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UFC 269 preview: Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier


UFC 269 preview: Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier

The UFC Lightweight Championship is on the line as Charles Oliveira is set to defend his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. Can Oliveira keep the belt on his first attempt or will Poirier follow back-to-back victories against Conor McGregor by becoming the new champion? Read on to inform your Oliveira vs. Poirier predictions.

Event: UFC 269

Date: December 11, 2021

Venue: T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, US)

Oliveira vs. Poirier: Tale of the tape

Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira

Fighter

Dustin 'The Diamond' Poirier

32

Age

33

178 cm

Height

175 cm

70 kg

Weight

70 kg

190 cm

Reach

183 cm

19-8-0 (1 NC)

UFC record

20-5-0 (1 NC)

31-8-0 (1 NC)

Overall MMA record

28-6-0 (1 NC)

52%

Striking accuracy

50%

Champion

UFC ranking

#1

This is one of two title bouts set to take place at UFC 269, with Amanda Nunes defending the Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Julianna Pena in the other.

Oliveira claimed the then-vacant Lightweight title at UFC 262 in May, defeating Michael Chandler with a second-round punch-led TKO victory. That win was the latest entry in a run of nine successive victories that have also impressively witnessed Oliveira claim seven Performance of the Night awards. Indeed, he is undefeated since his loss to Paul Felder at UFC 218 in December 2017 and now holds the records for both the most finishes (17) and submissions (14) in UFC history.

This will be Poirier’s second attempt to become the outright UFC Lightweight champion, having been defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov via a third-round submission on his first at UFC 242 in September 2019. Since then, he has defeated Dan Hooker before overcoming Conor McGregor in back-to-back clashes, earning a first-round TKO victory in the latter at UFC 264 in July.

Ahead of the fight, Oliveira has been in confident form, declaring: “No one has such a gigantic winning streak like me, nine in a row with only one decision. You all saw it and you can’t debate it. Many people say I have to beat Dustin to prove I’m the champion, but I am the champion. I won the belt earlier this year and I’ll defend my belt now.”

Meanwhile, Poirier is outlining his motivation for the fight, explaining: “I feel like I have another opportunity here where the stars are aligning and I’ve put myself in the position to really go out there and say I did it. Twenty-five minutes is too long to fight against me without getting hit or being put in a bad position.”

Analysing the Oliveira vs. Poirier odds

Pinnacle’s odds list Poirier as the favourite for this bout at 1.609*, equating to an approximate 60% chance of victory. Oliveira has been priced as the underdog at 2.410*, translating to a 40% likelihood of winning on the night. The Over/Under for rounds has been set at 1.5, with 1.606* for over and 2.390* for under.

Oliveira has been priced somewhat longer than the average closing odds for his last five bouts of 1.838. Of these, he was the favourite on all but one occasion, emerging victorious from all five fights. Irrespective of whether or not he is the favourite, his odds have more commonly demonstrated a tendency to narrowly lengthen between open and close, suggesting that those confident he will win may benefit from holding off on any bets until fight night.

Poirier’s odds of 1.609* offer him a better chance of victory than four of Oliveira’s last five opponents, the exception being Tony Ferguson (who closed at 1.580). It also means that he has been priced considerably shorter than his rolling five-bout closing odds of 2.770.

Poirier’s last five fights included two wins from two when he was the favourite and two victories and a defeat in the three instances he was the underdog. His odds have shortened between open and close on the last three occasions that he was the favourite by an average margin of 0.22, suggesting that if you feel he will comply with expectations, you may access better value by placing your bets sooner rather than later.

Oliveira vs. Poirier: Fighting styles analysed

Oliveira is a deservedly renowned jiu-jitsu expert and his stats to date justify the label. His UFC record-breaking exploits aside, just over half (19) of his 31 MMA victories came via submission and he comfortably bests Poirier for both takedowns (2.64 to 1.50) and submissions (2.72 to 1.23) per 15 minutes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 32-year-old’s preference is to wrestle his opponent to the floor as early as possible, as evidenced by the fact that just two of his last 10 wins progressed beyond the second round. He launches 43% of his attacks at his opponents’ body or legs, often in a direct attempt to throw them off balance or weaken their ability to defend takedowns.

However, he can also rely on powerful punching abilities and has racked up nine knockout wins in his MMA career, including three in his last five fights. Oliveira lands just 3.26 significant strikes per minute to Poirier’s 5.62 while narrowly edging his opponent for striking accuracy (52% to 50%), indicating that he favours a quality over quantity approach on this front.

Oliveira’s current winning streak was preceded by a more disappointing stretch of results during which he endured four defeats in six bouts. Of these, two were by submission and the other pair were TKOs, indicating that using Oliveira’s tactics against him (whether by beating him in taking the fight to the ground or outpunching him) can be a productive approach.

Poirier can call upon a noticeably more adaptable skill-set, and he is comfortable with deploying submission-led tactics or crafting out victories over the distance if the situation requires. Of his 28 MMA victories, 14 featured knockouts and the other half were evenly spread between submission and decision wins.

Poirier’s return of 5.62 significant strikes per minute while aiming 79% of his attacks at his opponent’s head indicates a ferocious and unrelenting approach, and his stamina is among the best of those who fight in the Lightweight division. However, the fact that he also absorbs 4.19 significant strikes per minute (compared to 3.01 for Oliveira) coupled with a defence rate of 54% suggests that opponents are granted opportunities to cause him damage, which may particularly suit Oliveira’s pragmatic credentials.

The 32-year-old can boast a takedown defence rate of 61% and has only lost two bouts in his MMA career via submission, meaning he should provide a challenging test for Oliveira’s wrestling ability. Instead, Poirier’s biggest worry on the night could be his inferior reach (183 cm compared to Oliveira’s 190 cm), which will likely require him to be wary of falling into his opponent’s clasp if he wishes to deploy the calf kicks he utilised to great effect in both of his recent fights against McGregor.

Oliveira vs. Poirier: Where is the value?

While he has recently been in undoubtedly positive form, the fact that Poirier is the favourite for this fight is arguably something of a surprise. Oliveira has been near flawless during his winning streak and has more than one feasible route to victory at his disposal for this bout.

Indeed, while his attacking capabilities cannot be ignored, Poirier will likely be required to produce a refined defensive display to avoid falling victim to both Oliveira’s wrestling talents and powerful fists. Poirier may thus feel that going on the offensive is the best method to deny Oliveira chances to take control of the bout, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if his strategy involves attempting to earn an early knockout.

With this in mind, the bout to last under 1.5 rounds seems the obvious method to add value to your predictions if you are confident of a Poirier victory. While Oliveira’s own tendency to enjoy quick wins is well-documented, he should have no direct reason to rush proceedings on the night and therefore could be worth looking at with over 1.5 rounds.

Looking forward to UFC 269? Get the latest UFC odds for every bout with Pinnacle.

*Odds subject to change

 

 


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