist with a questionable heart. Climbing off the mat to eventually crush Michael Chandler with a peach of a left hook confirmed Olives’ fairytale transformation. There isn’t a tougher first title defence than Dustin Poirier.
If this fight ends up on the ground, Poirier must not take the bait and wait in Oliveira’s guard. Oliveira is largely famous due to his elite work off the back, using the armbar regularly as a transitionary tool. Rather than committing to the armbar as a submission, Oliveira instead uses the threat to create space and coax opponents out of commanding positions. On the feet, Oliveira will struggle to in a clean boxing affair with Poirier. Explosiveness and unorthodox strikes will be key to keeping Poirier from settling into a rhythm.
Two questions from the Conor McGregor trilogy will be answered on Saturday. Firstly, is it impressive to beat post-Mayweather McGregor? Secondly, has Poirier become a big enough household name to attract big PPV numbers? This isn’t to slander Poirier’s clear quality. Victories over Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez are scalps that any Lightweight would be proud to hold. It is more of an interesting benchmark to see if almost two years of just McGregor fights have caused a level of regression.
A massive worry for Poirier will be his durability in the early rounds. Kevin Lee may have never made the most of his potential, but Oliveira broke Lee in dominating fashion. The Brazilian is still a wild striker, happy to invest everything into jumping strikes, but it is also now behind a layer of feints and activity that was missing in the early half of his career. Poirier takes his time to make a read. If it weren’t for the buzzer, Dan Hooker would have finished Poirier. Poirier can more than handle himself on the feet, but why risk would he risk it? Poirier’s awkward, bastard cross-guard will most likely confuse Oliveira to the same extent as many opponents before.
Predicted Result: Oliveira Submission Round 2
The safest call would be to back Poirier deep in the contest or on the scorecards. Tight, technical boxing, excellent decision-making and a wonderful chin suggest that Poirier will overcome an early onslaught from Oliveira before making his reads. Perhaps it is my heart speaking, but it feels as though Oliveira’s skillset has been vastly underrated in the build-up.
Oliveira’s explosiveness on the feet will benefit him as his unorthodox strike selection will delay Poirier’s ability to time counters. Dan Hooker almost stopped Poirier with early aggression if not for the buzzer. As seen against Chandler, Oliveira only needs one window of opportunity during the opening rounds and he will make it count. Whatever the result, this is the true Lightweight showdown between the best two in the division.
Result: Oliveira def. Poirier // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 3 1:02
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌
UFC 269: Co-Main Event
Amanda Nunes (21-4) vs Julianna Pena (10-4)
Women’s Bantamweight (135)
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
Hahaha. I want to write a detailed breakdown for this fight, but what is the point? An opponent who was submitted by Germaine de Randamie cannot be expected to end Nunes’ title reign. Sigh. Here we go.
The champ’s only noticeable chink in the armour is wrestling. Not to say that Nunes isn’t an excellent wrestler, but the flaws in Nunes game are so few that we have to look at her last loss to Cat Zingano back in 2014. Pena is a wrestler turned striker, but her aggression on the feet could create the opportunity for a rare takedown. It is so unlikely that it feels pointless saying it, however. Unless Nunes is carrying an injury over from her training camp, the champion will dominate the striking exchanges from the get-go. If you want to have fun with this fight, watch Nunes’ feints. They are overly telegraphed and wouldn’t work for any other fighter. Yet each twitch forces opponents to violently react because of the fear of Nunes’ power.
Pena could have endured a wildly different career if she hadn’t chosen to show up once a year. Losing via submission to Valentina Shevchenko is perfectly excusable. Tapping to GDR, however, is unforgivable. The kicker is that Pena walked herself into the sub off of her own takedown. If Pena’s only viable weapon is her wrestling against Nunes – history doesn’t favour poor Pena.
Pena carries herself alright on the feet and always returns counters with volume. Pena’s defensive tendencies are worrying, however. The Venezuelan’s natural defensive instinct is to dip at the knees. Nunes is too smart a striker not to eventually time an uppercut that rips through Pena’s guard. Pena may have shown a solid chin over the years, she will be facing a power so far alien to her.
