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UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier Picks, Predictions, Odds

 

Dec. 11, 2021
by Adam Lykkesteen
VI Combat Sports Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

UFC Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is set to defend his title against the division’s number one contender, Dustin Poirier, in the main event of UFC 269.

“The Diamond”, Poirier, has picked up more momentum in his two last bouts than most, as he has bested UFC megastar Conor McGregor twice in a row. All eyes are on him to become champion on December 12.

Standing across the cage from him will be Oliveira, who is on a record breaking nine-fight win streak coming into his title defense against Poirier.

In the co-main, the greatest female fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes, takes on the next challenger in line for a title shot as she will defend her 135-pound crown against Julianna Peña. Nunes has won 14 straight heading into her bout against Peña, and has amassed a whopping seven title defenses during that run. Should she get the W at UFC 269, which she is heavily favored to, she will be just one title defense behind tying with all-time legend Georges Saint Pierre for fourth most title defenses in UFC history. The stakes are high.

The UFC 269 fight card has many intriguing matchups on tap including, but not limited to, Sean O’Malley taking on Raulian Paiva, Geoff Neal versus Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Kai Kara-France against former 135-pound champion, Cody Garbrandt.

UFC 269 Main Card Picks


Dustin Poirier has won seven of his last eight fights. (AP)

UFC 269 Money-Line Picks

  • Charles Oliveira +130
  • Kai Kara-France +110
  • Sean O'Malley -333
  • Erin Blanchfield +115
  • Darrick Minner +165
  • Tony Kelley +145
  • Gillian Robertson -400

UFC 269 Exact Outcome & Prop Picks

  • Amanda Nunes via Decision +400
  • Santiago Ponzinibbio via Decision +240
  • Josh Emmett via Decision +175
  • Pedro Munhoz via Decision +175
Odds & Bouts Subject to Change - per bet365

UFC 269 Video Best Bets


UFC 269 Betting Resources

  • Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021
  • TV-Time: Early Prelims (ESPN+ 6:15 p.m.), Prelims (ESPNN, 8:00 p.m.), Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10:00 p.m.)
  • Venue: T-Mobile Arena
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Odds Analysis: UFC 269 Betting Odds Analysis

UFC 269 Preview & Analysis

UFC 269 Lightweight Championship
Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier Prediction

Oliveira was just your run-of-the-mill contender at Featherweight and Lightweight, back in 2016. But while enduring eight losses on the big stage is no feat in itself, if you draw experience from each loss, you can fix the holes in your game and elevate your skills to the next level. That is, and forever will be, the story of Oliveira’s career.

The guy was 10-8 in the UFC by the end of 2017, and starting 2018 he would embark on one of the most legendary win streaks the 155-pound division has ever seen. Since being knocked out by Paul Felder on a rainy night in Detroit, Michigan, Oliveira has won nine straight. Charles “Do Bronx”, is a lethal grappler with the record for most submission wins in the UFC. That should tell you all you need to know about his abilities on the mat.

On the feet the champion is no slouch either, as he has won three of his last five wins by way of knockout. He most recently KO’ed hard-hitting fan-favorite Michael Chandler in a bout that mainly took place on the feet. He can definitely strike. For those of you familiar with Poirier, you already know his striking is his biggest weapon. Well, actually, I’ll actually say that his grit and determination are his secret weapons in the octagon, as he often displays incredible fighting spirit when he steps in the cage.

Poirier usually gets clipped at some point when he fights, but whereas a hard shot usually rendered him unconscious during his days at Featherweight, a less painful cut down to 155 has seamlessly granted Poirier a much improved chin. He has taken hard shots from the likes of Gaethje, Holloway, McGregor and Hooker, without toppling over.

When it comes to dishing out damage, Poirier is among the top of the division. He tends to land serious damage on his opponents when given openings, and when he smells blood in the water he always closes the show. Oliveira will have to put on his best poker face in this fight.


Charles Oliveira has won nine striaght fights, ending eight before the final bell. (Getty)

Grappling-wise Poirier is a black-belt in jiu-jitsu, so I don’t expect him to be a complete fish out of water if the fight hits the mat, but I have no doubt that Poirier will do everything in his power to remain upright for the entire duration of this bout.

