UFC 269 ‘Oliveira vs. Poirier’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring
- Charles Oliveira (155) vs. Dustin Poirier (154.5)
- Amanda Nunes (134.5) vs. Julianna Pena (135)
- Geoff Neal (170.5) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (169.5)
- Cody Garbrandt (126) vs. Kai Kara France (125)
- Sean O'Malley (135.5) vs. Raulian Paiva (135.5)
- Josh Emmett (145.5) vs. Dan Ige (146)
- Dominick Cruz (135) vs. Pedro Munhoz (135.5)
- Augusto Sakai (263.5) vs. Tai Tuivasa (264)
- Bruno Silva (186) vs. Jordan Wright (186)
- Eryk Anders (185.5) vs. Andre Muniz (185.5)
- Erin Blanchfield (125.5) vs. Miranda Maverick (125)
- Ryan Hall (145.5) vs. Darrick Minner (146)
- Randy Costa (134.5) vs. Tony Kelley (136)
- Priscila Cachoeira (129: Missed Weight) vs. Gillian Robertson (125)
Sherdog's live UFC 269 “Oliveira vs. Poirier” coverage will begin Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
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Priscila Cachoeira (129: Missed Weight) vs. Gillian Robertson (125)
Round 1The final UFC pay-per-view of the year is upon us, with fun fights and interesting style clashes from start to finish. We begin this 14-bout march towards the titles in an unplanned catchweight, as Robertson (9-6, 6-4 UFC) hit the scales at 125 pounds only to find her opponent Cachoeira (10-3, 2-3 UFC) coming in three pound above the flyweight limit. Robertson receives 30% of Cachoeira’s purse, and the fight obviously has continued as the two women are standing before referee Chris Tognoni now. The Brazilian offers a glove touch as an apology, and Robertson accepts it to seal the cage and start the festivities. The two women stand before one another right in the center of the cage, and Robertson wastes little time to try to get the fight down after flirting out with a low kick. The Brazilian pushes it away, and she stings her opponent with a left hand only to find herself fighting off a body lock takedown effort. Cachoeira grabs the cage while attempting to stay upright as she turns the Canadian around, and she is warned for it and the two separate while Robertson scores a solid left hand on the break. Cachoeira gets off a couple punches that start the blood flowing from Robertson’s nose, and Robertson ducks very low and crawls towards her opponent to take her down. Cachoeira sees this coming and stands back and smacks her a couple times before Robertson stands back up. Cachoeira scores a body kick and a left hand, and she tries to time an uppercut but just misses when Robertson closes the distance. Robertson ducks a punch, and she practically tackles Cachoeira over to get the takedown she so desperately sought. Robertson steps over into half guard, and Tognoni warns someone about glove grabbing, forcing a little confusion and almost allowing Cachoeira to stand back up. Robertson gloms back down on Cachoeira to isolate an arm and attempt a kimura, and she steps over to secure it and wrench the arm. When this fails, Cachoeira tries to scramble, only to end up surrendering mount to the Canadian. With a minute to go, Robertson is slashing down with elbows and working her foe over with powerful ground-and-pound, in a very high riding mount where she sits on Cachoeira’s sternum. Robertson looks to set up an armbar, but her approach is too telegraphed and she falls a little too high over and off the arm. As Cachoeira tries to get back up, she returns to her knees, but Robertson masterfully threatens with an unorthodox choke to push Cachoeira back down to the ground and take her back. Robertson, with no hooks in, wraps up a rear-naked choke. To defend herself, Cachoeira blatantly gouges Robertson’s eyes a few times until Tognoni tells her to knock it off. Robertson appears angry about this, but her grip does not release as she slides a single hook in to make things academic. With nowhere else to go, and no more eyes to rip at with her thumb, Cachoeira taps out right before the round ends. Commentator Joe Rogan is incensed about the eye gouges, and he makes sure to bring it up in the post-fight interview – to which Robertson acknowledges they indeed happened.
The Official ResultGillian Robertson def. Priscila Cachoeira R1 4:59 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Randy Costa (134.5) vs. Tony Kelley (136)
Round 1In this next bantamweight banger, Costa (6-2, 2-2 UFC) will put his 100% knockout rate up against a man who has never been finished in Kelley (7-2, 1-1 UFC). When the dust settles, one man will celebrate a UFC record above .500, while the other will tumble down beneath the midline. Referee Mark Smith is in charge to make sure everything goes above board, and there is a respectful glove touch to start things off. Kelley is the immediate aggressor, chasing Costa around the cage and loading up a right hand while threatening with body kicks. Costa keeps a wide stance as he retreats, and he stays out of the way from looping punches. Kelley begins to target Costa’s lead leg as Costa resets, with kicks and stomps to the knee. Costa stays on his bike, and he times a clean uppercut as Kelley advances. Kelley keeps pushing his foot on the accelerator, attacking until they tie up and get squeezed against the fence. Costa slows him down with several short strikes, working the body with uppercuts and knees while Kelley tries to fight his way out and give back high knees on the chin. They both score single solid knees before separating, and Kelley tries to load up and throw bombs but Costa sticks his hand in his foe’s face until the aggression slows. They tie up again, and Costa grabs hold of a knee that Kelley tries to crack him with so he can take him down. He sets the leg down when there is no takedown to come, and they proceed to jockey for position against the wall. Kelley looks for an inside trip when they are close in range, but Costa sees it coming from a mile away and breaks free. They both trade hands at boxing range, and Kelley gives chase when Costa retreats only to get off a solid left hand. Costa latches on to him again to clinch, and the expectedly torrid pace from these two has slowed thanks to several prolonged clinch exchanges. Costa looks surprised at this approach, wide-eyed and confused while Kelley works him up close. Kelley aims to set up a Thai clinch, and a few strikes as Costa backs off force Costa to take a funny step back. Kelley lumbers forward to clinch him up again, and the round ends in this position.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Round 2The round begins with Kelley again coming out aggressively, with kicks to all targets high and low as Costa is once more taken aback by the sudden stream of strikes coming at him. Kelley uses this forward momentum to wrap him up against the chain-link fence, and they turn the other about as they get off short but meaningful clinch strikes to the midsection. Costa manages to push off to gain some space, and he walks right into a calf kick. Costa scores a pair of clubbing punches, and Kelley fires back with more chipping leg kicks while Costa puts his weight in his lead leg. Costa whiffs with a looping uppercut, and he backs up and manages to clip Kelley coming in with a right hand. “The Zohan” fires off a left hand, and his trajectory leads him to collide chest-to-chest with Kelley, which leads to a clinch. Costa goes up high with a kick that shakes Kelley up, and when he tries to chain a few punches into a combination, Kelley grabs hold of him and pulls him back into the clinch. Kelley sets up a close-range Thai plum, but it is Costa who lands a few shots. Kelley keeps this posture, and he lays into Costa with knees until Costa’s legs betray him. The knees to the body did some serious damage, as Costa crumbles and Kelley follows him down to the mat to do some damage. Costa turns to his side, and Kelley tees off on him with punches and elbows. As “The Zohan” does not do anything but eat unanswered shots, Kelley continues to assault him with vicious elbows until Smith has no choice but to step in while blood pours from Costa’s battered face. This is a statement win for “Primetime,” taking Costa into uncharted territory late into the second round to finish him off with ground strikes.