Predicted Result: Nunes TKO Round 1
Losing via submission to Valentina Shevchenko is perfectly excusable. Tapping to GDR, however, is unforgivable. The kicker is that Pena walked herself into the sub off of her own takedown. If Pena’s only viable weapon is her wrestling against Nunes – it doesn’t bode well for poor Pena. More worrying is Pena’s natural defensive instinct to dip at the knees. Nunes is too polished not to eventually time an uppercut that rips through Pena’s guard.
Result: Pena def. Nunes // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 3:26
Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
UFC 268: Main Card
Geoff Neal (13-4) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-4)
A battle between the two fallen prospects. Geoff Neal’s struggles outside of the octagon raise red flags over his mentality entering the fight. It was only Thanksgiving that Neal was dealing with the law over a DUI. On the back of decision losses to Stephen Thompson and Neil Magny, Neal has looked lost in the octagon. Granted, Thompson and Magny are excellent at stripping an opponent of their best weapons, but it confirmed that Neal has no Plan B to fall back on.
Luckily for Neal, Ponzinibbio will bring a rock-em sock-em style that will see both men check their chins. Neal has never had a problem with power but instead struggles with closing the distance with opponents. With Ponz bobbing happily in striking range, Neal can rip the Argentinian’s body to shreds.
Ponzinibbio hasn’t been the same fighter since 2018. The first-round knockout loss to Jingliang Li could be forgiven for return jitters. Allowing Miguel Baeza to gain footholds during their fight and lay down serious damage highlights the Argentinian’s physical decline. Perhaps the win has injected a bit more life in the legs of Ponz, but it isn’t likely.
The flowing lateral movement seems to have slowed in Ponz’s return. While his stalking pressure is still the gameplan, Ponz hips have looked set in stone since his return. Far greater volume thrown in the Baeza fight is the most pleasing return of form.
Predicted Result: Neal TKO Round 3
Sooner or later, a Geoff Neal head kick is finding the target. Granted, Neal’s struggles outside of the octagon raise red flags over his mentality entering the fight. This feels like a difficult fight for an out-of-sorts Neal to lose, however. Neal has never had a problem with power but instead struggles with closing the distance with opponents. With Ponz bobbing happily in striking range, Neal can rip the Argentinian’s body to shreds. While Ponz’ volume against Miguel Baeza was a pleasing return of form, the regular damage he ate cannot be afforded against Neal’s heavy hands.
Result: Neal def. Ponzinibbio // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Kai Kara-France (22-9) vs Cody Garbrandt (12-4)
Giving up 4″ of height would be worrying if Kara-France was not benefitting from a 4″ reach advantage. The physical advantages will prove massive on the night. Kara-France can safely work reads from the outside without needing to earn Garbrandt’s respect immediately. The Kiwi will have to accept delivering less volume than normally preferred. In a straight shoot-off, Garbrant has Kara-France comfortably beaten for speed. Instead, Kara-France will have to dig into his underrated power and out-slick his athletic opponent.
Garbrandt is the biggest coin flip fighter in the organisation. It feels like a potluck trying to guess the confidence or mental state of Garbrandt on Saturday night. The elite physical attributes are still there. Garbrandt’s hand speed is Godly, he can box technically at the start of rounds, and his wrestling is crazy underrated. Unfortunately, apart from the Dominick Cruz fight, Garbrandt throws all his weapons at an opponent in the hopes that one sticks. Kara-France is a tamer test than Rob Font or TJ Dillashaw, but the extra weight cut may hamper Garbrandt’s recently revived durability.
Predicted Result: Kara-France Decision
A difficult fight to call, not least because of the coin-flip nature of Garbrandt’s approach in the octagon. Garbrandt looked drained on the scales and there is the fear that the extra weight cut may hamper Garbrandt’s recently revived durability. If Garbrandt is healthy, he will still struggle to beat Kara-France if the Kiwi sits back on a 4″ reach advantage. In a straight shoot-off, Garbrant has Kara-France comfortably beaten for speed. Instead, Kara-France will have to sit on his underrated power and out-slick his athletic opponent. Garbrandt has the wrestling edge yet he so rarely threatens with it that it almost feels pointless mentioning.
Result: Kara-France def. Garbrandt // TKO (punches) Round 1 3:21
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Sean O’Malley (14-1) vs Raulian Paiva (21-3)
Forgoing O’Malley’s biscuit legs disintegrating in the first round, Paiva is not going to be able to handle O’Malley’s power. Kyler Phillips fought a dreadful gameplan against Raulian Paiva, but the American was able to hurt Paiva numerous times. O’Malley represents a far cleaner striker with an innate ability to find his rhythm immediately. Combined with the prospect’s quality scrambling that will keep the fight standing, Paiva’s chances of victory are close to none.