Oliveira, on the other hand, will do everything in his might to secure takedowns. On the feet I give Poirier the advantage, but Charles has shown that he can hold his own, and survive, against lethal strikers before.

Personally I see a huge difference between guys like Michael Chandler and Poirier, mainly in regards to the punching power. Poirier is not, and has never been, a one-punch KO kind of guy. He usually finishes fights with flurries of punches and leaves opponents overwhelmed. Chandler mostly separates opponents from consciousness when he lands clean.

For that simple reason, I think the advantage should go to Oliveira as he will have more openings to shoot in on Poirier to secure takedowns, whereas Poirier will be deterred from overextending due to fear of getting taken down. We have seen the effect the grappler has on the striker’s striking so many times in the past, and I think we will witness it once again for the UFC 269 main event.

Grapplers just always hold that trump card over strikers, and even though I rate Poirier’s grappling as being quite impressive, Oliveira is just in another dimension when it comes to submissions and scrambles - possibly only rivalled by a Khabib Nurmagomedov or an Islam Makhachev.

Let’s also not discredit the win streak Oliveira is on. Nine wins in a row has some huge statistical significance behind it, and when the guy on said win streak is priced at plus money, I have to take a stab at him. This fight is a 50/50 at best, so I have to pick the ‘dog.

Oliveira vs. Poirier Best Bet: Oliveira ML (+130)

UFC 269 Women's Bantamweight Championship
Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena

Amanda Nunes takes on the next sacrificial lamb, this time at 135-pounds. In all seriousness, Julianna Peña actually seems far more confident than the majority of Nunes’ opponents as of late, and that is a big plus when you’re looking to beat the unbeatable opponent.

Fighters in Peñas position have pulled through before and shocked the world, but in turn, think of all the times dominant have beaten run-of-the-mill contenders without too much effort. Especially for Nunes, her dominance can’t be overstated. Her last win was against Megan Anderson at 145-pounds, in a fight that Daniel Cormier, UFC commentator and former Heavyweight champion, appropriately labeled a “non-event”.

I think Nunes’ fight with Anderson clearly illustrated the aura that fighters achieve if they’re dominant for a long enough period of time. Megan was completely wide-eyed, and honestly, Spencer, Holm, and Pennginton all were too. That aforementioned confidence of Peña must be present in the octagon too, if she even wants the slightest chance of beating Nunes at UFC 269.

Remembering that champions like Nunes are only humans is what Peña should focus on, but only she can know how confident she truly is once that cage door closes. Breaking down this matchup, Nunes is clearly the better fighter everywhere. Her punching power is unmatched across all women’s weight divisions. Her grappling is efficient beyond belief, and she always mixes striking and grappling up extremely well.

Nunes also tends to compose gameplans to fit the holes in her opponents' games. She grappled the striking-savvy Randamie, and relied on speed and timing to knock out an overzealous Cyborg, in perhaps her most impressive win. Peña is a good grappler, but she was nullified by the aforementioned Germaine de Randamie, who is pretty much a purebred striker. So what can Peña do to win?


Amanda Nunes has won 12 straight fights. (AP)

I covered this in my UFC 269 odds analysis, but the champ’s cardio is seriously suspect. Despite securing the victory, going back and watching her bout against Germaine showcases that Nunes has trouble staying ahead in the championship rounds. It’s not like Peña is some kind of cardio-king in her own right, but if she can survive long enough to see the later rounds, her chances will go up.

That said, a late finish seems a bit much to ask of someone like Peña who only has one finish outside of round one in the UFC. I don’t blame her though, as statistics show that the chance of a finish severely decreases after the first round. As it so happens, there’s actually a linear relationship between the decreasing likelihood of a finish, and the duration of a fight.

In the women’s weight divisions, the chance of a late finish is among the lowest in all weight classes. Digging around in Nunes’ record, I actually came across an interesting trend. In her entire UFC career, Nunes has either won in round one, or has gone the full distance and won on the cards. This means that you could split up your stake two-fold, and place half on Nunes in round 1, and Nunes via Decision to, perhaps, be guaranteed a nice little payout.