The Official ResultTony Kelley def. Randy Costa R2 4:15 via TKO (Elbows)
Ryan Hall (145.5) vs. Darrick Minner (146)
Round 1It’s a grappler’s delight in this featherweight battle, when “The Wizard” Hall (8-2, 4-1 UFC) looks to ply his trade against all-offense submission artist Minner (26-12, 2-2 UFC). Referee Jason Herzog is bracing himself for the madness that may come, although he is relieved to see there is no animosity between the two. Before the fight begins, it turns out that the officials did not close and lock the door – this is a relief, as we would not want someone falling out. After the awkward delay, they touch gloves, and Minner is the initial aggressor as he comes out swinging with loose punches nowhere near the target. Hall slaps out a body kick, and Minner is throwing his hands up in the air trying to take Hall out of his game – this is not effective, as Hall stays composed. Hall gets off another kick to the midsection, and Minner catches the kick and chops at Hall’s rear leg. Minner throws as hard as he can at his opponent, and Hall ducks and rolls through to pursue a heel hook. Minner scrambles his way out, but Hall still has his hands on him. When they stand back up, Hall goes after another heel hook, and this one is deeper but still avoided by the Nebraskan. Hall allows him to scramble and take top position so that he can set up a triangle choke, and keeps a posture similar in nature to a Peruvian necktie. Minner pushes off with all his might to separate, and Hall stands back up. Minner nails Hall with big uppercut and a right hand, and Hall plays possum and leans on the wall so he can trap Minner in some submission when he slumps over to the mat. Hall avoids the brunt of the additional damage, and he threatens with a sub off his back so that Minner cannot take advantage of the position. Hall rolls all the way around to attack a heel hook, and Minner is slick as he does not let Hall set it up. Hall uses this posture to climb on top to a degree, in half guard smacking Minner in the face with half-hearted punches. He stays in this place while trying to take mount, but he cannot get it before the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hall
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Hall
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Hall
Round 2Both featherweights come out to clap hands, and Hall strides forward but backpedals when Minner starts throwing hands. He may have stung Hall with a right hand, but Hall’s loosey-goosey posture allows him to roll with the most dangerous shots and defend with a triangle choke setup. Minner tries to come on top to do damage, but as he does, he gets a little reckless and falls into an armbar setup. Minner, with all his might, lifts Hall up and slams him down to break up the posture. This succeeds, but Minner remains in Hall’s guard where he might be susceptible for additional maneuvers and setups. Minner keeps Hall busy with minor ground-and-pound, but Hall is constantly moving to set something up. Minner falls into a triangle choke with the leg underneath his shoulder, and Hall elects to smash him in the face with elbows. Hall turns the triangle to close it up, and pulls on Minner’s head to keep him tightly pressed on him all while isolating an arm. Hall looks to simultaneously get an arm beneath his own armpit, and he keeps working elbows in the spot. Minner works his way out of the precarious position and escapes the possible omoplata setup, although Hall still keeps the shoulder lock hooked on him. Hall punches him from behind, and gets warned for striking the spine. Minner rolls over to his knees, and Hall follows him while holding the shoulder. Hall punches his opponent repeatedly until the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hall
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Hall
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Hall
Round 3They high five to start off the last round, and Hall kicks his man in the chest with the ball of his foot. Hall goes after a spinning wheel kick, and it claps off the guard. Hall feigns as if he took damage from an overhand right so that he can roll to his knees and down to the ground, where he immediately sets up a triangle choke. Minner is crafty enough to free his neck, and when he sits up, Hall goes after a kneebar into a heel hook. Hall gets the heel beneath his arm, and Minner pushes off Hall’s chest to keep him safe. Minner, now flat on his back, pursues his own heel hook, but Hall practically ignores it and stacks him up. Calmly sliding down into side control, Hall passes to mount shortly thereafter like a hot knife through butter. Hall keeps an arm beneath Minner’s neck to keep heavy shoulder pressure, and Minner thumps on Hall’s side to keep him slightly occupied. Hall flattens his man out as he begins to set up an arm-triangle choke, and like a snake, he methodically looks to isolate his foe’s arm before hopping to the side to lock it up. Minner bucks and stays active enough to not succumb to this choke, until Hall traps Minner’s arm between his head and his shoulder to secure it. Hall does not sell out for this choke, opting instead to control Minner and ride out the rest of the fight. When the 10-second clapper sounds, Hall sits up and lays into Minner with ground-and-pound. One last arm-triangle attempt from "The Wizard" does not succeed when he runs out of time, but he concludes the fight on top in dominant position.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hall (30-27 Hall)
Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Hall (30-27 Hall)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Hall (30-27 Hall)
The Official ResultRyan Hall def. Darrick Minner via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)
Erin Blanchfield (125.5) vs. Miranda Maverick (125)
Round 1The promotion is not sparing these two highly touted flyweight prospects from tough competition early on in their UFC tenures, matching Maverick (9-3, 2-1 UFC) and Blanchfield (7-1, 1-0 UFC) against one another in a fight that could very well happen years later down the line when the two progress. Referee Chris Tognoni draws the assignment for this well-matched fight – even though Blanchfield was initially booked against Maycee Barber – and Maverick offers a glove touch but “Cold Blooded” Blanchfield turns her down. Instead, they begin to trade with single strikes out of the gate, with Maverick sitting down on kicks while Blanchfield comes at her with reaching punches. Maverick gets off a kick to the body, and she blocks an overhand right that is about to smash her in the face. They clash together, and Blanchfield manages to wrestle Maverick down to the ground and put her on her seat. Blanchfield latches on to try to secure Maverick’s back, but Maverick powerfully stands back. “Cold Blooded” trips her right back down on her face, and she sneaks a hook in until Maverick twists to free it. When Maverick powers her way back up, Blanchfield hits a trip and puts Maverick down to the ground once more. Maverick is now on her back, and she considers closing her guard to stifle Blanchfield’s offense. Blanchfield works her way over to half guard, but as soon as she does, Maverick scrambles to get back upright. Blanchfield pins her to the wall in the clinch, where she sneaks her leg between Maverick’s so as to drag her down to the canvas. Blanchfield is a blanket of grappling, not getting off much in the way of strikes from on top but taking Maverick out of the fight by grounding her. When the 10-second clapper sounds, Maverick explodes back up, and the round ends in the clinch.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield
Round 2Maverick comes out swinging, with punches and kicks to decent effect. As soon as she starts loading up on strikes, however, Blanchfield grabs hold of her and throws her to the floor. When Maverick sits up and looks to stand using the wall as her ally, Blanchfield sets up a brabo choke. Maverick manages to get upright and throw one single strike before Blanchfield darts in for a double-leg takedown. “Cold Blooded” executes a cold-blooded takedown by lifting Maverick up and slamming her down in the open mat, where she cannot use the wall to stand up. Maverick tries to buck off, and in the process, Blanchfield times her motion perfectly to hop over to set up a crucifix position. Blanchfield begins to slam her elbow into Maverick’s face, drawing a reaction from Tognoni where he asks Maverick to fight back, and she does just enough to snake her arm partially out of danger. Blanchfield re-adjusts herself, and she goes after a two-on-one wrist lock to set up a kimura or a keylock, but bails on it so that she can lock a crucifix back down again. Blanchfield keeps circling through to north-south position, and Maverick pulls for an inverted triangle choke to slow her down. Blanchfield ignores this so that she can pull for a kimura, and she hooks the arms together in a fashion so she can torque Maverick’s arm to the opposite side of her body. Maverick stays strong and does not succumb to this maneuver while Blanchfield works on it, allowing Blanchfield to transition straight to armbar. Maverick threatens with an unorthodox triangle and these two women are locked up in a pretzel formation as Maverick has a leg scissor while Blanchfield isolates the arm. The round ends with neither getting the tap they want.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield
Round 3Maverick begins the last round understanding that she’s losing the fight, as she attempts a big head kick. Blanchfield ducks back out of the way, but Maverick follows her and kicks her lead leg. Maverick gives chase with a flurry of punches, and Blanchfield flails back at her. Maverick meets her with a left hand to the face, and she boots Blanchfield to the body as well. “Fear the” Maverick lets loose with a big head kick, and when Blanchfield closes the distance to engage with some grappling, Maverick goes after a takedown. Blanchfield stuffs it, turns her around, catches a knee and takes Maverick down. Blanchfield may yet be approaching a record in the division’s young history for the most takedowns completed after this clinic on the ground. Maverick bucks and twists, and Blanchfield again sees the movement and perfectly times this to circle around and take Maverick’s back. Blanchfield elects to take full mount, only to get dragged back to half guard. Blanchfield hops over to side control, and she immediately pounds on Maverick’s face with short punches. Blanchfield looks to set up a crucifix from the other side, but opts to just work her over with ground strikes while in high side posture. Maverick turns, and Blanchfield glides through to transition and take Maverick’s back while getting both hooks in. Blanchfield flattens Maverick out for a moment before going after a rear-naked choke, and she hunts for it right to the final bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield (30-27 Blanchfield)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield (30-27 Blanchfield)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Blanchfield (30-27 Blanchfield)
The Official ResultErin Blanchfield def. Miranda Maverick via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Eryk Anders (185.5) vs. Andre Muniz (185.5)
Round 1Moving right along to the middleweight weight division, Muniz (21-4, 3-0 UFC) will try to make it three submissions in a row after notching the biggest win of his career by snapping Ronaldo Souza’s arm with an armbar in May. Like Souza, Muniz’ opponent Anders (14-5, 1 NC; 6-5, 1 NC UFC) has never been submitted as a professional, but the Brazilian may very well try. Referee Marc Goddard is keenly aware of what could happen in this matchup and is laser focused as soon as the fighters touch gloves. The first 15 seconds are tense, and then both men start throwing. Neither lands flush, and Muniz sits down on a leg kick that makes Anders spin around. Anders crashes his way in to possibly take him down, and Muniz shucks him off. Muniz decides that he will do this, only he commits to it, and he plants Anders down on the ground with emphasis. Landing in side control, Muniz gets dragged back to half guard momentarily. Anders gets to his knees, and Muniz tries to take his back. The former college football player ignores this so he can walk up the fence, and Muniz stays tightly wrapped up against him with one leg interlinked between Anders’. Muniz aims to take his back as they are both upright, and he wrenches Anders down to the ground from behind while taking Anders’ back. The Brazilian has one hook in, and as he does, Anders turns to his knees. When he does that, Muniz secures the exact same armbar that he hit on Souza, locking it down in the blink of an eye. Anders goes belly-down and tries to muscle his way out of the bad posture, but Muniz is not going anywhere. The elbow hyper-extends as “Sergipano” torques on it, and Anders taps out for the first time in his career. Muniz may yet be a real problem in the middleweight division, defying the “Eminem Curse” as he walked out to “Lose Yourself” and came out getting his hand raised.
The Official ResultAndre Muniz def. Eryk Anders R1 3:13 via Submission (Armbar)
Bruno Silva (186) vs. Jordan Wright (186)
Round 1Violence is the main ingredient for this next dish also at 185 pounds, when “Blindado” Silva (21-6, 2-0 UFC) aims to secure his seventh knockout in a row at the expense of “The Beverly Hills Ninja” Wright (12-1, 1 NC; 2-1 UFC). Fists and feet will surely fly until one falls, and it is not expected that this one will go the distance – it is +400 on that line now. Strapped in is 2021 World MMA Award winner for best referee, Herb Dean, who will undoubtedly have his hands full for as long as it lasts. Silva immediately begins to stalk Wright down, but the American is staying at safe range on the outside with high and low kicks. Silva thumps one to the knee, and Wright fires back with a pair to the body. A head kick from Wright may have rattled Silva, leading Silva to charge in recklessly. The two start slugging it out, cracking each other with little interest in defense, until Wright ties him up and starts kneeing him in the chest. One may have bounced off the cup, and Silva protests but he does not get the stoppage. Silva gets angry, and suddenly in a rage he nails Wright with a short flurry of punches. A few right hands behind the ear, and a brutal left-right combo rattle Wright, who falls back across the cage. Silva darts after him, knowing the finish is close, and he clubs Wright with a few blows to knock “The Beverly Hills Ninja” down to the canvas. Dean gives Wright every bit of leeway to recover and get his wits about him, as Wright rolls around to try to grab hold of Silva’s leg or do something on the ground in desperation. All the while, “Blindado” lords over him and continues to clobber Wright with vicious strikes until Dean has no choice to finally step in, thereby making official Silva’s seventh knockout in a row.
