The final UFC PPV event of 2021 is here. The year opened with Dustin Poirier looking for revenge against Conor McGregor in what would be the second fight of their trilogy in Abu Dhabi and will close with the former interim lightweight champion looking to cement his legacy with an undisputed title in the main event of UFC 269 against current titleholder Charles Oliveira. Both fighters enter on massive win streaks and are operating near the peak of their respective primes.
The co-main event features Amanda Nunes, champion at both bantamweight and featherweight, defending her 135-pound title against Julianna Pena. Nunes has not lost a fight since 2014 while going on arguably the most impressive run in the history of MMA, male or female. Nunes has defeated every woman to ever hold the bantamweight or featherweight titles, including crushing knockouts of Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg.
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With so much happening on Saturday night, let's take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to our staff predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.
UFC 269 fight card, odds
- Dustin Poirier -160 vs. Charles Oliveira (c) +135, lightweight championship
- Amanda Nunes (c) -900 vs. Julianna Pena +600, women's bantamweight championship
- Santiago Ponzinibbio -130 vs. Geoff Neal +110, welterweight
- Cody Garbrandt -140 vs. Kai Kara-France +120, flyweight
- Sean O'Malley -310 vs. Raulian Paiva +260, bantamweight
- Josh Emmett -165 vs. Dan Ige +140, featherweight
- Pedro Munhoz -115 vs. Dominick Cruz -105, bantamweight
- Augusto Sakai -110 vs. Tai Tuivasa -110, heavyweight
- Bruno Silva -360 vs. Jordan Wright +280, middleweight
- Andre Muniz -155 vs. Eryk Anders +130, middleweight
- Miranda Maverick -135 vs. Erin Blanchfield +115, women's flyweight
- Ryan Hall -200 vs. Darrick Minner +170, featherweight
- Randy Costa -180 vs. Tony Kelley+155, bantamweight
- Gillian Robertson -360 vs. Priscila Cachoeira +280, women's flyweight
With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer, co-host of "Morning Kombat"), Matthew Coca (producer), Jack Crosby (editor), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (senior editor).
UFC 269 picks, predictions
|Oliveira (c) vs. Poirier||Poirier||Oliveira||Poirier||Poirier||Poirier||Poirier|
|Nunes (c) vs. Pena||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes|
|Neal vs. Ponzinibbio||Ponzinibbio||Ponzinibbio||Ponzinibbio||Neal||Ponzinibbio||Ponzinibbio|
|Garbrandt vs. France||France||France||Garbrandt||Garbrandt||Garbrandt||France|
|O'Malley vs. Paiva||O'Malley||O'Malley||O'Malley||O'Malley||O'Malley||O'Malley|
|Records to date (2021)||41-19||40-20||41-19||40-20||39-21||36-24|
Campbell on why Poirier will win: Poirier, the uncrowned lightweight champion and immovable object at 155 pounds, looks to cement his Hall-of-Fame resume against the irresistible force that is Oliveira. The defending champion has proven he can finish anyone, any way and at any point in a fight. Oliveira holds UFC records for both finishes and submission wins. But the native of Brazil won't be able to lure Poirier into the kind of reckless brawl that Michael Chandler so willingly took part in during their vacant title bout. Look for the battle-tested Poirier to take this fight into the championship rounds to allow Oliveira's gambling style to create an unforced error. That's when Poirier's experience at the highest level will kick in and create an opportunity to finish the fight.
Brookhouse on why Oliveira will win: Poirier is a wonderful fighter and deservedly considered the best lightweight on the planet. He is, however, not a perfect fighter and is someone who can be forced into uncomfortable situations. Against Dan Hooker, Poirier was forced into such spots. And, in the rare moments where Conor McGregor had success in the last two fights with Poirier, it was a mixture of aggression and openings left by Poirier that created those opportunities. Oliveira is an underdog for good reason but upsets happen and this fight feels like a perfect situation where Oliveira's combination of aggression and otherworldly ability to turn mistakes into finishes will allow him to throw the sport for a loop.
Campbell on why Nunes will win: Pena has said all of the right things to secure her first title shot and enters this matchup against the greatest female fighter in MMA history with the right mindset. Make no mistake, "The Venezuelan Vixen" is certainly coming to win. But hunger on its own can't make up for the large gap in skill between the two. Not only is Nunes lacking in any holes in her game, Pena has yet to really maximize her potential in a single fight. She's just 2-2 in the past five years, losing soundly to current or former champions Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie. Pena is in this position more because of the division's lack of depth. Expect Nunes to try and make a point of taking the fight to the ground just so she can show that even fighting on Pena's terms won't make a difference. Nunes is the G.O.A.T. for a reason.
Brookhouse on why Ponzinibbio will win: This is a high-risk fight. Either man could get the win here depending on a number of factors. Ponzinibbio has to figure out a way to keep up pressure while avoiding getting put to sleep by Neal. Neal is a finisher and Ponzinibbio has been finished, including just two fights ago when he was knocked out by Li Jingliang. Still, Neal waits on perfect shots too often while Ponzinibbio is happy to throw at high volumes. If Neal is able to keep up a good pace and forward pressure, he could well win this, but Ponzinibbio may win this just through the application of pace and volume over three rounds.
Campbell on why France will win: Riding a streak of three losses in four fights, Cody Garbrandt is entering desperation territory in his flyweight debut. The former bantamweight king remains the betting favorite because of his size and power but cutting down to a weight class he has never fought at brings some legitimate concerns. Garbrandt saw firsthand just how hard it was for his longtime rival TJ Dillashaw to attempt the same move. Should Garbrandt be compromised in terms of stamina or punch resistance by the cut, Kara-France is the perfect fighter to expose that. The product of City Kickboxing in New Zealand is quick and sharp in his attack. He's also in need of this type of signature victory to launch him into title contention. Garbrandt should be dangerous early Kara-France's movement will be the difference.
Wise on why O'Malley will win: Another fight, another setup position for O'Malley. It's tough to get excited about these contests when it's clear that he refuses to take on more difficult opponents until either UFC raises his pay or his contract expires. Paiva can bring some danger to this bout, but O'Malley's advantages in height, reach, speed and dynamism will be difficult to overcome. Barring a freak injury like what caused his first pro loss, O'Malley should cruise and possibly score another highlight-reel knockout.
Who wins Oliveira vs. Poirier? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 269, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $13,000 on MMA in the past 34 months, and find out.