Who will emerge victorious at UFC 269?
The final numbered UFC event of the year takes place this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. A duo of title fights will finalise the card, with Charles Oliveira making his inaugural defence of the Lightweight belt against Dustin Poirier in the main event. Julianna Peña will also be looking to end the seemingly unrelenting reign of Amanda Nunes on the Women’s Bantamweight division, a task which many have fell way short of. UFC 269 is jam-packed full of fighters looking to prove themselves to the mixed-martial arts world, which can only make for exhilarating competition. The promotion will be wanting to enter 2022 following a year of memorable fights. For Dana White, Saturday’s event can only add to the highlight reel.
Here. We. Go.#UFC269 Fight Week is here ?
The main card and prelims are looking good ? pic.twitter.com/8EvVWyQbZ5
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) December 6, 2021
UFC 269 Early Prelims
- Gillian Robertson vs. Priscila Cachoeira: Women’s Flyweight
- Randy Costa vs. Tony Kelley: Bantamweight
- Ryan Hall vs. Darrick Minner: Featherweight
- Alex Perez vs. Matt Schnell: Flyweight
- Miranda Maverick vs. Erin Blanchfield: Women’s Flyweight
- Andre Muniz vs. Eryk Anders: Middleweight
UFC 269 Prelims
This year, MMA enthusiasts have been treated to dozens of jaw-dropping prelims, that have often eclipsed the main card themselves. UFC 269’s preliminary bouts are set to serve up several intriguing matchups.
Kicking them off is a middleweight clash between stand-up artist Jordan Wright and the Brazilian Bruno Silva. The former is coming off the back of a first-round KO against Jamie Pickett back in May, courtesy of a series of devastating ground-and-pound strikes. Silva made his UFC debut earlier this year, with this bout acting as his third in the space of six months. The 32-year-old will be hoping to add another early finish to his record on Saturday, an achievement met in both of his promotion fights.
Most mixed martial-arts fans will be well aware of heavyweight Tai Tuivasa and his outlandish ways. The Australian is looking to climb back into the division’s rankings, following nearly a three-year spell without victory. Leaving the octagon triumphant will certainly be challenging, as he faces #11 ranked Augusto Sakai, a former Bellator competitor with overwhelming power. The Brazilian stated he “expects a big finish on Saturday night,” and with the way both fighters like to perform, I doubt we’ll hear the final bell.
Former two-time UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz takes on #8 ranked Pedro Munhoz. Of the latter’s preceding five fights within the promotion, he has faced four previous champions, emerging victorious in just two. This will be the 35-year-old’s fifth to add to his record, and he comes into the fight off the back of a decision loss to veteran José Aldo. Cruz has beaten some of the most notable names within the division’s history, including the likes of Demetrious Johnson, T.J. Dillashaw and Urijah Faber. Neither are known for their striking power, so expect the result to go to the judges’ scorecard.
The final matchup on the preliminary card takes place between featherweight duo Josh Emmett and Dan Ige. Emmett comes into the event on a three-fight win streak, defeating Shane Burgos in his previous bout last year. Known for his boxing skillset, the 36-year-old will be looking to finish the fight early, something he couldn’t muster against Burgos even after flooring him twice. His American counterpart ranks two places below him in ninth; after a six-fight unbeaten run spanning over two years, ‘50k’ has since suffered defeats to both Calvin Kattar and Chan Sung Jung. Ige is still a top ten opponent, despite the recent run of form (which has also included a win versus Gavin Tucker), so it will certainly make for a closely contested matchup.
UFC 269 Main Card
Saturday’s main card commences with a bantamweight clash involving stand-up artists Raulian Paiva and Sean O’Malley. Paiva was currently removed from the division’s ranked places, where he placed #15 not long ago. The 26-year-old has been signed to the promotion since early last year, and has won all three of his subsequent fights. Having competed at flyweight for his first two UFC bouts, the Brazilian moved up a weight-class for his last time out, in a victory via decision versus Kyler Philips.
‘Sugar’ has become one of the UFC’s biggest up-and-coming stars since his debut back in 2017. The American’s extravagant personality and multi-coloured hair has seen him become one of the most recognisable faces under White’s payroll. O’Malley excels boxing wise, quickly becoming known as an impending KO artist within the world of MMA. This will be a stern test for both fighters, and a difficult one for any pundit to call.