The Official ResultBruno Silva def. Jordan Wright R1 1:28 via TKO (Punches)
Augusto Sakai (263.5) vs. Tai Tuivasa (264)
Round 1Meat is on the menu for this lone rumble on the card above 185 pounds, when Sakai (15-3-1, 4-2 UFC) and Tuivasa (12-3, 6-3 UFC) combine for 528 ready pounds inside the Octagon. Both sport 11 wins by knockout hoping to land another as rare members of the 30-and-under heavyweight club. The third man in the cage is referee Mark Smith, who hopes not to get blonked by an errant blow when these two come out swinging. They do clap hands to get things going, and the fight begins with Tuivasa taking the center of the cage plodding forward to walk Sakai down. Neither throw a strike of note for the first 55 seconds, until Sakai lands a single leg kick to counter a jab from the Aussie. Sakai goes back to circling along the outside, and he pops Tuivasa with another low leg kick. Tuivasa eats another as he continues to walk forward without engaging, until he looses a short combination that leads to him clinch up with his opponent. A stalemate ensues as they cling on one another, and Sakai is warned for smacking Tuivasa in the back of the head with a short shot. Tuivasa gets off a few punches to the midsection, and Sakai takes that personally as he turns him around and they both throw leather. Neither land flush, and Tuivasa returns to his constant forward motion. Tuivasa loads up with a huge uppercut, and he wings punches until Sakai ties him up. The Brazilian defends with his back against the wall with punches on Tuivasa’s ear, and he thinks to set up a high standing guillotine but there is nothing there. Sakai winds up with a knee right to the midsection, and he starts ripping them to the body to decent effect. The Aussie complains one might have gone low, and when Smith does not intervene, Tuivasa takes things into his own hands as he elbows Sakai hard on the chin. Tuivasa lets loose with a short barrage of blows, and Sakai slows him down with a few knees to the belly before the round ends in the clinch.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tuivasa
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Tuivasa
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tuivasa
Round 2The fighters meet in the center of the cage and throw, and it is Tuivasa who lands flush first and in volume. Sakai is hurt after taking a left hook square on the chin, and he falls back to the wall while trying to blink it out. “Bam Bam” does not let him off the hook, blasting him with huge punches as Sakai is barely on his feet. The Aussie lets it rip as he chains punches together, and one lands right on the button to completely disable Sakai. Sakai falls to the ground, consciousness completely stripped away, and his leg bends back in a scary way reminiscent of Mirko Filipovic against Gabriel Gonzaga. The walk-off knockout successful, Tuivasa jumps on top of the cage and signals for someone to throw him a shoe and a can of beer. In what has become his trademark, Tuivasa completely wins the crowd over by pouring the full beer in the shoe and pounding it after a dramatic victory. That’s four in a row for the boisterous Aussie, who could not be happier with his performance.
The Official ResultTai Tuivasa def. Augusto Sakai R2 0:26 via KO (Punches)
Dominick Cruz (135) vs. Pedro Munhoz (135.5)
Round 1In what would be a sure-fire Fight Night headliner on any given night, this captivating bantamweight battle between Munhoz (19-6, 1 NC; 9-6, 1 NC UFC) and Cruz (23-3, 6-2 UFC) is relegated to the preliminary portion of UFC 269. Neither fighter pay their card placement any mind as they would just like to handle their business like professionals. Referee Marc Goddard and color commentator Daniel Cormier are on their best behavior for this fight given Cruz’ recent criticism of referees and his colleague alike. The gloves get touched, and away we go. They both cruise towards one another to engage, but pull back at the very last second. They do this approach once more, and Cruz tries to score a high kick only for it to be blocked. They stay loose, jumping in and out, and Munhoz aims a high kick that just misses. He throws another, Cruz ducks it as it buzzes his hair. Cruz sneaks in a right hand, and he uses his odd footwork and head movement to snipe Munhoz with a left hand. Munoz looks to fire back, only for his kick to clatter off the body. Cruz suddenly changes levels for a takedown, but the Brazilian stuffs it and whiffs on an overhand right across the bow. Cruz pushes his foot on the gas, and he throws a leg kick that gets checked. Munhoz sells out with a right hand, and Cruz rolls through it so that it brushes past his cheek. Cruz throws caution to the wind, and Munhoz intercepts him with a picture-perfect left hand that hurts Cruz badly. Cruz is in a ton of trouble, and Munhoz gives chase and knocks him into the wall and down to the ground. They both end up on the ground, and Munhoz chases him down to try to finish the job and takes Cruz’ back awkwardly. Keeping a high grip on his own leg to tie Cruz down, this position stays in a stalemate until Cruz explodes back to his feet. Munhoz bears down on his man and nails Cruz again, forcing the former champ to blink it out. This time, Cruz does not back down, firing back and getting Munhoz’ attention with a clean left hand. Cruz uses this moment to shake the cobwebs loose, and he catches a kick to toss Munhoz down to the ground. “The Young Punisher” does not stay grounded for long, popping right back up and whiffing on a huge right hook. Cruz escapes, and he circles out to pop Munhoz with a few distance strikes. Cruz clips Munhoz in an exchange right before the bell, but Munhoz is right there to throw hammers back at him until the horn sounds to conclude the wild round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Munhoz
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Munhoz
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Munhoz
Round 2The second frame opens up with a brief exchange from both men, and Cruz thinks better of himself and does not get as reckless as before. This allows him to get in and get out, but the strikes he lands are not as impactful of his own. Munhoz ducks a kick and pierces out a sharp left hand to catch Cruz moving, as he has timed one of Cruz’ escapes. “The Dominator” catches a kick, but he cannot do anything with it to set up a takedown, so he lets it go. Cruz sticks his opponent with a few long, lunging punches, picking at Munhoz and evading the counters. Munhoz tries to swing home run strikes, looking for the knockout, while Cruz appears more content to touch him. Munhoz changes things up with a takedown try, but Cruz staves it off and gets back to range striking while staying loose and light on his feet. Cruz pokes out a few jabs, and he checks a leg kick that comes back at him. Munhoz continues to play the bull to Cruz’ matador, and Cruz has settled down and he lands strikes from afar. Munhoz eats a single clean punch in the midst of a lengthy combination, one that cuts the Brazilian open on the top corner of Munhoz’ head. Cruz stays fleet of foot, only for Munhoz to tag him with a quick left hand at the end of an exchange. The American hops away from a leg kick, ducking a looping punch and marking Munhoz up with a long string of punches. Cruz lets him have it with this particular salvo, and he manages to land the strikes while not absorbing a single counter. Cruz lands a leg kick before laying into Munhoz with several punches, and Munhoz takes a funny step from the kick. Munhoz appears to surprise his opponent with a left hand of his own, but Cruz lands a few more strikes to end the round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cruz