I think Nunes is headed towards a trilogy bout with Valentina Shevchenko or a superfight with Kayla Harrison. Nobody insignificant, pardon my French, will be able to dethrone “The Lioness” until she faces someone that truly poses a threat.

Nunes vs. Pena Best Bet: Nunes via Decision (+400)

UFC 269 Welterweight Bout
Geoff Neal vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Just before the UFC 269 co-main kicks off, we have Geoff Neal taking on Santiago Ponzinibbio in a battle of striking at 170-pounds. Geoff Neal was one of the division’s most touted prospects at one point in time, but a run-in with striking prodigy Stephen Thompson derailed his title aspirations.

Neal would then go on to face divisional veteran, Neil Magny, and came up short once the scorecards were tallied. Both fighters are mainly strikers, and on paper this is a close fight. However, I have a pick in this fight which I’m fairly confident in. Let me explain why.

Santiago Ponzinibbio was another guy expected to fight for gold in the 170-pound division at some point in time, but after medical conditions kept him out of the cage for the better part of two years, Santiago had his seven-fight win streak ruined upon returning by “The Leech”.

Ponzinibbio did however bounce back in his most recent outing, scoring a unanimous decision win over young up-and-comer Miguel Baeza, in a fight-of-the-night-bonus earning bout. The key difference between these two is targeted areas on their opponents’ bodies. Santiago uses crisp boxing up top, but also relies on kicks and elbows to do damage when up close. Neal also possesses said crispness in the boxing department too, but he lacks the rest.

If you are lucky, you will see Neal throwing a kick at either his opponent’s body or legs, and that’s not good in this day and age in MMA. Neal was completely outclassed by Stephen Thompson as far the scorecards are concerned, and looked puzzled in his most recent outing against Neil Magny, a fight which he lost despite being favored to win.


Geoff Neal has lost two straight fights via decision. (UFC)

Neal’s issue is his inability to adapt during his fights. In my book, a game plan against a long guy like Magny should entail lots of leg kicks and clinch work, yet Neal completely abandoned both of these things and opted for striking from a distance with Magny, who had a five-inch reach advantage over Neal.

Ponzinibbio is far more gritty, and is savvy enough in the sport to keep going in the face of resistance. Neal tends to lose focus whenever things aren’t going his way. He can’t afford that against a striker like Ponzinibbio, who will eat him up with a wide array of strikes. Age is in favor of Geoff here, but I just can’t shake the vibe the 31-year old has given me in his last two outings. There is a definite lack of composure.

In a striking bout like this, the power being thrown from both men could result in a KO on either side. However, going the distance I only see one winner, and that’s Ponzinibbio. For that simple reason, I can’t back Neal who only has a puncher’s chance in my mind.

Neal vs. Ponzinibbio Best Bet: Santiago Ponzinibbio via Decision (+240)

UFC 269 Flyweight Bout
Kai Kara France vs. Cody Garbrandt

Former UFC Bantamweight champion, Cody Gabrandt, moves down to test the waters at 125-pounds against striking-savvy Kai Kara-France. Consistency has not been Garbrandt’s friend as of late, as his last five bouts have seen him getting his hand raised just one time.

Cody is mainly a striker whose speed is blinding when in his element. Durability has been an issue from him in the past however, as well as controlling his emotions. He has lost by way of knockout in three of his last four losses. If this fight happened back in the day when Cody was on top, I would not be concerned with his move to Flyweight. However, his motivation for this jump in weight is important to detail.

We’ve seen this weight division change before from veteran fighters struggling in their weight classes before, and things rarely get better for them in a new division. As of late, the only case where the losses haven’t added up after a move in weight is Jose Aldo, who just destroyed Rob Font last weekend.

Striking-wise I think Garbrandt will have a speed advantage, but in the later rounds I expect a more technical Kara-France to pick up the pace and tire out Garbrandt. The size is possibly even, with Garbrandt holding the advantage in height, and Kai holding the advantage in reach.

