Charles Oliveira will be tasked for the first time in his UFC career with defending a title.
Back on May 15, he defeated Michael Chandler by TKO (punches) in the second round to secure the UFC lightweight championship belt, improving his record to 31-8, with a no contest. On Saturday, he’s lined up to face the biggest challenge of his career: Dustin Poirier.
Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) is coming off back-to-back wins against Conor McGregor, the latter of which came by a doctor stoppage when McGregor broke his tibia in the first round. He held the interim lightweight championship after beating Max Holloway on April 13, 2019, but lost in the UFC lightweight championship fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov a few months later.
Both fighters rank among the best pound-for-pound fighters in UFC, and they figure to deliver one of the most entertaining fights of the year.
Sporting News is breaking down the fight and providing some insight into the betting of the matchup.
All odds courtesy of FanDuel
UFC 269 odds for Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier
Poirier enters the fight as a -170 favorite, meaning bettors would have to wager $170 to make $100. Should someone place a $100 bet on Oliveira, they would return a $138 profit should he win.
Oliveira vs. Poirier prediction
Oliveira and Poirier are setting up for one of the most highly anticipated title fights of the year, with Oliveira coming in as UFC’s No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and Poirier checking in at No. 5.
When it comes to the tale of the tape, these fighters are relatively evenly matched. Oliveira stands at 5’10, while Poirier is 5’9. Oliveira has a reach of 74 inches, while Poirier’s reach is 72. The leg reach is 41 for Oliveira and 40.5 for Poirier.
A major difference between the two fighters is the experience each has had in their fighting careers. Despite holding the title belt, Oliveira hasn’t faced the type of challenges that Poirier has faced in his career. Poirier has collected wins in his career against Justin Gaethje, Dan Hooker and McGregor, all of whom are currently ranked within the top 10 of UFC’s lightweight rankings. Against those fighters, he has three TKOs and a unanimous decision win. Poirier has also had the experience of a fight against Nurmagomedov, which unified the lightweight title belts.
Oliveira has wins against Chandler and Tony Ferguson, his two most recent victories, by TKO and unanimous decision as his two fights against current top 10 UFC lightweight fighters. However, Chandler gave him a closer fight than the result would indicate, landing more total and significant strikes, as well as dropping him in the first round, and Ferguson has been struggling in recent fights.
But Oliveira will have a tougher time handling punches from Poirier than from Chandler. Poirier averages 5.62 significant strikes landed per minute, compared to Chandler’s 4.29, and he will try to keep that fight up high in a standing position where he will maintain the edge. He is also a more accurate striker, hitting on 51 percent of his attempts compared to 49 percent from Chandler.
Oliveira has shown that his fighting style tends to be better suited for takedowns submissions on the mat. He’s recorded 19 wins by submission to Poirier’s six, and averages 2.64 takes per 15 minutes to Poirier’s 1.5. But to get his opponent to the ground, he’d likely have to face a barrage of strikes from a seasoned fighter. Oliveira is a solid defender with a 54 percent significant strike defense and only 3.01 significant strikes absorbed per minute, but Poirier should be able to land some heavy hits to him as he attempts to grapple.
Poirier is also skilled at defending against takedowns. He has a 61 percent takedown accuracy for his career, and tends to keep his fights in a standing position, where he is better suited.
Oliveira’s rise to the top of the lightweight class has been impressive, but it ends on Saturday against a more experienced fighter. Oliveira keeps it close, but Poirier wins the belt before the final bell.
Sporting News Prediction: Dustin Poirier via (T)KO (+120)
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