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Cruz
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Cruz
Round 3Munhoz comes out firing, and Cruz is able to escape from most of the harm and tag Munhoz from afar. Cruz darts in for a takedown, and Munhoz stuffs it and lets his hands go. Munhoz kicks the body, and Cruz releases a length barrage of punches that are mostly blocked. Munhoz tries to get in on Cruz, walking through punches just in hopes of connecting with a more powerful blow. Cruz is in and out of range, and in that intermittent place, Munhoz tags him with a solid right hand that Cruz acknowledges. Munhoz tries to give chase, only to walk into a calf kick and swing and miss when Cruz is a few feet away. Cruz gets off a knee, and Munhoz throws tomahawk chop-style hammerfists as Cruz ducks down for a takedown entry. Munhoz pays it no mind as he pushes him off, and when he does, Cruz lands a clean one-two. Both bantamweights continue to trade furiously, and Cruz’ elusiveness remains effective until Munhoz pushes through the pain and tries to land bombs. Cruz lands one, dodges three, and pins a few punches right flush on the chin of the Brazilian. Munhoz checks a kick, stuffs a takedown and comes up short with a left hand over the top. Cruz backs away, and although he absorbs a leg kick, he does give a right hand back on the jaw. Munhoz kicks low a few more times, all while blocking a head kick as the pace is nearly as frenetic as the previous rounds. Cruz catches a high kick and tosses Munhoz down, but Munhoz springs right back up. A few punches from Munhoz open a cut beneath Cruz’ left eye, but he does not register this as he would rather mark Munhoz up with his own strikes. The 10-second clapper leads to a final brawl, and Munhoz tries and fails to light him up on the feet with game-changing blows. Rumors of Cruz’ demise in the bantamweight division appear to be greatly exaggerated.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cruz (29-28 Cruz)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Cruz (29-28 Cruz)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Cruz (29-28 Cruz)
The Official ResultDominick Cruz def. Pedro Munhoz via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Josh Emmett (145.5) vs. Dan Ige (146)
Round 1Multiple matches including this featherweight preliminary headliner have been mentioned as dark horse “Fight of the Night” candidates, and both Emmett (16-2, 7-2 UFC) and Ige (15-4, 7-3 UFC) will do everything in their capacity in the next 15 minutes to validate that claim. Referee Chris Tognoni will need to be fleet of foot for this contest, as both men celebrate fast hands and granite chins, and each plan to test the other’s. They show plenty of respect for one another as they touch gloves to clock in what should be a fun fight. They meet in the middle, and it is Ige who attempts to land first, with a lunging left that comes up well short of the mark. He also misses with a leg kick, and Emmett stays composed while feinting his big right hand to make Ige cautious. Emmett winds up with it, and one single bomb of a right hand sends the Hawaiian crashing down to the canvas. Emmett pounces, laying into him with a few strikes, but Ige is tough. “50K” lifts Emmett up, powering the Californian wrestler up and down to the canvas to land a surprising takedown. Ige does not manage to secure this position for long, as Emmett reverses him and puts him on his back. Emmett lets him get back up so that he can lay into his man with an overhand right, and Ige gains some separation and manages to slow things down a bit to get his wits about him. They chop at one another with low kicks, and Ige steels himself when Emmett bears down with his vaunted overhand right. One pounds into his guard, and Ige ducks another that blows past his head. Emmett turns the punch into an uppercut that catches Ige, but the Hawaiian is not concerned as he sticks out a few jabs to keep Emmett honest. Ige’s jab has started to redden the nose of his opponent, but the power differential is stark as Ige reacts viscerally every time he eats a strike while Emmett is not fazed. Emmett wades forward with two power punches, and Ige shells up and backs away to prevent anything more from landing. Ige tries to preemptively counter with a left hand on the way in, but Emmett ducks and snaps his head back with a sharp left. Emmett bites down on his mouthpiece to end the round hunting for a knockout, only for Ige to stay elusive enough to avoid the strikes at the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Emmett
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Emmett
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Emmett
Round 2The first strike of the round is a big right hand from Emmett that shakes Ige up again, but Ige grits through it and swarms after Emmett with strikes. Emmett chambers his right hand when Ige looks to get his boxing going, and Ige mixes things up with body shots and combinations. Meanwhile, Emmett is almost exclusively relying on his overwhelming power punch. One such blow clubs Ige to the side, and he shoots in on a takedown only to get stuffed. Ige eats a right hand, and he fires right back, with a left hook that shakes Emmett up now! Emmett times his right on the way in, catching Ige cleanly and interrupting a takedown try. Emmett gains some space and appears no worse for wear, but Ige pops him in the nose with a crisp jab. The jabs begin to add up for the Hawaiian, who manages to avoid most of the worst strikes coming at him but he still takes one in the chest. Ige delivers a few kicks right to the body of his opponent, and they trade jabs as Ige’s nose is busted open and bleeding. Emmett meets his foe on the way in for a takedown or a faked takedown, but Ige does not bite. They separate and just miss with big punches, but the jabs that follow land on both sides. Ige slips a powerful blow to land one of his own, and Emmett walks straight into an uppercut. Ige sticks and moves, avoiding the looping strikes and blocking the rest, which allows him to jab up Emmett right to the end of the round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ige
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ige
