The lightweight division, arguably one of the most stacked weight classes in all of MMA, will be on display Saturday night at the highest level when UFC Champion Charles Oliviera faces Dustin Poirier. The fight, which is easily one of the biggest bouts in the year for the UFC, is set to happen on the promotion’s second-last card of 2021.
Their title fight will headline UFC 269, which will take place Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The show has 14 fights in total, including a co-main event title bout between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena.
Here’s a preview of the entire show.
Early Prelims (6:00PM EST / 3:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 1: Priscila Cachoeira (10-3) vs. Gillian Robertson (9-6) (Catchweight 129 lbs)
In the first fight of the card, Priscila Cachoeira and Gillian Robertson will collide. Their matchup was originally set to happen at flyweight but was moved to a catchweight after Cachoeira missed weight by three pounds on Friday.
Cachoeira is currently on a two-fight winning streak. After stopping Shana Dobson in 40 seconds last year, Cachoeira returned in May to secure a second-round finish win over Gina Mazany.
Bout 2: Randy Costa (6-2) vs. Tony Kelley (7-2) (Bantamweight)
Tony Kelley will return to action on Saturday night when facing Randy Costa in a bantamweight fight.
Kelley has been out of the cage since October 2020. He earned his first UFC victory in October of last year, defeating Ali AlQaisi via unanimous decision.
Costa will be fighting to bounce back from a stoppage loss he took against Adrian Yanez in July. He had two consecutive UFC wins before then.
Bout 3: Ryan Hall (8-2) vs. Darrick Minner (26-12) (Featherweight)
Fighting to bounce back from his sole UFC loss, Ryan Hall will meet veteran Darrick Minner on the prelims.
Hall made his return in July, getting stopped within a round by undefeated featherweight Ilia Topuria. He had scored four consecutive UFC wins before then from 2015 to 2019.
Minner, a veteran of over 30 pro fights, has fought four times in the UFC. He also lost in July, as Darren Elkins stopped him in the second round with strikes. He had two-straight wins before then.
Bout 4: Erin Blanchfield (7-1) vs. Miranda Maverick (9-3) (Flyweight)
Riding the momentum of a successful UFC debut from earlier this year, Erin Blanchfield will face Miranda Maverick.
Blanchfield made her UFC debut in September, fighting to a decision victory over Sarah Alpar. Her UFC call-up came after attaining a three-fight winning streak in notable promotions Invicta FC and CFFC.
Maverick took her first UFC loss earlier this year, dropping a split decision to Maycee Barber. She had previously won twice in the promotion.
Bout 5: Andre Muniz (21-4) vs. Eryk Anders (14-5) (Middleweight)
The undefeated UFC run of Andre Muniz will be wagered on Saturday night when he fights Eryk Anders.
Muniz has yet to lose through three appearances in the UFC. He beat a legend in his last appearance, submitting Jacare Souza with an armbar in May.
Anders, a UFC veteran of 12 appearances, is coming off a decision victory that he scored against Darren Stewart in June.
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EST / 5:00PM PST) (ESPN2 / TSN 5)
Bout 6: Bruno Silva (21-6) vs. Jordan Wright (12-1) (Middleweight)
Explosive middleweights Bruno Silva and Jordan Wright will collide on the prelims.
Wright has the reputation as a finisher, having never gone the distance through more than a dozen pro fights. He last appeared in May, needing just over a minute to stop Jamie Pickett with punches.
Wright took his first pro loss in a prior bout, getting stopped by Joaquin Buckley in late 2020.
Bout 7: Augusto Sakai (15-3-1) vs. Tai Tuivasa (13-3) (Heavyweight)
The sole heavyweight bout of the card will see Augusto Sakai fight Tai Tuivasa.
Sakai has lost in his past two appearances, although those fights have come against high-level heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruick. He had a strong run in the promotion before then, scoring four wins from 2018 to 2020.
Tuivasa is currently on a hot streak of first-round finish wins. He made the series a trio in July, catching Greg Hardy in the second minute with punches.
Bout 8: Pedro Munhoz (19-6) vs. Dominick Cruz (23-3) (Bantamweight)
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz will return on the prelims to face Pedro Munhoz.
Cruz earned a split decision in his last fight, defeating Casey Kenney via split decision in March. That fight was his first victory in three bouts, and was his first win since losing his belt in 2016.