Raulian Paiva’s only viable path to victory is forcing O’Malley into trading in the pocket. The Brazilian’s wrestling isn’t adequate to overcome O’Malley’s impressive TDD. Instead, Paiva needs to deny O’Malley the space to kick and drag the American into an uncomfortable pace up-close. There were signs of O’Malley slowing against Kris Moutinho before the late referee intervention. Paiva’s long combinations are the double-edged sword that could see him a) close the distance and suffocate O’Malley or b) walk onto a knockout counter.
Predicted Result: O’Malley TKO Round 2
Forgoing O’Malley’s biscuit legs disintegrating in the first round, Paiva is not going to be able to handle O’Malley’s power. Paiva needs to deny O’Malley the space to kick and drag the American into an uncomfortable pace up-close. There were signs of O’Malley slowing against Kris Moutinho before the late referee intervention. It’s just too difficult not to see Paiva walking onto a knockout counter, however.
Result: O’Malley def. Paiva // TKO (punches) Round 1 4:42
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌
UFC 269: Preliminary Card
Josh Emmett (16-2) vs Dan Ige (15-4)
Will Josh Emmett’s heavy hands be the force that opens the first crack on Dan Ige’s legendary chin? Emmett’s exceptional defensive wrestling will negate Ige’s grappling, leading to what should be a fun firefight on the feet. Both men are capable of digging deep, and boy will they have to. Emmett, as the more technical striker, has enough savvy to collect the rounds with clean work on the counter. It wasn’t that long ago, however, that Michael Johnson was able to batter Emmett with activity before MJ found a way to lose.
Ige may have lost the biggest fight of his career last time out, but the Hawaiian showcased a new tool – adaptability. Rather than ploughing forward with his brawling, one-pace striking for the full five rounds, Ige was willing to change course mid-fight. After being handily out-struck for the first four rounds, Ige started to chase takedowns. Offering a new look earlier in the fight will pose questions for Emmett that will force him out of a comfortable rhythm. If Ige can somehow bait Emmett back to his early career solely power-punching approach, the Hawaiian thrives in coin flip brawls.
Predicted Result: Ige Decision
Will Josh Emmett’s heavy hands be the force that opens the first crack on Dan Ige’s legendary chin? Emmett’s exceptional defensive wrestling will negate Ige’s grappling, leading to what should be a fun firefight on the feet. Emmett, as the more technical striker, has enough savvy to collect the rounds with clean work on the counter. It wasn’t that long ago, however, that Michael Johnson was able to batter Emmett with activity before MJ found a way to lose. Ige’s volume and relentless aggression may just tip the scorecards in his favour.
Result: Emmett def. Ige // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Pedro Munhoz (19-6) vs Dominick Cruz (23-3)
Munhoz’s crunching low kicks have to be the focus for the Brazilian. If no attempt is made to stop Cruz’s dancing footwork, then Munhoz’s plodding forward aggression will constantly chase shadows. It isn’t all doom and gloom for the Brazilian. Cruz will struggle to threaten his wrestling against Munhoz, nor will he be able to crack the Brazilian’s chin. A reach disadvantage, speed differential and inability to ‘go through the gears’, has decision loss written all over it.
Just how far Cruz regressed? A few years back, Dominick Cruz would have wiped the floor with Casey Kenney. His low-output, fleet footwork and tight wrestling are a style that screams 30-27 against Kenney. The athletic decline after a series of career-changing injuries has left Cruz without the speed advantage that forms the foundation of his style. Add to the fact that Henry Cejudo revealed the blueprint to countering Cruz’s footwork – hard low kicks – then Cruz starts to appear as a sitting duck. The intelligent game-planning and awkward style are both primed to deliver a tiring decision.
Predicted Result: Cruz Decision
The athletic decline after a series of career-changing injuries has left Cruz without the natural speed advantage that forms the foundation of his style. Thankfully, he faces an even slower fighter with inferior reach. Cruz will struggle to threaten his wrestling against Munhoz, nor will he be able to crack the Brazilian’s chin. Unless Munhoz commits to leg kicks early and replicates Cejudo’s approach, this has decision loss written all over it.
