Last night (Sat., Dec 11, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hosted a night of combat in T-Mobile Arena from Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 269. The final pay-per-view (PPV) of 2021 provided a pair of title fights, most notably the highly intriguing match up between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier. Really though, there was great action throughout the night, making it a memorable event.
Let’s take another look at the best performances and techniques:
Do Bronx Retains
Charles Oliveira is an absolute animal. If you still think that man is a quitter, you’re a f—king idiot.
Oliveira marched straight to Poirier, stepped right into the pocket with the division’s best boxer, and THREW DOWN! Truthfully, he wasn’t winning the boxing exchanges, either, though it didn’t deter him. Poirier landed the bigger punches that stunned Oliveira, and his form was more crisp.
Fortunately for the Brazilian, it was not a boxing match. Right from the first bell, Oliveira was mixing up with varied offense, folding over the hand-fight into elbows. Whenever the two crashed together, Oliveira dug knees to the mid-section, which complimented his painful front teep stabs to the same target.
It was violent work, and it set up Oliveira’s takedown attempts well. Did he illegally grab the glove in round two? Probably. However, it still ultimately falls on Poirier for failing to defend himself once on bottom or in the separate third round. No glove grab forced Poirier to to lay still and take hard elbows for three straight minutes or give up his back.
It’s unfortunate that it happened vs. Poirier, one of the sport’s good guys. But, MMA is filled with ugly, cheap moves, and if the referee doesn’t see it, it’s legal.
UPSET OF THE YEAR
I did my best to make sense of Amanda Nunes’ shocking loss to Julianna Pena in a full article right HERE!
Kai Kara-France took about two minutes to find his range.
Cody Garbrandt was moving well, jabbing and firing low kicks at distance. For the most part, Kara-France was letting him work, occasionally shooting out a left kick of his own. Then, Kara-France closed distance behind a double jab and dropped a perfect overhand straight to the jawline.
“No Love” went down, and though he regained his feet quick enough, he never recovered. Without his legs under him, Garbrandt couldn’t offer all that much resistance, and Kara-France was able to patiently line up further right hands and force the stoppage.
Expect a title eliminator next for the Kiwi.
The Suga Show Rages On
Raulian Paiva was clearly well-prepared for the challenges O’Malley presents. The talented Brazilian was feinting his way forward and moving his head well, trying to avoid O’Malley’s long straights. Whenever possible, Paiva was chopping at the lead leg and trying to answer with combinations of his own.
It was all smart work, but O’Malley’s length and speed made it inconsequential. “Suga” exploded into an overhand that badly hurt Paiva, and O’Malley followed up with the poise of an absolute veteran. Paiva tried to wrestle and fire back to gain himself a chance to recover, but O’Malley pinned him to the cage with a rapid-fire flurry of brutal and well-placed punches.
Ignore the antics: O’Malley is a hugely talented Bantamweight.
Josh Emmett Is Back!
After 18 months away due to a catastrophic knee injury, Emmett returned vs. the ultra tough Dan Ige. He managed to drop the Hawaiian with nearly the first punch he threw, but when Ige recovered, the two went tit-for-tat in a competitive 15-minute scrap. Ultimately, Emmett’s hand was raised.
What’s important is what’s next. Emmett is 36 years old and riding an impressive four-fight win streak. The knockout artist deserves a Top Five opponent or some other similarly high-profile match next — the time is now!
Don’t look now, but Tai Tuivasa is good again!
“Bam Bam” completed his tenth trip to the Octagon last night, and it’s already been a rather wild roller coaster ride. The Aussie started hot with three straight wins before a trio of losses revealed holes in his game and sent him spiraling out of the rankings. Since then, he’s rebounded to win three fights via knockout.
None of those victories came vs. top-tier competition, however. Sakai was a step back up, a solid puncher and grappler both. Against a dangerous and experienced contender, Tuivasa looked quite composed and dangerous. He did great work from all distances, finding some huge elbows and punches even when Sakai was doing effective damage of his own from the clinch.
Tuivasa was solidly in control heading into the second, but a short left hook counter still dramatically changed the fight. Sakai was put on the retreat, and Tuivasa chased him in style, putting together a big combination to brutally sleep the Brazilian.
“Bam Bam” is just 28 years old.
The Power Of Bruno Silva
Shoutout to Jordan Wright! The betting odds and analysts largely predicted that Bruno Silva would knock him out, but damn, “The Beverly Hills Ninja” still went out there with the confidence that he was going to crush the Brazilian.
It didn’t exactly play out that way. Wright started strong, landing some big shots and following up in the double-collar tie. He really fought like he believed he was going to score the early knockout! Unfortunately for him, Silva is the more accomplished finisher of the two, and he proved his power by stunning Wright on the break off the clinch.
As Wright chicken-danced, Silva followed up with more heaving swings, sending Wright to the canvas. As Wright tried to scramble and recover, Silva secured his third knockout via ground strikes in six months, definitively proving that you do not want Silva dropping hammers from top position.
Is Muniz A Middleweight Contender?
Andre Muniz improved to 4-0 inside the Octagon last night.
Eryk Anders seemed to be a difficult style match up for the Brazilian. “Ya Boi” is not an amazing technician, but at Middleweight, he’s a physical specimen with a habit of pummeling jiu-jitsu guys. Muniz avoided such a fight, timing an early takedown perfectly and then remaining in excellent position until the finish.
Muniz was both methodical and opportunistic from top position. He advanced position slowly, but once he fully took Anders’ back, he pretty willingly fell off the back to fully commit to the armbar. It worked perfectly, and Anders was forced to submit moments later.
It might be time to give the submission ace a ranked opponent.
- Tony Kelley defeats Randy Costa via second-round knockout: WHAT A PERFORMANCE! Kelley was an underdog vs. the younger striker, but he quickly flipped that notion on its head. Costa has issues managing his gas tank — he tends to start extremely fast then slow over time — and Kelley forced that flaw out of him. Immediately, Kelley was attacking, throwing up tons of volume and forcing Costa to respond. As a result, Costa never got off to his hot start at all; he was rendered defensive. Once Kelley gained that small advantage, he ran away with it, simply beating his opponent up to the finish.
- Gillian Robertson defeats Priscila Cachoeira via first-round rear naked choke: Cachoeira entered this fight on an unlikely two-fight win streak, having won both fights via knockout. Robertson, however, wanted no part of the standup, and it didn’t take her long to prove herself the far superior grappler. As Cachoeira tried to stand, she gave up her back and the first-round submission — not a great look after missing weight.
For complete UFC 269: “Oliveira vs. Poirier” results and play-by-play, click HERE!