Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier will face each other in this Saturday’s main event at UFC 269.
It’s a UFC Lightweight Championship bout with Oliveira defending his title against Poirier in a five-round clash at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Oliveira has now won nine fights in a row since 2018 when he submitted Clay Guida. That was the start of a spectacular streak that saw him recently defeat Michael Chandler in May this year and Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee in 2020. His second-round win against Chandler was his title-winning performance.
Poirier is back after defeating Conor McGregor twice this year already. Poirier stopped McGregor with punches in round two of UFC 257 in January before then defeating him via TKO at UFC 264 in July. Poirier gets another shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship after he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in September 2019.
Read on for our Charles Oliviera vs Dustin Poirier staff predictions, picks, and analysis before UFC 269.
Oliveira vs. Poirier betting odds
- Oliveira: +135
- Poirier: -165
Oliveira vs. Poirier staff picks
This fight is massive, not just because in many people’s eyes Dustin Poirier should’ve fought Charles Oliveira the first time the belt was put on the line, but also because the two men present an intriguing clash of styles. Dustin Poirier comes in with a heavy boxing approach which he bases the rest of his MMA game around, but in a way that compliments his biggest strength. By comparison, Charles Oliveira came into the UFC a dangerous jiu jitsu artist, who has since developed sharp technical and creative striking with a freedom based around his inclination to end up on the ground.
This causes Oliviera to work comfortably from kicking range, with straight thrust kicks to the body being a favourite of his, as well as an arsenal of jumping front kicks, knees and other difficult techniques to apply, because if they are caught and he ends up on his back it doesn’t bother him very much. He also uses very sharp boxing, his hands are rarely out of placement, always hiding his chin, and landing at the text-book perfect arc, especially his uppercuts and hooks. However, they come in short quick combinations, juxtaposed by Poirier’s typical long fluid combinations that may double or triple the punches thrown by Oliveira in a single attack.
What this means, is when they engage in boxing exchanges, Oliveira has to be very careful to get in and out of range quickly on his terms and not get caught by Poirer’s counters on the end of his combinations, Poirier will punch like an avalanche and build upon Oliveira as he retreats. On the flip side, if Oliveira can punch behind his kicks his better use of long-range striking may be able to offset Poirier’s boxing rhythm.
It’s important to note that because the fight is a southpaw vs. orthodox matchup some attacks from both parties won’t be as available as usual. For Oliveira, his uppercut, a constant weapon of his, won’t be as useful against Poirier who uses a philly shell-esque guard with the right hand forward and low. For Poirier, the low calf kick used in his last few fights to great success is only open to the inside of Oliveira’s leg, running the risk of an easy knee check, or right into a takedown. Regardless, both men will be looking to put one another against the fence, and both have particularly good neck attacks should that pressure draw out a takedown. However, the difference from this point is if Poirier cannot finish a latch-on-neck submission he is very much stuck in Oliveira’s world and if Oliviera misses his opportunity he has a vast set of transitions that lead on into his immense grappling game.
Ultimately skills-wise I think that Charles Oliviera holds a slight advantage in more areas. The big X-factor on the other side of things is we are yet to see him brought into the championship rounds and if you want to avoid ending up there with anyone, it’s Dustin Poirier. While I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of ‘the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Poirier’ I do think come rounds 4 and 5, Poirier’s familiarity with the territory may show. Up to that point, however, I think Charles mixes it up and picks Poirier apart.
Prediction: Charles Oliveira to win via early stoppage or competitive decision.
The underestimated yet still undisputed champion, Oliveira is set to make his first title defense Saturday night. Oliveira is riding a 9-fight winning streak that includes 8 finishes. His incredible strength, and likely reason for his winning and finishing streak, is his ability to combine, seamlessly, his striking and grappling. Many fighters have the ability to strike and grapple but struggle to transition the two together. Oliveira is one of the best in the world at using his striking to flow into his grappling and vice versa. On the feet, the champ has a positive strike differential, lands his significant strikes above a 50% clip, and has shown he has real heat. On the mat, Oliveira might have the best Jiu-Jitsu in the division. He has finished 19 of his 31 wins by submission. The vast majority of Oliveira’s submission wins have come via a choke where he works on the mat to take his opponent’s back, slides his arm under the chin, and then squeezes the life out of his foe. Wherever the fight is, Oliveira often has the edge in the “danger factor.” By “danger factor” I mean Oliveira can hurt or finish his opponent from seemingly any position. His speed, athleticism, technique, and seamless flow between striking and grappling make him a truly dangerous champion.
