The more than 18,000 spectators in attendance at UFC 269 got their money’s worth on Saturday night. The night was headlined by Brazil’s Charles Oliveira and America’s Dustin Poirier and it was electric.
The card started off with a bantamweight matchup between Raulian Paiva (21-4-0) and Sean “Suga” O’Malley (15-1-0). O’Malley, only 27, is still trying to make a name for himself, despite his nearly flawless record and fan-favorite status. Paiva, prior to his fight against Kyler Phillips in July and Saturday against O’Malley, had not fought in about a year, but was looking to extend his three-match win streak. Unfortunately for him, it was all Suga on Saturday. The match was as one-sided as the stats show. O’Malley landed 40 of his 63 total strikes on Paiva, who managed to only land 11 of his 47. The match ended just shy of the 4:42 mark via an O’Malley knockout. Fans rose to their feet as Suga Sean jumped and straddled the fence to celebrate his 5th career knockout victory. “Well another easy one for Suga Sean. Move him up,” said retired UFC fighter Ben Askren on Twitter after the fight.
The next major match was Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes. Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest female fighter of all time, but Peña bet on herself from the very beginning. The stats show a somewhat lopsided victory, but Nunes was able to hold on until the 3:26 mark of round two. Peña pulled off one of, if not the biggest, upsets in women’s combat history. By the time the main event started, UFC fans were spoiled with two historic fights, but it did not end there.
Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveria got the crowd hyped from the moment they stepped foot in the octagon. Poirier coming off his trilogy against the infamous Connor Mcgregor looked to add yet another “W” in the column, but it was all Oliveria. Despite Poirier landing upwards of 60 percent of his strikes, Oliveria’s three takedown attempts were enough to force a submission in the third round. Though an exceedingly brutal fight, the two met after the decision in a much friendlier encounter than MMA fans are used to. The night ended with a powerful statement by the 32-year old world champion who many think was calling out a future opponent. “I’m a world champion, I’m the man. They talk and I do.”