UFC 269: Charles Oliveira vs Dustin Poirier
By Cathal Geeney
Charles Oliveira looks to make his first successful UFC lightweight title defence as he faces off against Louisiana’s own Dustin Poirier this Saturday.
It is quite remarkable that both men are still only thirty-two years of age considering their extensive list of achievements.
Poirier is the former interim lightweight champion and holds twenty UFC wins, including two victories over the biggest name in the history of the sport, Conor McGregor.
While Oliveira is just one win behind Poirier (19). However, he is the reigning leader when it comes to both most finishes (17) and most submission wins in UFC history (14). And it is not just the accolades of both athletes which makes this an unmissable bout, stylistically, this should be hugely entertaining.
This will be Poirier’s second shot at undisputed lightweight gold, having come up short as he looked to unify the division against Khabib Nurmagomedov back in September 2019. Fortunately for Dustin, he is not one to dwell on his defeats and has managed to put this loss behind him with a victory over Dan Hooker, followed by successive stoppage wins over McGregor.
Poirier is an accomplished fighter relying primarily on his boxing. He looks to a solid jab before following it up with big combinations. He is particularly effective at mixing his attacks to the head and body, looking to follow up his big lead hooks with a power left. The number one ranked lightweight will not allow his opponent to get comfortable and maintains the pressure, coming forward and landing shots in the pocket.
The Diamond is not necessarily renowned for his grappling credentials but has a solid takedown defence base and can work in the occasional takedown to his offence when required. Despite this, Oliveira will be his greatest test since he came up short against Khabib.
Oliveira is a very accomplished grappler. He is constantly active, both off his back or in top position. The Brazilian will not accept holding his guard off his back. Instead, he will throw his legs up and fight for an opportunistic submission, latching on to any limb he can.
The third degree BJJ blackbelt will smoothly transition from submission attempt to submission attempt until he manages to sink one in.
In addition to his grappling skills, Do Bronx is a very exciting striker. He looks to land unorthodox shots; expect to see some spinning or flying attempts. Do not be fooled by the flamboyant nature of Oliveira’s attack though, as he also has solid fundamentals. The São Paulo born fighter has a strong jab and leg kick which he can use to establish himself before leaning to his more eccentric offence.
Poirier has demonstrated his durability in the octagon time and time again. He has taken big shots in the past, and somehow found a way to overcome adversity. It is this mix of aggression and durability that makes him such a fan favourite.
Despite this, I feel Do Bronx may just have more tools in his offence. One only has to look at the last three victories of Oliveira. A ruthless submission over Kevin Lee, a dominant grappling masterclass decision against Tony Ferguson and most recently, a stunning knockout over Michael Chandler.
Oliveira possesses a great range of skills and I expect him to work his grappling and striking effectively on the night. And for that reason, I am taking Charles Oliveira to successfully defend his UFC lightweight title.