Munhoz has lost three of his past five, but he has faced the top names of the bantamweight division. He most notably was on the losing side of a pure showcase from Jose Aldo earlier this year.
Bout 9: Josh Emmett (16-2) vs. Dan Ige (15-4) (Featherweight)
The prelims are set to wrap up with a featherweight contest between Josh Emmett and Dan Ige.
Emmett has been out of the cage for the past 18 months, marking the longest layoff since he joined the UFC roster in 2016. He re-joins competition on a strong three-fight winning streak that includes a victory over Shane Burgos from last year.
Ige is appearing for the first time since being on the losing side of a five-round battle against The Korean Zombie in June.
Main Card (10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST) (PPV)
Bout 10: Sean O’Malley (14-1) vs. Raulian Paiva (21-3) (Bantamweight)
Flashy bantamweight Sean O’Malley will attempt to add to his resume when facing Raulian Paiva in the opening bout of the main card.
O’Malley has been a walking highlight reel since he joined the UFC roster in 2017. This includes four finish victories through seven appearances. He most recently beat short-notice opponent Kris Moutinho in July.
Paiva is a significant test for O’Malley. While prior opponents for O’Malley are either significantly inexperienced or past their prime, Paiva is on a roll in the UFC and still a young 26-years-old.
Paiva won in his move up to bantamweight in July, scoring a majority decision win against Kyler Phillips. That added onto a two-fight streak of wins that he had already attained at flyweight in the UFC.
Bout 11: Kai Kara-France (22-9) vs. Cody Garbrandt (12-4) (Flyweight)
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt will make his flyweight debut when facing Kai Kara-France on Saturday night.
Garbrandt is moving down a division after losing four of his last five fights at bantamweight. He lost a decision earlier this year, going five rounds against Rob Font for a unanimous decision result.
Kara-France returned to the win column in March, stopping Rogerio Bontorin in the first round with punches.
Bout 12: Geoff Neal (13-4) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-4) (Welterweight)
Before the two title fights, Geoff Neal and Santiago Ponzinibbio will meet at welterweight.
Neal’s fight week has been clouded by pending misdemeanor charges in Texas for driving while intoxicated and unlawful carrying of a weapon, which were first reported last week.
Ponzinibbio started the year on a bad note, as his return fight against Li Jingliang resulted in a first-round stoppage loss. The matchup ended a seven-fight winning streak for him and was his first appearance since 2018.
Ponzinibbio has since bounced back, handing Miguel Baeza his first pro loss in June.
Bout 13: Amanda Nunes (21-4) vs. Julianna Pena (10-4) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
Amanda Nunes has the chance to continue her dominant run as a two-division champion on Saturday night when fighting Julianna Pena in the co-main event.
Nunes has been the UFC Bantamweight Champion since 2016, and has defended the belt five times. A win on Saturday night would tie her with most title defenses in the division’s history – a record held by Ronda Rousey and her six defenses from 2013 to 2015.
Nunes has been absent from bantamweight over the past few years, as her two more recent title fights have been up at featherweight. She has scored quite easy wins in that weight class, defeating Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer in recent years.
Nunes’ last title fight at bantamweight was in 2019, where she went five rounds against Germaine de Randamie for a decision victory.
Pena has been on the UFC roster since she won Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2013. Her UFC run started with four consecutive wins, but she has since only won two of her past four.
Pena is being given a title fight after scoring a rear naked choke submission win against Sara McMann in January. Oddsmakers are valuing her as a major underdog, with betting sites putting her around +600.
Bout 14: Charles Oliveira (31-8) vs. Dustin Poirier (28-6) (UFC Lightweight Championship)
Another big chapter in UFC’s lightweight division will be written on Saturday night when divisional champion Charles Oliveira faces Dustin Poirier.
Oliveira will be looking to defend his belt for the first time. He earned the championship in May, picking up a second-round finish win over former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. The win added to an extensive nine-fight winning streak that he had been building since 2018.
On Saturday, Poirier will be fighting to become a champion for the second time.
Poirier first challenged for a title in 2019, facing undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He was unsuccessful in his challenge, succumbing to a third-round rear naked choke.
Poirier enters Saturday on a three-fight winning streak. He most notably is coming off the conclusion of a trilogy series against former champ Conor McGregor. While Poirier lost to McGregor back in 2014, he beat the MMA star twice this year due to stoppage.
A win on Saturday night for Poirier would be his third in the main event of a PPV this year, concluding a successful year for him on a high note.