Overall though, I think we are seeing a fighter in rapid decline when looking at Garbrandt, and the metrics seem to back this up. The fact that Cody has won two of his last seven rounds that have gone the distance worries me greatly, and it’s not like he has only lost to the best of the best either. Garbrandt carries lots of name recognition, so I’m not surprised by the fact that he’s favored to win, but I reckon France is the side to go with here.

France fights out of the acclaimed City Kickboxing gym with team mates such as Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker and Alexander Volkanovski. With the right game plan, this could be a great win for the young up-and-comer. Garbrandt needs to wrestle to win here, but he rarely adopts a wrestling heavy game plan, so I don’t think we will see him do that this weekend. Give me the more motivated up-and-coming fighter over the withered veteran with more mileage on the clock.

France vs. Garbrandt Best Bet: Kai Kara-France ML (+110)

UFC 269 Bantamweight Bout
Raulian Paiva vs. Sean O'Malley

Striking prospect Sean O’Malley gets his toughest test to date this weekend as he takes on 21-3 veteran Raulian Paiva.

O’Malley’s bread and butter is his striking. In spite of not always fighting top competition in the cage, he has amassed the largest striking differential in UFC history throughout his seven-fight UFC tenure.

Sean’s movement and the angles he uses to hit his opponents are his biggest strengths, and even in his one loss he was looking strong until he lost.

Weakness-wise, durability isn’t Sean’s friend, and in the cage we’ve seen him suffer from a multitude of injuries. His legs have specifically seemed injury prone, and it only really took one good leg kick to make him a one-legged fighter against Marlon Vera, in a fight which he would eventually lose.

That said, Paiva will be completely outmatched at range in this fight. If he wants to win this, he needs to get in close and grind his way to a greasy decision.

Paiva needs to smother O’Malley with clinch strikes and takedown attempts, and constantly strike his legs.

Way back in the day, former UFC champion, Benson Henderson, actually implemented a leg-strike focused gameplan against Nate Diaz, and even threw jabs at that lead leg. I reckon we will need to see something similar from Paiva if he wants to win, but unfortunately I don’t see Raulian possessing that kind of high-level fighting IQ.

I really think the matchmakers are throwing O’Malley one last bone before forcing him to face the top 15 guys for the rest of his career. I see this being his last unranked opponent in the UFC.

So to sum it all up, Sean is the far better striker in every way, and the only way I see him losing is if he injures himself in the cage.

All things considered, I think the moneyline on Sean is justifiable. I’ll happily back him each time he faces a pure striker, as he has that aforementioned striking differential.

I’m on the O’Malley hype train here.

Paiva vs. O’Malley Best Bet: Sean O’Malley ML (-333)

UFC 269 Featherweight Bout
Josh Emmett vs. Dan Ige

In the featured preliminary bout of UFC 269, Josh Emmett takes on Dan Ige in the Featherweight division.

Pound for pound, Josh Emmett is one of the hardest punchers on the roster. He has amassed nine knockdowns in nine UFC fights. I definitely give him the striking advantage in this fight.

Ige is more of a well-rounded guy with some wrestling in his back pocket, but tends to struggle against guys strong enough to puck him around in the clinch.

I think Emmett will have the strength advantage.

If this was the sum of all factors affecting this matchup, I’d confidently pick Emmett, but unfortunately, the guy has been injury prone for quite a while since 2020, and has not fought in two and a half years coming into this weekend’s bout.

Emmett’s absence means that he is no longer on the young side, unfortunately for him, and Ige has a great age advantage in this fight.

The thing is, Ige needs to wrestle to win here, and he rarely keeps guys down for a long period of time and wins due to control time.

I think Emmett keeps this on the feet and punishes Ige with that power of his. In spite of the x-factor being the hiatus on Emmett’s side, I think this is a nightmare matchup for the younger Dan Ige.

Ige has never been finished though, and he has that aforementioned wrestling to fall back on if he gets hurt. We’ve seen him do this before - he is very adept at surviving.

Emmett vs. Ige Best Bet: Josh Emmett via Decision (+175)

UFC 269 Bantamweight Bout
Pedro Munhoz vs. Dominick Cruz

Former Bantamweight champion and title challenger, Dominick Cruz, returns to take on Pedro Munhoz.