O'Malley respects the interim bantamweight champ, but believes he can solve the puzzle ? #UFC269
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 8, 2021
Kai Kara France takes on former Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt afterwards in a bout at 125 lbs. The Kiwi fights out of City Kickboxing, the same gym as Oceanian superstars Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski, and is currently ranked #6 at flyweight. He comes in off the back of a victory via Round 1 KO against Rogerio Bontarim, courtesy of a perfectly-placed right hook. ‘No love’ on the other hand fell short in his last fight, as the judges voted unanimously to hand Rob Font a decision win. The 30-year-old has a diverse range of striking abilities, and will be looking to land flusters of combinations to his opponent’s chin.
Before any belts are put on the line, a contest between welterweights Geoff Neal and Santiago Ponzinibbio must be decided. Neal has been signed with the promotion for nearly four years, winning five out of his seven matchups during that time. The Texan has featured heavily in the news leading up to UFC 269, but unfortunately not for his successful training camp. He was arrested in the early hours of Thanksgiving on DWI and weapons offences, something the likes of Jon Jones have also been tried for. Fighting out of Fortis MMA, the 31-year-old comes into the fight as the underdog.
Ponzinibbio is somewhat of a martial-arts veteran. The Argentinian won his last fight over Miguel Baeza via decision in what has been considered a ‘fight of the year’ contender. His high-level stand-up IQ was there for the world to see, despite falling short in his penultimate bout to Li Jingliang, not to mention losing two years of his career to blood infections and arthritis beforehand. Ranked #14 at welterweight, ‘Argentine Dagger’ enters the octagon as slight favourite with the bookies.
Geoff Neal speaks on his Thanksgiving arrest 16 days before Saturday's fight.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) December 8, 2021
Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Julianna Peña
In mixed-martial arts, we rarely see a fighter so dominant over such an extended period of time. Yet Nunes continues to perform at such a high level that it’s difficult to see where a loss is going to come from. The 33-year-old is currently the promotion’s only dual-belt holder, and the fourth within UFC history (joining Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Henry Cejudo). Widely regarded as the greatest women’s martial artist of all time, it appears ‘The Lioness’ is the pinnacle of her respective sport. She comes into UFC 269’s co-main event off the back of a rapid win against Megan Anderson; two minutes and three seconds were all the Brazilian needed to execute a timely triangle armbar. Nunes will be hoping to claim her eighth title defence, as she continues to improve her already record-breaking total.
Looking to halt her seemingly unrelenting run is TUF 18 winner Julianna Peña. The 32-year-old has been with the promotion for over eight years, winning six out of eight bouts in that period. Fighting out of Sikjitsu, Peña shines in terms of her Jiu-Jitsu skillset, often overwhelming anyone she meets in the octagon. A victory in the American’s last fight against Sara McMann (via a third-round rear naked choke) saw her move up to #3 in the Women’s Bantamweight rankings. Despite an inconsistent run of results, she’ll be hoping that she can be the one to overthrow the so-far immovable champion.
The Lioness left ?? ?????? in her first BW title defense ?
— UFC (@ufc) December 8, 2021
Charles Oliveira (c) vs. Dustin Poirier
A UFC career that has spelt over a decade, with the first title shot coming this year. Oliveira has been the Lightweight division champion since May 16, after beating promotion newcomer Michael Chandler for the vacant belt. Although the Brazilian has a charming personality that has won over many UFC enthusiasts’ hearts, the question still remains as to how he can cope with an elite lightweight fighter.
In fairness to the 32-year-old, he’s on a nine-fight winning streak, one of the current longest records in the promotion. ‘Do Bronx’s’ expertise in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also sees him top of the list for submission wins in UFC history. Furthermore, to show the persistence after multiple knock-backs and losses throughout his career is a character trait that must be heavily admired. It’s a rare occurrence when the current champ comes into a fight as the underdog, but Oliveira will be hoping to replicate his previous performance at UFC 269 (first round beating aside). If he can take control of his opponent’s back, it could be over very quickly.
He’ll be coming up against Poirier, who himself is fighting off the back of a series of heated wins versus Irish superstar McGregor. ‘The Diamond’ is #5 in the pound-for-pound rankings, and is renowned for being one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC’s roster. The Louisianan’s CV contains victories against some of the Lightweight division’s toughest talents in recent times, including Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Dan Hooker and Anthony Pettis. Poirier likes to operate at a long-range striking distance, a characteristic that should be suited to work when paired up with an aggressive wrestler.
If the 32-year-old can land a selection of opportune boxing combinations, viewers could see his counterpart’s chin begin to crumble. It will certainly be Oliveira’s toughest test in recent times.
We hope you enjoyed the article ‘UFC 269 Preview’. Do you think fans will get to see two new champions, or will the belts be retained? Let us know!
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