UFC 269 went down last night (Sat., Dec. 11. 2021) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a headlining act that saw Charles Oliveira retain his Lightweight title by submitting Dustin Poirier with a nasty rear-naked choke (see it here). In the co-headlining act, Julianna Pena stunned Amanda Nunes, forcing her to submit to a rear-naked choke to become the women’s Bantamweight champion (highlights).
Winner: Charles Oliveira
Who He Should Fight Next: Justin Gaethje
Dana White had previously pegged Gaethje as the next title challenger, so this one isn’t a surprise. It’s a fresh match up since they have yet to run into one another (at least not inside the Octagon). Oliveira has continued to silence doubters with his dominance and well-rounded attack, though he was dropped multiple times by Poirier before turning to his Brazilian jiu-jitsu roots to get the job done. Gaethje is one of the hardest hitters in the division, so it will be interesting to see how this clash of styles plays out in 2022.
Winner: Julianna Pena
Who She Should Fight Next: Amanda Nunes rematch
With Pena shocking the world with her win over Nunes, it opens up up the 135-pound division. For how long, though, remains to be seen. That’s because UFC President, Dana White, pretty much said that if Nunes wants the instant rematch she will get it. And that’s just what needs to happen. “Lioness” had defended her 135-pound strap five times before coughing it up to Pena, so if anyone is deserving of an immediate rematch it’s her. It’s not like Nunes has a worthy contender waiting at Featherweight for that title fight. Unless, of course, this is still on the table ...
Winner: Geoff Neal
Who He Should Fight Next: Michael Chiesa
Neal snapped his two-fight skid by defeating Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision after 15 minutes of back-and-forth action. Up next for “Handz of Steel,” a fight against Chiesa seems like a good idea. “Maverick” is coming off a tough loss to Vicente Luque, but he is still ranked at No. 9, three spots ahead of Neal. And since Neal is just 1-2 in his last three fights, he can’t expect better than that for now. Of course, Chiesa would have to be 100 percent healed from the bizarre eye injury he suffered last night.
Winner: Kai Kara France
Who He Should Fight Next: Askar Askarov or Alexandre Pantoja
France gave Cody Garbrandt a rude welcome to the Flyweight division, knocking him out in the first round, his second straight win. Afterward, France called for a title fight against the winner of Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 270, but a title shot is not quite in his future. That’s because Alexandre Pantoja and Askar Askarov are ahead of him in the pecking order. That said, whoever doesn’t get the title shot out of those two combatants should get a title eliminator fight against France.
Winner: Sean O’Malley
Who He Should Fight Next: Dominick Cruz
O’Malley calls himself the unranked champ, but come next week he could be finally making his way into the Top 15 following his knockout win over Raulian Paiva. Winner of three straight, “Suga” is 7-1 in his first eight UFC fights and the level of competition is about to get a bit tougher. He initially called for a fight against Cruz for UFC 269, but “The Dominator” was booked to face Pedro Munhoz. After Cruz defeated the Brazilian bomber last night, it’s time to put these two men in the cage together once and for all. If O’Malley can take out the former 135-pound champion, it should silence any remaining naysayers.
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