Result: Cruz def. Munhoz // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Augusto Sakai (15-3-1) vs Tai Tuivasa (13-3)
Sakai’s lack of wrestling game leaves this contest in an area that strongly favours Tuivasa. Sakai can handle himself on the feet, his higher volume striking has blitzed opponents before. Unfortunately for Sakai, Tuivasa isn’t a fighter who will freeze in the face of incoming damage. To be fair, the Brazilian’s hard jab has enough power to blunt Tuivasa’s relentless advances. After the crushing knockout loss to Rozenstruik, though, it is difficult to back Sakai. Sakai wasn’t willing to commit to his strikes, and for a fighter who needs to land volume to control the pace, it is a serious issue.
Good on Tuivasa for recreating himself since his three-fight slide in 2019. The Aussie hasn’t emerged as a jaw-dropping technical specimen overnight, but his ability to drop the ego and stop looking for the one big shot has earned him three first-round finishes. Tuivasa’s durability is undeniable. Greg Hardy landed cleanly on the button yet Tuivasa’s robot-mode instinctively found the counter hook to flip the fight on its head. If Tuivasa plugs away with his leg kicks early, he can press Sakai back to the cage. Stefan Struve and Cyril Asker both struggled to deal with Tuivasa’s clinch striking, an area where the Aussie can surprise with powerful elbows.
Predicted Result: Tuivasa Decision
After the crushing knockout loss to Rozenstruik, it is difficult to back Sakai. Sakai wasn’t willing to commit to his strikes, and for a fighter who needs to land volume to control the pace, it is a serious issue. If Tuivasa plugs away with his leg kicks early, he can press the Brazilian back to the cage. Stefan Struve and Cyril Asker both struggled to deal with Tuivasa’s clinch striking, an area where the Aussie can surprise with powerful elbows.
Result: Tuivasa def. Sakai // KO (punches) Round 2 0:26
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Bruno Silva (21-6) vs Jordan Wright (12-1)
Mr PEDs himself should never really be celebrated, but he does offer an entertaining highlight reel. After having the brakes beaten off of him for three rounds against Andrew Sanchez, Bruno Silva dug incredibly deep to break the wrestler with his heavy hands. If, as expected, Silva survives the fireworks of the first round, he will have ten minutes to find the finish against a sitting duck.
This one promises a beautiful, glorious knockout. Jordan Wright is the greatest example of kill or be killed. While the Californian was riding a paper record into the UFC, he has since proven his quality with dominant wins over Ike Villanueva and Jamie Pickett. The wonderful form on his kicks delivers power cleanly, and Bruno Silva isn’t exactly a defensive savant. Outside of the opening couple of minutes, however, and Wright’s inexperience with quality opposition will start to show.
Predicted Result: Silva TKO Round 2
This one promises a beautiful, glorious knockout. The wonderful form on Jordan Wright’s kicks deliver his power cleanly, and Bruno Silva isn’t exactly a defensive savant. If, as expected, Silva survives the fireworks of the first round, however, he will have ten minutes to find the finish against a sitting duck.
Result: Silva def. Wright // TKO (punches) Round 1 1:28
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌
Andre Muniz (21-4) vs Eryk Anders (14-5)
Well. Andre Muniz did the unthinkable. Muniz snapped Jacare Souza’s arm clean off. Okay, perhaps that’s an over-exaggeration, but Muniz impressively broke Souza’s arm en route to a first-round submission victory. Muniz’s striking remains stiff and could be an issue when dealing with Anders’ pressure. In an ugly, punch-for-punch brawl, Anders has Muniz beat handily. Whether Anders uses his noggin is a different question.
An elite physical specimen that has never blossomed into a natural fighter, Eryk Anders is evidence of how far you can get in MMA off the back of exceptional athleticism. Anders’ dominant victories over Darren Stewart are perhaps a little undervalued by most analysts. Physically, Anders has all the tools to keep himself on the feet and away from Muniz’s dangerous submissions. Can Anders prevent himself from making a mistake for fifteen minutes, however? Very unlikely.
Predicted Result: Muniz Decision
Physically, Anders has all the tools to keep himself on the feet and away from Muniz’s dangerous submissions. Can Anders prevent himself from making a mistake for fifteen minutes, however? Very unlikely. Muniz can somewhat handle himself on the feet, but every attempt will be made to pull guard and test Anders’ submission defence.