Cruz is mostly known by the hardcore fans for his rivalries with Urijah Faber and TJ Dillashaw back in the day.

Due to injuries Cruz was kept out of competition for three years after losing his belt to Cody Garbrandt in 2016, and came back to face defeat at the hands of Henry Cejudo in 2020.

The former champion was able to bounce back with a win over Casey Kenney in May however, and now he’s looking to get back in there and get a win streak going.

Pedro Munhoz, is a hard-hitting striker with murderous leg kicks. If you’re aware of how Cruz fights you know he relies a lot on his movement and footwork.

Before even digging into this fight I thought the leg kicks of Munhoz would be the x-factor in this bout, and watching tape on both guys increased my confidence in that prediction.

Cruz’ footwork is unrivalled, but only when he’s allowed to bounce around. We’ve seen in the past that if opponents take his legs apart, his main weapon can be taken away. Cejudo was able to do this in their fight.

Munhoz’ main weapon is his leg kicks, and in some fights he even throws more leg kicks than head strikes.

Grappling-wise Cruz probably has the wrestling advantage, but in turn Munhoz has the submission advantage over the former champion so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a striking bout on Saturday.

I feel like the power advantage goes to Munhoz overall, and Cruz tends to win on the scorecards. I give technique to Cruz in a boxing fight, but I can’t see a scenario where Cruz’ legs aren’t beat up badly by the end of the first round. It’ll all be downhill from there.

There’s also a factor of Munhoz being a consistent contender in the 135-pound division, fighting the best, whereas Cruz was sitting on the sidelines for the better part of three years up until one year ago.

All in all, I favor Munhoz and his leg kicks on Saturday.

Munhoz vs. Cruz Best Bet: Pedro Munhoz via Decision (+175)

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT
AUGUSTO SAKAI VS. TAI TUIVASA

I feel like this is a fight between two guys wanting to be the new addition to the Heavyweight division’s top ten.

Sakai started off his UFC tenure with a four-fight unbeaten run in the promotion but ran into problems in his fifth fight as he faced veteran Alistair Overeem. He would go on to lose his next bout as well and has lost two straight heading into this weekend’s bout.

Augusto is a bit of a statistical abnormality in terms of his fighting style as he usually tends to either get a late finish or go the full fifteen to win. More often than not we see heavyweight bouts end inside the first round, and Tuivasa ticks that box with the style he brings.

Tai is without a doubt the younger and more fan-friendly fighter compared to his opponent, but Sakai’s strength of schedule is the x-factor in this fight.

Sakai has faced off against some of the best in the heavyweight division, and despite not getting his hand raised in all of those outings, I still feel like Tuivasa belongs to the lower ranks of the weight class.

Just take a look at Tuivasa's record - you’ll find wins over fairly insignificant opponents and losses to the bigger names.

As I said, Tuivasa is the fan-friendly fighter in this bout, but when you really break it down the level of competition between these two makes me side with the more battle-tested Sakai.

Sakai’s cardio and point-fighting abilities should also make him the fresher fighter in the later rounds, and that’s a big advantage at this weight class in my book.

Either Tuivasa gets him out of there early, or Sakai wins on the cards. I’ll put my two cents on the latter of those outcomes happening.

Tuivasa vs. Sakai Best Bet: Augusto Sakai via Decision (+275)

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT
JORDAN WRIGHT VS. BRUNO SILVA

Kicking off the UFC 269 prelims, we have a middleweight barn burner between two strikers.

Jordan Wright is the younger guy in this fight, but I still consider Bruno Silva a more noteworthy prospect based on his lengthy pro career with big wins over unbeaten prodigies in Russia.

Wright is a brawling striker which is certainly seen in his metrics. “The Beverly Hills Ninja” averages over seven strikes, both landed and absorbed per minute. He can dish it out but he certainly eats a lot too.

Perhaps attributable to his long career, Bruno has a far more technical and patient approach to fighting. He can get you out of there in round one, don’t get me wrong, but seeing him slowly break down a guy like Andrew Sanchez and go on to finish him in round three is a giant notch in Silva’s belt.

