Despite being the man holding gold at 155lbs, lightweight champ Charles Oliveira was once again being overlooked heading into UFC 269.
Oliveira faced Dustin Poirier atop the final UFC PPV of the year, with Poirier getting his second shot at the undisputed title, having previously come up short against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Perhaps with that in mind, Poirier came out swinging hard from the outset on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
With the action underway, Oliveira landed a right — and then was knocked down by a powerful hook by Poirier. Rather than stun him, the punch essentially just forced the champ off-balance. Oliveira, however, was quickly back up, with the pair continuing to trade. Poirier would land a left, while Oliveira grabbed on with a muay thai plumb, landing a knee to the body. Moments later, with over three minutes to go in the opening round, Oliveira closed the distance, looking for a takedown. It would come, but Poirier rolled right through it, and the pair were right back up.
From there, Oliveira landed a knee to the body, but Poirier split the champ’s guard with his jab. A right hand, a left hook, and another big right hand followed. Oliveira was backed up, hurt, but pushed forward again, landing a knee to the body once more. A right hand would then drop Oliveira, who threatened with upkicks as Poirier got on top. A moment later, Poirier thought better of that decision, backing off and forcing the champ back to his feet. Poirier turned up the heat, but when he couldn’t put Oliveira away, the Brazilian struck back. Still, Poirier’s shots were harder, and he had the edge. That said, Oliveira caught Poirier late in the round, attacked with a jump knee, and proved he was still in it.
It was pedal to the metal for the opening five minutes, a pace that would be hard to keep up.
Early in the second, Oliveira pressed Poirier against the fence, and nearly had him taken down. When that didn’t work, Oliveira wound up on his back, and Poirier had a dominant position— only for the champ to grab his glove. An arm-bar submission wasn’t really there for Oliveira, but he was able to get back in position, with Poirier choosing to roll through the attempt. That put Oliveira on top, allowing him to land a nasty elbow — while Poirier chose to close his guard. A couple more big shots landed on Poirier, who was in a bad spot, unable to scramble, miles from a fence that might let him wall walk up. Oliveira would ride out the round on top.
Round three saw Poirier give up his back almost immediately, with Oliveira climbing it and looking for a rear-naked choke. Poirier was holding the full weight of the Brazilian against the fence, and once “Do Bronx” re-positioned, the writing was on the wall. Oliveira’s arm was tight under the neck, and Poirier had two choices: tap, or go to sleep. Poirier tapped, and Charles Oliveira was still the UFC lightweight champion!
— UFC (@ufc) December 12, 2021
Justin Gaethje is no doubt waiting in the wings. But Charles Oliveira proved a lot of doubters wrong at UFC 269, and as a bonus, extended his record for most submissions in UFC history (15).
Official Result: Charles Oliveira def. Dustin Poirier by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 1:02