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ige
Round 3The featherweights meet in the middle and touch gloves, and Emmett is the first to throw in the form of his home run shots. Ige ducks and tags him with an overhand right of his own, but Emmett does not flinch. Emmett follows a few jabs with a right hand, and he rips the body and head with a short but effective combination. Ige keeps his jab outstretched, using it to effectively stifle Emmett’s most dangerous strikes from connecting. Ige swipes out with a left, and when he gets into a slugfest, it is Emmett who capitalizes and blasts Ige with a left hand that staggers the Hawaiian. Ige takes a quick count of his teeth, and he grabs hold of the Californian’s neck to knee him in the face. Emmett pushes off, and he ups his volume with long combinations and less with single bombs. Ige remains loose and comfortable with his jab, and they both tag one another with right hooks. A surprising left hand gets through the guard for Emmett, who follows it up with a right that grazes past Ige’s beard. Emmett begins to utilize his jab, countering Ige’s, and Ige is the one launching unsuccessful power strikes. Both men are bleeding from the nose, and Emmett appears to be the fresher man as he is moving more and slowing Ige down. They meet in the middle, and when Ige fails on a takedown try, Emmett shoves him down and lands a few hammerfists to the side of his head. Emmett lets him up, and he bites on a faked takedown to fall down to the ground. Ige misses a head kick by a matter of a second, as Emmett is able to get his guard up just in the nick of time. Emmett ducks another head kick as he peppers Ige with jabs, until Ige has had enough eating jabs and scores a solid uppercut. They slug it out right to the final bell, and this one could be a very close one.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Emmett (29-28 Emmett)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Emmett (29-28 Emmett)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Emmett (29-28 Emmett)
The Official ResultJosh Emmett def. Dan Ige via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Sean O'Malley (135.5) vs. Raulian Paiva (135.5)
Round 1Kicking off the main card of UFC 269 is an unranked bantamweight pairing between ex-flyweight Paiva (21-3, 3-2 UFC) and the fluorescently haired O’Malley (14-1, 6-1 UFC). The Octagon ranger for this one is referee Jason Herzog, and there is no interest in a glove touch as they would rather introduce themselves to one another with their fists. O’Malley comes out switching his stances back and forth, and Paiva swings and misses at his elusive foe. Paiva kicks low, and he catches a front kick to the body so he can close in and get his hands on the American. O’Malley darts out of the way, and he fakes with a jab only to have his leg kicked. O’Malley stomp-kicks his foe’s knee, and he sticks out a single jab that split the guard. The ball of O’Malley’s foot clatters square into Paiva’s groin, and we draw a pause for a few seconds. Paiva is set to resume before long, and O’Malley backs away and starts lining jabs up. Paiva scores a quick calf kick that makes O’Malley changes stances, and he completes a short combination with an overhand right. O’Malley gathers himself and flicks his jabs out a few more times, keeping his range from a safe distance while Paiva gives chase. A sniper shot of a left hand snaps Paiva’s head back, but it is one-and-done as Paiva keeps walking him down. The Brazilian swipes out with a left hand, and as chants rain down for O’Malley, Paiva chips at his calf. O’Malley gets off a push kick to the midsection, only for Paiva to hack at his lead leg a few more times. “Sugar” strings together a clean combination that surprises Paiva and may have marked his nose up. Paiva recommits to the low calf kick, and he reaches out with the end of a right hook to glance off O’Malley’s jaw. They land strikes at the same time and appear no worse for wear, and O’Malley follows it up with a blistering right hand. Paiva leans back into the wall, and O’Malley tees off on him against the wire as Paiva is barely able to stay on his feet. Paiva never gets a chance to recover, as O’Malley rips the body and then smashes Paiva in the face with sharp, accurate strikes until Paiva falls over. The Brazilian springs back up, but he is still on rubber legs, and O’Malley continues to work him over. A left to the body and a right to the head spell the beginning of the end for Paiva, as O’Malley swarms him with a vigorous crescendo of punches until Paiva's knees give out and Herzog steps in. This is an impressive performance for a kid who has star power for days. In his post-fight interview, O'Malley admits that he was very close to withdrawing from the fight due to a serious rib injury, but he made it to fight night and put on a show.
The Official ResultSean O’Malley def. Raulian Paiva R1 4:42 via TKO (Punches)
Cody Garbrandt (126) vs. Kai Kara France (125)
Round 1Up next, City Kickboxing standout Kara France (22-9, 1 NC; 5-2 UFC) plans to ruin the flyweight debut of ex-bantamweight champ Garbrandt (12-4, 7-4 UFC). The intensity is high between the two, and referee Herb Dean takes note of this from the get-go and is keenly aware as they opt not to touch gloves. Garbrandt throws first, in the form of a sweeping leg kick. Kara France backs off and reaches out to establish his range, but Garbrandt’s length is giving him pause already as Garbrandt chops his lead leg down like a tree. Kara France keeps the center of the cage, but it is Garbrandt that stays moving and circling on the outside. The two are at a range where they cannot reach the other with their fists, and Kara France throws a leg kick and tries to time an overhand right, but the punch misses the mark. Kara France goes after his foe’s leg, and Garbrandt times a counter only to miss by a margin of inches. Volume is low, but the swinging velocity is fairly high from both 125ers. Garbrandt walks through an inside leg kick to time a left hand, and when he does, Kara France slips and nails him with a right hand. The former champ goes down in a heap, and Kara France signals that he has his number and puts his hands up. Kara France cautiously comes in to find home with his punches, without walking into a blazing counter, and he sets Garbrandt down again. The two have an odd grappling exchange, and Garbrandt drags his foe down and tries to take his back. When they get up, Garbrandt’s legs are still not totally under him, and absorbs a flush right hand that sends him careening into the wall. The Kiwi rings his bell with another flurry, and Garbrandt waves him on to keep throwing, so Kara France obliges him. A furious right hand, a follow-up left and a brutal uppercut sends “No Love” falling face-first to the ground, and Dean calls it a night for the former champion. What a monumental win for Kara France, living up to his “Don’t Blink” nickname by flooring Garbrandt numerous times en route to a statement-making stoppage win.