Level-wise, Wright has never faced anyone close to the average opponent of Silva, and the strength of schedule is giant here.

There’s a size advantage that favors Wright here, but we know from experience that if such a size advantage isn’t backed up by an advantage in the metrics, it rarely holds any significance unless it is extreme. The difference in reach is only three inches.

Wright is the kind of guy who does his best work when he is leading the dance, but when he gets pressured he doesn’t react well at all.

Durability is also a question mark for Jordan who has been knocked out twice in his last four bouts.

Silva will be calm and collected as always, and his experience is the x-factor at play here. I can see him possibly dropping the first round to negate the danger from Wright, and then coming on strong to get a second or third-round KO.

All in all, I would be extremely surprised to see Silva lose this weekend. Wright is not young enough for me to believe he can make massive improvements, and Silva has a great amount of experience to draw from.

Wright vs. Silva Best Bet: Bruno Silva via Knockout (-175)

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT
ANDRE MUNIZ VS. ERYK ANDERS

Grappler versus striker.

Muniz is a grappling prospect who jumped on most fans’ radars in May with a submission win over one of the best MMA grapplers ever, in Jacare Souza. Muniz is 3-0 in the UFC with two submissions and one decision. Prior to getting signed, it took two wins on DWCS to net a contract.

Anders is the striker in this fight and has been signed to the UFC since 2017. From then until now he has already had 12 UFC fights so the guy has been very active for sure.

If you’re backing Anders here you’re essentially saying that Muniz will not be able to get takedowns in this fight. Anders is a brawler, and Muniz has been KO’ed four times in the past, so if Anders is able to make this fight dirty in the later rounds I could see him make something happen.

That said, if Darren Stewart, predominantly a striker, is able to take you down twice, I can’t imagine what someone like Muniz will do to you.

Looking into potential weaknesses on the side of the favorite, Muniz is usually comfortable spending time on the bottom because he is so confident in his submission skills. In the past, he has always been able to get that submission, even from the bottom, so he has a cause for that confidence, but things become increasingly difficult on the big stage.

I really hope Muniz will start shooting for takedown straight from the get-go, and that he won’t pull guard - Anders could be savvy enough to keep top position and win a round with control time.

Anders being a brawler will still be his shortcoming this weekend though, and that forward pressure should expose his hips for a takedown at some point in the first round, where Muniz will sink in a submission.

Muniz vs. Anders Best Bet: Andre Muniz via Submission (+120)

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT
MIRANDA MAVERICK VS. ERIN BLANCHFIELD

Two of the brightest prospects in the women’s 125-pound division face off this weekend.

Both fighters are very well-versed in the grappling department, so I expect this one to play out on the feet for the most part.

Maverick is the more experienced in the octagon with a total of three UFC bouts to Blanchfield’s single UFC win.

Miranda came up short in her last bout in a very controversial decision against Maycee Barber.

Maverick is the more established UFC fighter, but I think Blanchfield has flown under the radar for most fans out there.

In her debut, she bested Sarah Alpar over three rounds, landing 120 strikes and three takedowns, while only absorbing 41 punches. She won two of the three rounds 10-8.

I think Maverick is a very strong grappler, but standing she can be bested with pressure - Barber exposed her a bit in that regard.

As I mentioned, Blanchfield has flown under the radar of most fans, which is why I think we’re getting underdog odds on her this weekend.

Any fighter that can land three times as many strikes as she absorbs is very high level, so the only way to bet this fight, in my mind, is to side with the underdog.

Finally I’ll mention that we have seen Maverick against good grapplers before such as Gillian Robertson, and the contest was very even on the ground. Erin has a strong ground game too - at least good enough to keep it standing and win on the feet - so I’m picking her this weekend.

Maverick vs. Blanchfield Best Bet: Erin Blanchfield ML (+115)

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT
RYAN HALL VS. DARRICK MINNER

Two submission artists lock horns at UFC 269.

Ryan Hall made the leap into the UFC after winning his season on TUF. He would go on to win four straight in the UFC, but was kept out of competition due to injuries and bouts falling out.

Hall finally returned in July after a two-year hiatus and was stopped by way of knockout by the end of the first round.