Poirier is considered one of the most well rounded fighters in the division; but, his approach is more segmented than the champion. Where Oliveira will blend his striking and grappling together, Poirier uses his Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling chops more as a threat or defense to keep the fight standing. On the feet, Poirier combines his technical precision with his viscous power. Poirier is one of the best boxers in the UFC and is masterful at setting up his hands with a snapping leg kick. Poirier prefers, at range, to pump his jab and lash his calf kick in order to dictate where his opponent will go. Once he controls the direction, Poirier will suddenly cut and angle, land a quick and thudding combination, then exit range before he absorbs significant returning shots. This approach requires certain skills: fight IQ, fast hands, knowledge of angles, ability to take a shot to land several, and, the cardio to keep pushing forward. Poirier has all of these skills and has shown an ability to string them all together in devastating fashion.
This fight is razor thin. Both men are elite, dangerous, and know their strengths well. I give Oliveira the edge in overall danger factor but Poirier the edge in technique. Oliveira is a beast on the ground and Poirier’s takedown defense is solid but not flawless. Meanwhile, Poirier is a master boxer and Oliveira can get tagged. I see this fight coming down to Poirier’s ability to manage range and dictate where Oliveira is in the octagon so his explosiveness is mitigated. If he can do that, Poirier should be able to find a home for his hands.
Prediction: Poirier by KO/TKO
Olivera will look to build on his most impressive performance to date, as he battled back against Michael Chandler to secure the UFC Lightweight belt in his most recent fight. His ability to overcome odds in the face of adversity has been seen throughout Olivera’s climb to the top, as he was just 7-5 as a UFC Featherweight, but since making the move back to the Lightweight division, Olivera is 10-1 and is currently on a 9-fight win streak. This impressive win-streak is accompanied by holding an impressive 8 of 9 finishing rate. Moreover, throughout his entire UFC career, Olivera passed Cowboy Cerrone in having the most finishes inside the UFC with 17, 14 of which coming by submission. His submission-dominated attack accompanied by great success in finishing said attacks warrants the belief that Olivera is one of the most dangerous BJJ practitioners inside the octagon. What makes Olivera different and more successful than other submission-heavy fighters is his duality of fight-construct, whereby he fluidly uses the stand-up to open up the ground attack and vice versa. This impressive, and somewhat unique style, has left many opponents confused, consequently, finished inside the octagon.
Poirier is no stranger to fighting for the belt nor fighting a fighter as dangerous as Olivera. Since arriving in the UFC, he holds a combined record 20-5-1 spanning two divisions and has fought six men who have been UFC champions, holding a record of 7-2-1 against those opponents. Since 2017, Poirier is 8-1-1, with his only loss coming at the hands of Khabib. Poirier uses an impressive combination of a boxing-oriented attack with a willingness and ability to integrate more traditional MMA techniques when needed. Whether it be using a low-leg kick or mixing in a takedown, he understands that showcasing alternative attacks will open up his hands. As a striker, Poirier is far from a one-punch power-puncher even though he is perfectly willing to get hit to land his own. The interesting aspect of his game is that when he lands, he will land in combination with extreme precision. This precision enables Poirier to pepper the same spots previously hit, ultimately wearing down his opponent that leads to a finish. This fighting style has been formulated over his many years inside the octagon and is inherently indicative of his most dangerous attribute as a fighter, his fight IQ. This IQ is a critical component to possess when fighting a fighter as dangerous as Olivera, as Poirier’s high-level physical ground game alone will likely not be enough to overcome the dangerous submission attacks of Olivera. Instead, the combination of Poirier’s physical ground game accompanied by his high-level fight IQ will best alleviate the main threat of his opponent.
This fight is one of the most interesting fights of 2021. The champ, Charles Olivera, is being doubted once again being that he is the underdog in this matchup. His recent performance over elite contender, Michael Chandler, accompanied by him having the clear “danger” threat over Poirier leaves strong consideration to choose him in this matchup. Even though this is the case, I find myself favoring Poirier’s striking, experience, and fight IQ over the current champion’s elite ground attack. For this reason, I am electing to back the challenger in this extremely interesting and exciting fight.
Prediction: Poirier to win
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.