Dana White and the UFC matchmakers undoubtedly know how to close out a fight calendar year. The promotions final pay-per-view event of 2021 is wholly stacked with MMA stars, including two championship bouts and a rivalry that’s been brewing for over two years.
Join us as we preview one of the most entertaining fight cards of 2021, UFC 269 – taking place on Dec.11 live on ESPN from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 269 Main Event
UFC Lightweight Championship Bout
Charles Oliveira (C) vs. Dustin Poirier
Charles Oliveira (31-8-0) is set to make his first UFC lightweight title defense against, what could be, the toughest matchup of his entire professional MMA career.
Born and raised in Brazil, it’s a no-brainer that Oliveira would begin his martial arts journey by training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – winning his first major title as a white belt, aged just 12-years-old. Fourteen years later, a transition into MMA alongside countless years of professional experience has positioned him as the UFC lightweight champion.
The retirement of the undefeated, undisputed GOAT of lightweight competition, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has opened the division to new opportunities. Oliveira’s 10-fight winning streak placed him as a number one contender for the vacant championship. He successfully delivered a picture-perfect left hook into a ground and pound finish over Michael Chandler.
Former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (28-6-0) couldn’t solidify his title reign when faced with the grappling prowess of Khabib. Still, since his title loss at UFC 242 he’s kept an unblemished record which includes consecutive victories against the former two-division champion, Conor McGregor.
Your official #UFC269 promo has dropped! 🔥
🏆 Charles Oliveira vs Dustin Poirier
🏆 Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Peña
💥 Leon Edwards vs Jorge Masvidal pic.twitter.com/UZJp60lnJX
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) November 8, 2021
Poirier’s rise to superstardom has undoubtedly been assisted with his successive wins over McGregor. Still, there’s no denying that Louisiana’s finest has taken part and delivered in countless MMA contests that will go down in history.
The final UFC championship contest of 2021 delivers excellent intrigue. The defending champion possesses a significant evolution within his striking accolades – not to mention the Brazilians elite level Jiu-Jitsu ability, which has assisted him in earning the most submission wins in UFC history.
On the other hand, Poirier has such a well-diverse skillset that predicting a winner of this meeting becomes extremely difficult; gambling forums will exchange arguments as to who the successor will be. Either way, we should prepare for a highly entertaining bout that’s guaranteed to deliver fireworks.
UFC 269 Co-Main Event
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout
Amanda Nunes (C) vs. Julianna Pena
The women’s GOAT of MMA, Amanda Nunes, is yet another Brazilian champion who’ll defend her crown at UFC 269.
Nunes’ accomplishments speak for themselves. She became the first women’s two-division champion and the first-ever fighter in UFC history to defend two titles simultaneously. She’s highly regarded as the most remarkable women’s mixed martial artist of all time, currently positioned as the #1 ranked women’s pound-for-pound fighter.
Julian Pena will challenge for the women’s bantamweight title, but not without caution. “The Venezuelan Vixen” will be required to deliver her A-game when facing Nunes; anything less will result in complete misery.
As the first-ever woman to win The Ultimate Fighter, Pena undoubtedly possesses the experience and know-how of what it takes to be the best. Unfortunately for her, the challenge lying in wait will present the most elite martial artist in all of women’s MMA.
UFC 269 Main Card Bout
UFC Welterweight Division
Leon Edwards vs. ???
Welterweight contenders Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal were expected to throw down and open the main card events for UFC 269; however, Masvidal has been pulled from the contest due to an undisclosed injury.
Riding a 9-fight win streak, with the unquestionable rights to challenge for Kamaru Usman’s welterweight championship, it’s Leon Edwards who must decide whether an alternate opponent is worth his while.
Online speculation will suggest the likes of Khamzat Chimaev, Muhammad Belal, and Vincente Luque. Still, I’m not entirely positive that Edwards should accept any other matchup outside of a championship title fight – and neither does he, “Disappointed but honestly, I knew this fraud didn’t want to fight me anyway. He was just a stop off on the way to the title. The goal remains the same. Much needed family time now, @usman84kg; I will see you soon.” Edwards said on Twitter.
"I would love for him to get a title shot, but you've got to help me!"@Usman84kg has his say on @LeonEdwards_MMA versus Jorge Masvidal and Rocky's title credentials.#UFC268 | Saturday | BT Sport 1 HD pic.twitter.com/iRFUXgdPAF
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) November 4, 2021
UFC 269 Main Card: The Remainder
Elsewhere on the card, you’ll find rising star “Suga” Sean O’Malley returning after a Fight of the Night winning performance over Kris Moutinho.
Outside of the cage, O’Malley has worked towards raising his profile, particularly on social media. Hopefully, these distractions won’t take away from his incredible evolution inside the octagon; a flashy striking style with precise accuracy has delivered a highlight reel UFC career thus far.
In saying that, O’Malley won’t be faced with an inexperienced UFC debutant this time around; Raulian Paiva will be headhunting to spoil the O’Malley hype train.
Before the co-main and main event of the evening, bantamweight challengers Kai Kara-France and Cody Garbrandt will provide a striking masterclass you won’t want to miss.
The boxing fundamentals and sleek footwork of former bantamweight champ, Garbrandt, will be put to the test versus the kickboxing expertise in Kara-France – that’s certain to deliver the spectacle UFC fans live for.
All-in-all, UFC 269 is 100% guaranteed to close out 2021 in sheer martial arts style.