The Official ResultKai Kara France def. Cody Garbrandt R1 3:21 via TKO (Punches)
Geoff Neal (170.5) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (169.5)
Round 1Another bout that jumped off the page for this loaded card is a welterweight tilt pitting “Handz of Steel” Neal (13-4, 5-2 UFC) against Argentina’s finest Ponzinibbio (28-4, 10-3 UFC). This fine striking match at 170 pounds will draw officiating from referee Mark Smith, and the fighters meet in the middle but do not bother touching gloves. The two try to find their range without committing to anything for the first 45 seconds, until Neal paws out a leg kick. Seeing it reached the target, Neal sits down with one much heavier, and Ponzinibbio flinches when it scores. The Argentinian pushes out a jab, only to be slapped away and forced to block a head kick. When Neal tries to close the distance, Ponzinibbio has his fingers outstretched, drawing a sharp warning from Smith. Ponzinibbio throws an inside leg kick, and he rolls through a swiping right hand. Ponzinibbio digs into a leg kick, and he is warned for his fingers again. Neal goes up with a kick that gets blocked in time, and both fighters are once more warned for pointing their fingers out, but it appears to be Ponzinibbio causing the issues. Neal slings a head kick, and a one-two comes from his opponent when it misses. Ponzinibbio tries to capitalize on an inaccurate blow by timing a spinning back fist, but it is nowhere near the intended target. Ponzinibbio pounds his fists off Neal’s guard, and Neal slips a few punches back at him much to the delight of his audible coach Sayif Saud. A punch from Neal causes a cut to open on the corner of the Argentinian’s eye. Ponzinibbio blocks a high kick, and he tries to incite a brawl. Neal is not willing to throw caution to the wind, and a low kick he reaches out clatters into the cup. Ponzinibbio initially is ready to continue, but he turns around and doubles over in pain from a delayed reaction. After a pause of about a minute, Ponzinibbio is good to go again, and he is incensed and ready to throw hands. He gives chase, and he throws punches in bunches and a high kick to punctuate a combination. They both score with powerful fists at the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Neal
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Neal
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Neal
Round 2They do not touch gloves to start the round, and instead get warned again for pointing their fingers at one another. Ponzinibbio stings his man with a solid inside leg kick, and when he sees it draws a reaction out of Neal, he goes to the same spot with dramatic effect. Ponzinibbio cracks Neal with another kick, and Neal tries to break it up with a one-two right after. Neal anticipatorily lifts his leg up a few times as they engage in a chess match right in front of one another, until he lets loose with a high body kick that knocks Ponzinibbio back a few steps. Ponzinibbio pressures Neal with overhand punches until he shoots in unexpectedly for a single. The Argentinian turns it into a double-leg takedown, and he secures it to put Neal on his back. Neal hits a switch and turns Ponzinibbio over to get right back up to his feet. “Handz of Steel” makes Ponzinibbio pay for the takedown with a few crisp punches down the forward bow, and his eye begins to trickle blood a little more. Looping punches from Ponzinibbio find their home on the side of Neal’s head, and he aims to the body and head while Neal tries to gather himself. Neal puts a right hand down the pipe that splits the bridge of Ponzinibbio’s nose, but Ponzinibbio does not register this and instead puts his hips into a low kick. Smith continues to warn Ponzinibbio for reaching out his fingers, so Ponzinibbio closes his fists and plants a one-two on Neal’s chin. Ponzinibbio motions to his opponent, and then ducks down for a takedown that is not nearly as successful. Ponzinibbio gets punched in the face, and he complains that it was an eye poke. Smith tells him to keep going, and Ponzinibbio tries to call a time out and back away. Neal does not engage with him while he protests and gets pointed at, and he connects with a few flush punches. Ponzinibbio ends the round well with a flurry of strikes and a battering low leg kick.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ponzinibbio
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Neal
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ponzinibbio
Round 3Neal’s corner is incensed about Neal’s seeming show of respect towards his opponent, and implores Neal to let his hands go. The final round begins with Ponzinibbio giving chase, and he ducks when Neal swipes at him with overhand strikes. Neal sticks Ponzinibbio with a right hand, and Ponzinibbio’s balance gives way for a moment to bend him over. Ponzinibbio throws back with a right of his own, but Neal’s is more emphatic. The Argentinian chops at his lead leg a few more times, and Neal suddenly charges forward only to pull back when in punching range. Neal bull-rushes his foe and ties him up, only for a few blows from Ponzinibbio cutting him open above the right eye. A left-right combination from Ponzinibbio get Neal’s attention, prompting Neal to start throwing. The warnings for Ponzinibbio are off the charts at this point, without Smith doing anything more, and Neal shrugs them off so he can land cleanly on his opponent. Ponzinibbio sticks his left hand in Neal’s face a few times, and he follows one with a quick left hook. They engage with long, single blows, and Ponzinibbio comes at his opponent with his hands down. Ponzinibbio lands cleanly, Neal returns fire, and the two start trading furiously. Ponzinibbio drills Neal with a left hook, but not to be outdone, Neal gives him one right back. Ponzinibbio goes to the body and the head, and he digs his shin into the inside of Neal’s thigh. With about 80 seconds remaining, the two welterweights go at it with alternating combinations. Their defense is not a priority, and their faces show a lot of blood, but they continue to bang it out. Three clean punches knock Ponzinibbio back, and Ponzinibbio is wobbled but unconcerned as he charges forward to pay Neal back. Three jackhammering left hands from Neal knock Ponzinibbio back again, and Ponzinibbio scoots away to take a deep breath and throw bombs at his advancing foe. Ponzinibbio lays into Neal with a flurry of punches, and Neal backs off to end a tense fight that could go either way.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Neal (29-28 Neal)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Neal (30-27 Neal)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Neal (29-28 Neal)
The Official ResultGeoff Neal def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
UFC Women's Bantamweight Title Fight:
Nunes (134.5) vs. Julianna
Round 1In the first of two title fights tonight, dominant champ Nunes (21-4, 14-1 UFC) will try to claim her first victory over a winner of a season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” as her opponent Pena (10-4, 6-2 UFC) took home the gold in Season 18. Nunes may be a monstrous favorite of around -1000, but anything can happen in MMA, and referee Marc Goddard is prepared for the unexpected. Any bad blood between the bantamweights has subsided, as they show respect towards one another by touching gloves before getting after it. Pena starts off faking a few level changes, but Nunes does not budge or show any cause for alarm. Pena absorbs a leg kick on the way in and falls to her back, and Nunes does not jump down after her. Pena wings punches, only for Nunes to push them away and score with another calf kick. Pena pushes out a left hand, and it does not reach Nunes. Pena connects with an overhand right as part of a looping combination, and Nunes stomp-kicks her knee and lands a right hand that sends Pena crashing to the floor. Nunes lords over her without diving on to finish the job, and she avoids upkicks to climb down in the guard and unload with a right hand. Pena turns the position into a single-leg takedown attempt, and Nunes simply pushes her over to the ground. The champ sets up a guillotine choke before lowering herself into Pena’s guard, and Pena isolates Nunes’ left arm but gives up her back. Nunes gets both hooks in, and she cannot get her other arm free to isolate the choke but has her right arm crushing tightly to Pena’s face. Pena manages to fight out of the worst of it, and Nunes lets her sit up so she can tighten up a guillotine choke. Nunes looks to the camera and smiles, and Pena is stuck on her side with no way up but safe from submission harm. Chants for Nunes rain down in the arena, and she takes the energy and pushes Pena flat on her back. Pena pursues a kimura in an attempt to sweep her opponent while on her back, and Nunes shows a brief amount of concern as she keeps her leg between to protect it from any torque. The frame ends shortly after Pena lets it go, and the challenger has made it out of the opening round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Nunes
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Nunes
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Nunes
Round 2The bantamweights meet in the middle and Nunes kicks out with the ball of her foot. They land single punches at the same time, and Pena darts in and barely avoids a looping punch. Nunes continues chopping down the lead leg, and Pena stands right in front of her and throws several sharp jabs. Pena gets Nunes’ attention with several punches, and Nunes bites down on her gumshield and knocks Pena back. A huge punch from Nunes causes immediate swelling to form around the left eye of Pena, and they are swinging furiously. Nunes cracks her, and Pena lands flush right back at her. This is the hardest Nunes has been hit in years, and the champ points to the ground as she knocked Pena’s mouthpiece out. Goddard replaces it, and Pena is ready to start throwing bombs again. Nunes is right there with her, but she is getting tagged and grinning. Pena is fearless as she plods forward, eating more often than she connects with, but the strikes are wild and the pace is wild. Pena tags Nunes, and her jabs are busting Nunes up and hurting her. Pena hurts the champ, and a few follow-up punches knock Nunes back into the wall. Pena uses the momentum to her favor to take Nunes down. Nunes turns over to her knees, and Pena leaps on to take her back. “The Venezuelan Vixen” cinches up a rear-naked choke with no hooks in, and it is tight as can be. Nunes is in grave danger, and before long, she taps out on the mat to what might be the biggest upset in UFC history. Unbelievable! Pena, as an enormous +650 betting underdog, did the practically unimaginable by submitting the seemingly unstoppable Nunes in the second round! In her victorious post-fight interview, she tells people that she isn’t surprised, and that she called her shot. What an absolutely incredible turn of events, and one that will live on in the record books for years to come.
