UFC 269 was another fantastic event, and a perfect final PPV for 2021. The back-and-forth main event was intense and entertaining, and the co-main event brought one of the biggest upset in UFC history.
Charles Oliveira left no doubt on the legitimacy of his title and stamped his claim as the best lightweight in the world right now with an impressive win over Dustin Poirier. He survived two early knockdowns but just kept attacking and pouring it on with volume. His grappling ability was also the difference maker in the end, beautifully taking the back and finishing with a standing rear naked choke.
Amanda Nunes’ dominant reign as bantamweight champ also came to an end at UFC 269, with Julianna Pena shocking the world as she stood toe-to-toe with the bigger and stronger opponent. Like Oliveira, Pena survived a first round knockdown but recovered well. She kept landing over and over, before eventually getting a takedown and quickly submitting Nunes who didn’t offer much resistance once it hit the mat.
Here we analyze the pros and cons of each of the key bouts, with a quick twitter thread that’s short and fitting for people’s social media era attention spans:
CRUZ COMES BACK TO BEAT MUNHOZ— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
CONS: That dubious post-fight speech.
PROS: Cruz showcased his veteran savvy, surviving an early onslaught to win the next two rounds. As 2021 ends, Cruz impressively established himself as a legit contender still. https://t.co/04594SOwtn
O’MALLEY TKOs PAIVA— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
PROS: O’Malley gets his money train going with another clean KO win. It’s smart that he keeps facing lower level guys that keeps increasing his profile, but he deserves a contender next.
CONS: He probably won’t get one though…not that his fanbase will care
KARA-FRANCE KOs GARBRANDT— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
PROS: Kai looked faster than the notoriously fast Garbrandt and got the biggest win of his career
CONS: The cut always worried me. Cody relies on speed, but he gave that up. His durability didn’t get better with that cut too.https://t.co/p0Kihl45oQ
NEAL SPLIT DECISIONS PONZ— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
PROS: Both guys had good moments. Neal found more success as the fight wore on, and it won him a hard fought decision.
CONS: So much complaining to the ref on this one.
PEÑA UPSETS NUNES!— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
PROS: Still not over this. Genuinely one of the biggest upsets in the sport. Peña was a bit tricky on the ground, with just enough sub attempts to keep Nunes at bay and survive an early knockdown. She then was sharper and quicker as they stood toe to toe.
NUNES' GAME PLAN?— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
CONS: Reminiscent of Cyborg losing to her, Nunes just threw technique out of the window. Nunes seemed too reliant on power, & was just willing to take 5 to land 1. It obviously didn't work. She tapped very quick too, even without hooks.https://t.co/eK76b23hme
OLIVEIRA RNCs POIRIER— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
CONS: Ref ignored fingers in glove. Poirier tried to stall but took damage
PROS: Wild fight & pace. They doubted Oliveira’s heart. They doubted the legitimacy of his belt. He put all that to rest. Survived 2 knockdowns, traded bombs, then snatched his neck
#UFC269 OVERALL:— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) December 12, 2021
CONS: Some ref errors, nothing too big
PROS: HUGE upset, Aloe Vera's coming out party, plus more finishes. This is why you stack cards, put bouts with high stakes & relevance. When fights deliver, there’s a lot more impact, more meaning. https://t.co/S1zV0gSVpH
And that’s about it. For more social media musings, follow me on twitter over at @antontabuena, and of course you should do that for Bloody Elbow’s official twitter account as well.