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Charles Oliveira retains lightweight title by submitting Dustin Poirier in UFC 269 main event

Charles Oliveira has won 10 fights in a row

Charles Oliveira retained the UFC lightweight title by submitting Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 269 on Saturday night, capping off a thrilling night of fights in Las Vegas.

Former interim champion Poirier was challenging for the undisputed belt for the second time in his career, but the American’s newest venture ended the same way as his previous attempt – with the “Diamond” losing via submission.

Poirier (28-7) failed to unify the lightweight titles in 2019 as he tapped out to a rear naked choke against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who then fought once more before retiring and relinquishing the undisputed gold.

In the meantime, Poirier fought his way back to the top of the division with three straight wins, including two against old rival Conor McGregor this year. Meanwhile, Oliveira (32-8) claimed the belt vacated by Khabib, knocking out Michael Chandler in May to become lightweight champion.

It all led to this highly-anticipated main event in the final UFC pay-per-view of 2021, and the in-ring action delivered on the hype.

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A blistering first round saw Poirier drop the champion multiple times, though Oliveira survived and managed to clinch his challenger on numerous occasions, landing damaging knees to the body and uppercuts in close.

After dropping Oliveira, 32, for a third time in the first round, the American followed the jiu-jitsu specialist into his guard, landing a slicing elbow from above.

Poirier (right) had a power advantage in the striking exchanges

The pair soon stood, trading punches as Poirier’s power advantage became increasingly clear – though Oliveira’s accuracy was keeping the “Diamond” alert.

Oliveira used a front kick to the body to close range early in the second round, before grabbing Poirier against the fence and almost dragging him to the mat. Poirier tried to wriggle free, but “Do Bronx” kept hold of the challenger’s arm, forcing the American to roll away in desperation.

Oliveira followed Poirier into full guard, where he would dominate the round as he landed fierce elbows and ground down the 32-year-old. The T-Mobile Arena crowd chanted “USA” in favour of Poirier, but he could not escape from beneath Oliveira.

The Brazilian immediately pressured Poirier at the start of the third round, backing up his challenger against the fence then jumping on his back.

Poirier briefly fought off a rear naked choke attempt, but Oliveira was ultimately able to lock in the hold and force Poirier to tap out.

Oliveira already had the most finishes and most submission wins in UFC history, and he only improved both records (18, 15) here.

Oliveira seeks a rear naked choke on Poirier

“I’m world champion. I’m the man,” a jubilant Oliveira said after his victory. “They talk, I do it.”

Meanwhile, a crestfallen Poirier said: “His durability [surprised me]. I hit him with some good, clean shots.

“The gameplan was to take my time. I brawled again when I wasn’t supposed to.”

Poirier and Oliveira exchanged kind words, with the beaten challenger offering to donate $20,000 to a hometown charity of the champion’s choosing.

In the evening’s co-main event, Julianna Pena submitted Amanda Nunes to become women’s bantamweight champion in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

Third-ranked Pena entered the bout as a huge underdog, but the American was able to outstrike Nunes before submitting the Brazilian with a rear naked choke in the second round.

Full UFC 269 results

Main card

Charles Oliveira (C) def. Dustin Poirier via third-round submission (rear naked choke, 1:02)

Julianna Pena def. Amanda Nunes (C) via second-round submission (rear naked choke, 3:23)

Julianna Pena celebrates after becoming new women’s bantamweight champion

Geoff Neal def. Santiago Ponzinibbio via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Kai Kara-France def. Cody Garbrandt via first-round knockout (strikes, 3:21)

Sean O’Malley def. Raulian Paiva via first-round TKO (strikes, 4:42)

Prelims

Josh Emmett def. Dan Ige via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Dominick Cruz def. Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Tai Tuivasa def. Augusto Sakai via second-round knockout (strikes, 0:26)

Bruno Silva def. Jordan Wright via first-round TKO (strikes, 1:28)

Early prelims

Andre Muniz def. Eryk Anders via first-round submission (armbar, 3:13)

Erin Blanchfield def. Miranda Maverick via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Ryan Hall def. Darrick Minner via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)

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Tony Kelley def. Randy Costa via second-round TKO (strikes, 4:15)

Gillian Robertson def. Priscila Cachoeira via first-round submission (rear naked choke, 4:59)

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