Poirier vs Oliveira at UFC 269 will be the final must-see fight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship 2021 calendar. As the two best lightweight fighters in mixed martial arts, go toe-to-toe for division gold.
Poirier vs Oliveira: What you need to know
- Time: UFC 269 kicks of with the prelims at 6:15 pm ET on ESPN and streaming service ESPN+
- Cost: The main card pay-per-view, which costs US $69.99, begins at 10 pm ET exclusively on ESPN+
- Odds: The current odds have Poirier as a -145 favorite to Oliveira’s underdog line of +125 (via DraftKings)
- Tickets: You can purchase tickets to the event inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. at the venue box office here
Is a striking battle with Poirier a world of trouble for Do Bronx?
Dustin Poirier (28-6) versus Charles Oliveira (31-8) is a battle of well-rounded fighters at the top of the lightweight division. However, that doesn't mean each man doesn't have advantages over the other. When it comes the striking battle, "The Diamond" has a distinct advantage based on a proven track record as an elite MMA striker. The question is, can the Brazilian champion make up enough ground to not be completely outmatched.
- The Louisiana Savage: Over a 10-year run in the promotion, Poirier has built a reputation as an absolute striking savage. He has the technical skills, punching power and unbreakable will to wreck any fighters shop. Those gifts have only become legendary over the last few years as he succeffully imposed them on former champions like Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, and Conor McGregor (twice). He is a very bad man.
- Oliveira is not to be underestimated: Oliveira will go down as one of the great submission artists in promotion history. However, he is a man not to be taken lightly when it comes to his striking. In recent years he has evolved into a dual threat, and his striking is what set up his eventual title winning submission over Michael Chandler at UFC 262. However, while he does have nine knockouts on his resume, there are levels to striking and Poirier has proven to be at a different level.
Can Oliveira 'Khabib' Poirier?
Charles Oliveira is an extremely dangerous grappler. He has earned every bit of that reputation in a UFC tenure that has seen him earn the record for most submission wins inside the Octagon. Poirier has one defeat in the last four years. That being a submission loss to undefeated former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Another legendary grappling figure in UFC history. If Oliveira can mirror the Russian's blueprint against Poirier, he could put the challenger in serious danger on the mat.
- Poirier's underrated grappling: Although the 32-year-old doesn't use grappling to win fights, he is pretty good at it. Few of his UFC foes have been able to beat him with grappling. Only Nurmagomedov defeated him using his wrestling, and the retired Russian is an outlier in being a fighter that never failed in implementing his grappling game in every fight. Oliveira can submit Poirier, but getting him down and keeping him their is another matter.
- Oliveira the limb collector: Oliveira has 19 career submissions, and 14 of those have come inside the Octagon. What makes the 31-year-old truly special is many of his submissions have been against other talented grapplers like Jim Miller, Clay Guida, Nik Lentz, Hatsu Hioki. Following Nurmagomedov's blue print against Poirier may be difficut because he doesn't have the Dagestani's level of wrestling. However, Dan Hooker -- a man with a similar style -- took Poirier down four times in their 2020 fight, and that could be key in getting the tap at UFC 269.
Is there an X-Factor to break the tie?
With two fighters that are well-rounded enough to make up the gaps in their disadvantages, certain unique characteristics could become major factors in deciding if Oliveira retains his title, or Poirier becoms the new lightweight champion. So what are the x-factors that could prove pivotal on fight night?
- The durability of 'The Diamond': For all the damage Dustin Poirier can inflict on an opponent, he can take it just as much. He has been in several 'fight of the year' candidate wars, and all of them he has won. His heart and durability is undeniable, and it is what has scored him a legion of fans, and kept him at the top of the division for several years. Poirier has championship will that is second to none.
- 'Do Bronx's' unpredictability: What makes Charles Oliveira such a dangerous fighter is his unpredictability. Sure he is technically proficient, but he blends that proficiency with an attacking style that seems independent of any set gameplan. Be it on the feet or on the mat, he can be a very difficult fighter to prepare for. Even when you think you have him in dangerous positions, he can turn the tables on you instantly in any fight setting.
Bottom Line: This bout is a matchup of some fabulously talented and well-rounded fighters. Both have notable areas of strength over the other but the gap is nowhere near a chasm where they don't pose dangers in the areas they don't have advantages. In the end, strategy and in-fight tactics should play a pivotal role in who walks out as the lightweight king.