I feel like Hall has been exposed for what he is at this point, which is a one-trick pony. Said one-trick of his is the ground game, but if you’re able to keep the fight standing he rarely does well.

Against the level of competition Hall has faced, his lacklustre striking prowess have held up, but as the level of competition increases his striking has been exposed.

Hall’s go-to weapons are the imanari roll or pulling guard.

Darrick Minner is a good grappler himself, but composure has been the heel of his career. He is a kill-or-be-killed fighter who either wins in round one, or ends up finished himself.

I want to express how much I respect fighters that step in the octagon, but I don’t think calling Minner a quitter is far from the truth. At least this has been the case in the past.

That said, his newly-found coach, James Krause, seems to have bettered his mental fortitude to a great extent.

How great, however, we will have to see on Saturday, but I expect Krause to have gameplaned appropriately for Ryan Hall, and to have prepared his fighter to keep the fight standing.

If Minner is able to keep this fight on the feet, he should be able to pressure Hall up against the fence and do some good work in the clinch.

Hall’s striking toolbox really only has a wheel kick and a leg kick.

Ryan is also quite old at this point in his career, and Minner will have a seven-year age advantage.

All in all, if Minner decides to grapple he will lose, but if he implements an intelligent gameplan that plays into Hall’s very visible weaknesses, he should be able to win.

Because of the odds I’ll side with the ‘dog. It’s more of a fade of Hall than anything else, really, as I think the skill set he possesses won’t last long in the modern era of MMA.

Hall vs. Minner Best Bet: Darrick Minner ML (+165)

BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT
RANDY COSTA VS. TONY KELLEY

Following a KO loss to 135-pound prospect, Adrian Yanez, Randy Costa returns this weekend at UFC 269 as he eyes a W over newly-signed Tony Kelley.

Kelley is relatively grizzled despite only making his third octagon walk this weekend, but he has never been knocked out in his career, and that will most likely be the x-factor in this fight.

Randy Costa always excels in the first round, but in bouts that have gone past the first round he has a 100% losing rate so far.

Costa utilizes his long reach extremely well and lands with full extension on all of his shots, but composure is a big issue for the youngster and he needs to make adjustments if he wants to remain in the UFC in the future.

In my mind it’s like this: If both men enter the octagon and perform like they did in their respective last bouts, Kelley should be heavily favored to win. Tony has never been knocked out!

I also think Kelley has the definite advantage on the ground, and the overextension of Costa could make him eligible for getting taken down at some point. Once on the ground, the submission should present itself for Tony.

All in all, the age discrepancy is the only red flag for Kelley in this bout but there are red flags on the side of Costa that are more significant in my opinion.

At this level, you must be able to go the full fifteen and win a greasy decision. I’m not so sure Costa can do that, based on his historical tendency to lose fights that go past round one.

The red flags on the side of the favorite makes the ‘dog worth a shot here.

Costa vs. Kelley Best Bet: Tony Kelley ML (+145)

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT
GILLIAN ROBERTSON VS. PRISCILA CACHOEIRA

Serving as the opening bout to a stacked UFC 269 event, wrestling Gillian Robertson takes on the striking Priscila Cachoeira.

Robertson wants to wrestle, Cachoeira wants to stand and strike.

I don’t believe this fight needs a lengthy breakdown, as Cachoeira has lost similar matchups, and Robertson has won similar matchups.

Cachoeira missed weight for this bout which is a big red flag as an underdog.

Robertson has a control time average of about 50%, meaning she tends to control half of the fights she’s in from the top.

I have to believe that Robertson, who has trained at ATT, has the veteran experience in her back pocket to beat an opponent like Cachoeira.

This matchup seems like a layup for the 26-year old Robertson, who really needs a win after losing her last two straight.

Cachoeira has a puncher’s chance, and at this weight class, we just don’t see blitz knockouts often.

Priscila also missed weight quite badly, and she didn’t look good on the scale. One can only question how she will feel in the octagon.

The wrestler imposes her will here.

Robertson vs. Cachoeira Best Bet: Gillian Robertson ML (-400)


  
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