Result: Muniz def. Anders // Submission (armbar) Round 1 3:13
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Ryan Hall (8-2) vs Darrick Minner (26-12)
By this point, if you didn’t already know, Ryan Hall is kind of a big deal in the BJJ scene. The grappling king offers a freakish submission threat that is rarely so lethal. Unfortunately for Hall, he can struggle to get the fight to the mat as opponents understandably stay far away from Hall’s guard. A series of spinning kicks keep Hall active on the feet and leaves opponents unable to counter punish him as they will walk onto a takedown. Ilia Topuria’s calm striking on the feet and careful ground and pound stopped Hall last time out. There aren’t many others in the division that could replicate such a performance, however.
Darrick Minner is a fun name to have on the roster because of his determined intent to find a finish. Often this will see Minner walk into a submission loss of his own, but his high octane style is a pleasure to watch despite the technical flaws. While Minner has a slew of submission victories on the mat, he will struggle to go toe-to-toe with Hall. Minner found great success against Darren Elkins in the first round with heavy ground and pound, but Hall is a different beast entirely.
Predicted Result: Hall Submission Round 1
While Minner has a slew of submission victories on the mat, he will struggle to go toe-to-toe with Hall. Minner found great success against Darren Elkins in the first round with heavy ground and pound, but it is unlikely that Minner will be able to recreate Ilia Topuria’s victory. Hall has the edge on the mat and will likely punish Minner’s determined intent to find a finish.
Result: Hall def. Minner // Decision (unanimous – 29-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Randy Costa (6-2) vs Tony Kelley (7-2)
You’d be hard stretched to find a better first-round fighter. Last time out against Adrian Yanez, Costa utterly dominated the first five minutes of the fight. Finding the range immediately, Costa sat down on his jab hard and bloodied Yanez. Constantly popping the jab allows Costa to throw snappy head kicks that catch opponents unaware. After the first round, Costa is incapable of surviving, he visibly drops off a cliff in terms of form and output.
How Tony Kelley was unable to get the submission victory over Ali AlQaisi is beyond me? AlQaisi may have been unceremoniously released afterwards, but his submission defence was insane. The dynamic of this fight for Kelley will be to survive the first round then easily take Costa down and submit him. While the American hasn’t been stopped in his career so far, he shipped a lot of damage against Kai Kamaka III. When facing the power of Costa, it’s lights out if a similar defensive liability occurs.
Predicted Result: Costa TKO Round 1
You’d be hard stretched to find a better first-round fighter than Randy Costa. Costa’s jab is a constant weapon used to inflict damage – sitting down hard on the shot. While Kelley hasn’t been stopped in his career so far, he shipped a lot of damage against Kai Kamaka III. When facing the power of Costa, it’s lights out if a similar defensive liability occurs. If Kelley survives the first round, Costa is ripe for an easy submission.
Result: Kelley def. Costa // TKO (elbows) Round 2 4:15
Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌
Priscila Cachoeira (10-3) vs Gillian Robertson (9-6)
Women’s Flyweight (125)
Wins over Shana Dobson and Gina Mazany ensures that Priscila Cachoeira keeps her title of ‘King of the Journeywomen’. The Brazilian’s chin keeps her in fights beyond scientific reason. Unfortunately for Cachoeira, her durability means nothing against an opponent who seeks to control her on the mat. A leaky takedown defence was clear against Gina Mazany, leaving the Brazilian with the only option of finding a stoppage early at the start of the rounds.
A personal favourite, Gillian Robertson, is somehow only twenty-six years old. It feels as though the Candian has been around for decades, but it is just her activity that deceives. Robertson’s hands are still fairly dreadful, but they have improved to the extent where they are functional. The bread and butter of Robertson’s game is her grappling. Cachoeira may prove tricky to submit initially, but Robertson should have the best part of fifteen minutes to find it.
Predicted Result: Robertson Submission Round 3
Cachoeira’s leaky takedown defence will make it easy for Robertson to get to work with her grappling immediately. Cachoeira may prove tricky to submit initially, but Robertson should have the best part of fifteen minutes to find it. Cachoeira’s famed durability will mean nothing if she cannot keep the fight standing.
Result: Robertson def. Cachoeira // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 4:59
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌
2021 MMA Season
Takeaway comments: I’ll take a side of ice cream for my humble pie – congratulations Julianna Pena!
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