UFC 269 betting: Charles Oliveira a rare underdog in title defense vs. Dustin Poirier

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·Combat columnist
·3 min read
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LAS VEGAS — Winning five fights in a row in the UFC has been proven to be a statistically difficult task. Running off nine in a row? Well, it’s usually only the best of the best who can do that.

Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will bring that nine-fight winning streak into the main event of UFC 269 on Saturday when he will defend his title against Dustin Poirier at T-Mobile Arena.

Poirier, who is the No. 2-ranked fighter on the Yahoo Sports’ pound-for-pound list, has a career-best winning streak of seven fights, which was at the beginning of his career. He also had one other five-bout winning streak and has won six of his last seven, marred only by a loss to the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Poirier, though, is the favorite at BetMGM to defeat Oliveira and become the undisputed UFC champion for the first time in his career. Previously an interim champion, Poirier is a -160 favorite at BetMGM. Oliveira is +135.

It’s rare to get a champion at plus money, particularly when that champion has been as hot as Oliveira has been recently. That, though, shows the respect the public has for Poirier, who enters the fight off back-to-back finishes of ex-champion Conor McGregor.

Poirier is a well-rounded fighter adept in every phase of the game, but he’ll be in difficulty if he gets to the ground with Oliveira, whose jiu-jitsu is elite among MMA fighters.

Oliveira holds the UFC record for finishes with 17, and has finished seven of the bouts during his nine-fight run.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MAY 15: Charles Oliveira of Brazil holds the belt after defeating Michael Chandler during their Championship Lightweight Bout at the UFC 262 event at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Charles Oliveira, 32, carries his nine-fight winning streak — and undisputed lightweight title — into UFC 269 on Sarturday. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

All four of Poirier’s losses have been by finish. He’s been knocked out by McGregor and Michael Johnson and submitted by Nurmagomedov and Chan Sung Jung, aka "The Korean Zombie."

Oliveira has the ability to win this fight by submission, but one reason for his recent run is the improvement in his hands. In his title-winning effort over Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May, Oliveira’s hands were what finished the fight.

The bout is probably going to come down to mistakes, and Poirier’s at a spot in his career where he is as smart as any fighter in the game and makes as few mistakes as anyone.

I like Poirier to mix up his attack, and pull out a decision. So I’ll lay the -160 and bet $100 on Poirier to win.

Other bets for UFC 269

• I like Amanda Nunes to defeat Julianna Peña to retain the bantamweight title. My only concern there is that Nunes hasn’t made the bantamweight limit of 135 since 2019, when she defeated Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 on Dec. 14, 2019.

That’s worrisome given that Nunes is a massive -825 favorite to win over Peña, who is +575. Peña insists she matches up well with the power-punching Nunes, but it seems her best bet would be to push the pace and hope a weight-drained Nunes can’t keep it.

That’s a long shot, though, and so I’ll go with Nunes to win. I don’t want to lay $825 even on a fighter as good as Nunes, so I’ll play Nunes to win by KO/TKO. BetMGM doesn’t have its props up yet, so there is no number, but it will be far more attractive than -825 to win.

• I’ll lay the -115 and take Santiago Ponzinibbio to win over Geoff Neal, who is -105.

• I’ll lay the -300 and take Sean O’Malley to win over Raulian Paiva (+240). I would also bet this fight to finish inside the distance.

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