The UFC lightweight title is on the line on Saturday in the main event of UFC 269. In that contest, Charles Oliveira puts his 155-pound crown on the line against Dustin Poirier.
Oliveira won the title — and his ninth fight in a row — in May with a second-round TKO of Michael Chandler. The title was vacant at the time because of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement. Poirier, who is the No. 1 ranked fighter in the official UFC lightweight rankings, is riding a three-fight winning streak. The challenger is coming off back-to-back TKO wins over former two-division UFC champ Conor McGregor. Poirier’s only loss in his past 10 fights was a submission setback to Nurmagomedov in September 2019. That fight was a title unification contest. Poirier was the interim champion at the time. He won that belt with an April 2019 decision win over Max Holloway.
This is an interesting matchup in a couple of ways. First, it’s the kind of fight where both fighters are considered “good guys.” With that, a fair portion of the MMA fanbase is torn on this fight because they don’t want to see either of these men lose.
Outside of the emotional investment fans have in the champ and challenger, what makes this contest incredibly intriguing is the stylistic matchup. The general feeling is if the fight is a striking battle, the result will lean in Poirier’s direction. Should the bout become a grappling affair, the advantage moves to the Oliveira side of the equation.
Looking at the stats, Poirier is the more active striker. Poirier’s lightweight strikes landed per minute is third best in the history of the UFC’s 155-pound division at 6.47. As for striking finishes, Poirier has eight KO/TKO wins in the UFC’s lightweight division, which makes him the all-time leader in that category.
As for submissions, the champ has eight UFC lightweight submission wins, which puts him one behind the all-time UFC lightweight leader, Jim Miller. Oliveira’s 19 UFC lightweight submission attempts rank him seventh all-time at 155 pounds in the UFC and his submission average of 3.04 per 15 minutes is tops among active UFC lightweights.
On paper, it seems as if the idea that the fighter who controls where this fight takes place will have the advantage is true, but again, that’s only on paper.
UFC 269 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on ESPN+.
Before UFC 269 takes place, take a look at how the two fighters matchup in UFC career stats in key categories.
UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier career UFC stats
|Sig. Strikes Landed Per Min.||3.26||5.62|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.01||4.19|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||2.64||1.5|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||2.7||1.2|