The Official ResultJulianna Pena def. Amanda Nunes R2 3:26 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
UFC Lightweight Title Fight:
Oliveira (155) vs. Dustin
Round 1This one is for all the marbles, with lightweight glory between blood and guts fighters with storied UFC careers. Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC; 19-8, 1 NC UFC) will look to make the first defense of his 155-pound throne, and he will do so against “The Diamond” Poirier (28-6, 1 NC; 20-5, 1 NC UFC) in a fight that few expect will each the final bell. These men need no introduction, and neither does award-winning referee Herb Dean; these two are happy to test their skills against one another, and shake hands and hug before coming out firing. Oliveira starts off throwing first, with a kick and a right hand. Poirier returns fire, and a clubbing right hand knocks the champ off his feet. Poirier does not jump after him, and instead lets Oliveira back up so that he can find his range. They tie up, and Oliveira tries to get off some short uppercuts but Poirier meets him with heavier blows. They break apart and Oliveira gives chase, but Poirier stings him with a left hand. Oliveira rips the body with a knee, and Poirier needs to take a moment to catch his breath. Poirier backs off and Oliveira goes after the same spot with another knee, until they break off to cool down. They quickly get after it again, landing shots until Oliveira leaps forward for a body lock trip takedown. Poirier leans on the wall and lets Oliveira roll himself over so as to keep upright. Oliveira tags the challenger with a knee to the midsection, and they meet in the center of the cage and throw bombs. Neither man is afraid of the other, and both land flush. Poirier stands his foe up with a left hand and a right, and the champ may be on the ropes as he staggers back. Poirier rocks “do Bronx” with a few punches, and he slips out of the way when Oliveira tries to knee him in the face. Oliveira steels himself and tries to get off another knee, but it is only a glancing blow. These two are throwing furiously, with little quit in them, and Poirier may be hurt to the body with a liver kick. Poirier suddenly drops the champion with a right hand, and he drops down some ground-and-pound with heavy elbows before backing off to let the Brazilian back up. A huge left from Poirier rocks Oliveira again, and Oliveira meets him with blows of his own and a few more body shots. These lightweights are taking huge damage and blowing out their gas tanks early, but the round is fast and furious. Poirier knocks the champ back with a left hand, and another puts Oliveira back to the wall. Poirier gets stung with a punch from “do Bronx,” and they trade it out right to the bell, ending a terrific round with style points.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Poirier
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Poirier
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Poirier
Round 2The lightweights are amped up to get things going in Round 2, and they double-touch gloves to initiate things. They trade single, leaping punches, and Oliveira targets the body with a kick before pressing in for a takedown. When up close, Oliveira digs a knee to the body, and he leans Poirier over to knee him on the jaw. The champ wrenches Poirier down to the ground, and Poirier nearly gives up his back but spins around to push Oliveira on the ground. Oliveira throws his legs up to set up an armbar, and he holds on to Poirier’s glove to drag the challenger down to the mat. Poirier protests the grab of his glove, but the cries fall on deaf ears, and Oliveira climbs on top in Poirier’s closed guard. Oliveira in close proximity drops down with nasty elbows, and he gets warned for grinding his chin into the eye socket but does not get interrupted. Oliveira continues to work his foe over with short elbows, and Poirier clings tightly to the champion to force a standup. Oliveira postures up and smashes elbows on Poirier’s chin, breaking the grip and inflicting damage on Poirier. The ground-and-pound continues to add up for Oliveira, until Poirier hacks a few elbows from below and ties Oliveira up again. The champ lumps Poirier up with additional elbows, all while pushing on Poirier’s face with open hands. Poirier keeps hanging on with a closed guard, and he appears content to take this damage as the round wraps up. Oliveira stands up at the 10-second clapper, and he lords over Poirier with some standing-to-floor punches until the second frame is over.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Oliveira
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Oliveira
Round 3Poirier comes out of his corner appearing no worse for wear, and Oliveira opens up by kicking him in the body. When Poirier responds with a counterpunch, Oliveira advances and ties him up for a takedown effort. While standing, Oliveira jumps on to take Poirier’s back, and he sneakily latches on to a rear-naked choke. Poirier fights off the grip, and after a few tries, the arm slides beneath the chin. The champion locks up the standing choke, and this time, there is nothing Poirier can do to stop it. Poirier taps out lest he not get put to sleep in the main event, and Oliveira has successfully defended his lightweight throne from a fighter who many had ranked above him despite Oliveira being the champ. “do Bronx” adds to his terrific records of the most finishes and submissions in company history, and many others may come up before the weekend is over. Humble in defeat, Poirier goes over to the successful champ, pledging to donate a sum of money a charity of Oliveira’s choice. Oliveira graciously accepts as he celebrates his victory with his team and everyone around him. He declares that he is the world champion, and that “they talk, but I answer.” This night was certainly filled with unscriptable drama, excitement, action and everything a fight fan could possibly ask for. Although we would like to take a deep breath and appreciate all that transpired tonight, there is one more UFC card this year, one that comes next Saturday with lesser stakes but plenty of fire. We will be here for it, and we hope you are too.
The Official ResultCharles Oliveira def. Dustin Poirier R3 1:02 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)