I will be the first to admit when I am wrong. From my preview, several of my predictions did not pan out. It happens! The great part of getting predictions wrong, you have several shocking, edge-of-your-seat moments. Last night provided a plethora of those types of moments. We will unpack all the jaw-dropping, OMG, and WTF events in this UFC 269 recap.
Oliveira vs Poirier
What a fight! This was pure action, while it lasted. In round one, Poirier put on a clinic with throwing hands. We knew Dustin had hands, but he was elite with it during the first round. He clearly won that round and looked like it was a matter of time before it was over. Then round two happened. Oliveira showed why his ground game is all-world and at another level. That was my fear for Poirier, that he would not keep it on the feet, and enter Do Bronx’s realm. That leads us to round three. That standing choke was a thing of beauty, and it made Poirier tap.
Those three rounds were awesome and gave clarity to some things. First, we have to respect Do Bronx as the best lightweight in the UFC. He has a 10 fight win streak and extended his record for finishes and submissions. Second, we saw how classy Dustin Poirier is. It is hard not to cheer for that man. Third, Do Bronx has a chin and the heart of a true champion. People have questioned him, last night debunked those thoughts.
Nunes vs Pena
It must’ve been a full moon and frozen over in hell because Amanada Nunes lost. Not only did she lose, but she was also finished. I honestly did not see this coming. No one saw this coming. You have to give credit to Pena. She had a plan and executed it. She showed some striking skills and pressed the issue. I compared Nunes to the Bulls of the 1990’s. Last night was more reminiscent of Tyson vs Buster Douglas. That was the biggest upset in MMA history last night. Great job to Pena and her team, but beware of the beast you just poked.
We also saw a proud former champ get dismantled. Kai Kara-France was looked at as a stepping stone for Cody Garbrandt to enter the Flyweight division. I guess no one told Kara-France. He came out hot in round one and finished No Love. I am not sure if it was the weight cut, but Cody looked bad. He was so much bigger than Kai, but he got beat up.
The Suga show was in full effect. O’Malley looked like the guy the UFC has been trying to promote. He showed that striking that made him popular. He should definitely be ranked now, but we still need to see him step up in competition. Dominick Cruz looked like he jumped in the time machine last night. Dan Ige took a huge step back with the loss to Josh Emmett. Geoff Neal continued his journey to the top 10 of the Welterweight division. The big boys did not disappoint with Tai Tuivasa getting the KO over Augusto Sakai.
I said in the preview that this event would give clarity to a lot of things in the UFC. This UFC 269 recap will give some validation to that claim. The Lightweight division clearly has a kingpin. It seems Justin Gaethje is next. That should be a good fight. Poirer now has to go to the back of the line, but he is still an attractive opponent for anyone in the top five.
Last night gave us clarity with Nunes’ next opponent. We saw that she can lose, too. Nunes vs Pena 2 makes the most sense, and it can actually be hyped as something competitive. Cruz and Kara-France look like their next opponents should be top five fighters. Cruz vs Font or Aldo would be fun. Kara-France should call out the champ. Emmett and Neal should continue to petition for top 10 fights.
MMA seems to be out of love with No Love Grabrandt. 125 pounds doesn’t seem to be the move. I can’t see him beating any top five Bantamweights either. He is at the end of the road in his career. He should consider hanging up his gloves. If he continues to fight, he would be a gatekeeper for new guys to enter the top 10. If he does want another fight, he should consider buying a ticket to the Suga show. This would be a great barometer for both men. Another logical bout for O’Malley would be a rematch with Chito Vera.