Welcome to my betting breakdown for UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier.
With just two fight cards left in 202, the UFC will host its final PPV event of the year this Saturday night. UFC 269 is set to go down at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and has two title fights at the top of the bill. Charles Oliveira will look to defend his lightweight title for the first time in a main event fight against Dustin Poirier, who is coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Conor McGregor. In the co-main event, two-division champion Amanda Nunes will return to bantamweight and look to defend her 135 pound title for the first time in two years against Julianna Peña. This is a fourteen-fight card in total and is absolutely stacked from the first fight until the last. Some notable names on the card include Dominick Cruz, Pedro Munhoz, Sean O’Malley, and Cody Garbrandt. Currently, I have bets on six separate fights. It’s one of my most heavily-bet slates of the year. You can find all my plays for free in the FTN Bets Tracker.
I’ll be writing this column weekly, with extended breakdowns for up to three of my best bets, and occasionally some leans if I don’t have three plays. I will be in the FTNBets Discord for about two hours before the early preliminaries this weekend to answer any questions that readers might have. We'd love to continue building the community through Discord.
If you’re interested in DFS and betting takes for every fight on this card, you can check out The Undisputed MMA Show with Jon Kelly and me.
Silva is 2-0 inside the UFC octagon, with knockout victories over Wellington Turman and Andrew Sanchez. I don’t view Silva as someone with too many above-average skills. He is a poor wrestler and dropped two rounds against Sanchez due to control time. His power punching in the pocket is solid, but he doesn’t throw a ton of volume. However, Silva excels in terms of physicality and power. which we’ve seen in both the Turman and Sanchez fights.
Wright lost in under one minute on Contender Series three years ago but made his UFC debut in August of 2020 against Ike Villanueva. He’s currently 1-2 inside the UFC with all three fights ending by knockout. Stylistically, Wright is very offensive-minded as a striker with a variety of spinning attacks and a karate-based technique that oftentimes leaves him open to getting hit by his opponent. Wright had not fought a solid schedule prior to the UFC, but it is interesting to note that of his 14 career fights, none of them have gone more than six minutes. Wright is very much a “kill or be killed” fighter, meaning he is either going to finish his opponent or get finished himself while trying.
This is a spot that screams under. Wright has only been out of the first round twice in 14 career fights and Silva has 18 career knockout victories but has also been finished himself five times by submission. I expect this to be a spot where Silva is able to blitz Wright and make him uncomfortable, with the most likely result being a Silva knockout in round one. However, Silva is not someone I trust as a massive favorite and we know that Wright has the ability to end fights early himself. I think there’s a better than 50% chance this fight doesn’t last five minutes and we’re getting nice plus-money on the “doesn’t start round 2” market.
Bruno Silva/Jordan Wright Fight Does NOT Start Round 2 +140 1.5x until +130, 1x until +115. (Placed Thursday at FoxBet)
Munhoz has lost three of his last four fights in the UFC but has been very competitive with some of the top guys at 135 pounds for years now. Munhoz is a Brazilian brawler with devastating leg kick attacks and a high-level submission game. Stylistically, this is not a guy who is ever going to shy away from a firefight. Munhoz carries power in his hands, throws in volume, and is not afraid to get hit by his opponents in order to try and land his own offense. Munhoz has historically been a very durable fighter, having never been finished despite some absolute wars.
Cruz was out of action for nearly four years between December of 2016 and May of 2020 but is now set to fight for the third time in eighteen months. Cruz was knocked out by Henry Cejudo in his return fight before rebounding against Casey Kenney in March. Cruz is one of the most unique fighters in MMA history, known for his awkward footwork and ability to make opponents miss before countering with his own punches and takedowns. Cruz is just 36 years old, but there has been a lot of wear and tear along with serious injuries for him over the last decade, which makes him a tough fighter to trust.
In terms of how I see this fight playing out, I think there are two key factors that will determine who comes out on top in a fight that is being lined as a coin flip. The first major factor is Munhoz’s leg kicks. Munhoz has landed 121 leg strikes over his last three fights and is likely going to be leaning on that technique a lot in this matchup against Cruz, who historically has not dealt well with leg kicks. Cruz has a movement-heavy style. He struggles if his opponents are able to take away his mobility. The second-biggest factor in this matchup is how likely Cruz is to land takedowns. Historically, Cruz has landed about three takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage, but Munhoz has an elite 80% takedown defense and possesses a very dangerous guillotine choke that Cruz will need to be careful of. If Cruz can secure takedowns, he will look like a favorite. If he’s either unsuccessful at attempting takedowns or shies away from shooting takedowns because of Munhoz’s guillotine, he’s likely to be in some trouble.
One line that I found to be completely wild for this fight was Munhoz -150 in the Finish-Only market, meaning that the bet will be void if the fight goes the distance. Munhoz is the much more dangerous fighter in this matchup and capable of winning via finish, whereas Cruz is more likely to win a decision. My other play on this fight is the fight to hit the scorecards at -160. This was just a pure numbers play as this line should be closer to -215. It is possible that both of these bets lose if Cruz wins inside the distance, but that’s only a 5-8% outcome here.
Pedro Munhoz/Dominick Cruz Fight Goes The Distance -159 1x until -175. (Placed Thursday)
Pedro Munhoz FINISH ONLY MONEYLINE (IF DECISION NO ACTION) -150 2.5x until -150, 2x until -167, 1.5x until -186, 1x until -210. (Placed Wednesday at DraftKings)
Poirier is coming off back-to-back knockout victories over Conor McGregor and has never seen his stock higher than it will be this weekend in his second attempt to become undisputed UFC champion. Poirier has held a piece of UFC gold in his career when he became interim champion against Max Holloway in 2019, but he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov later that year when unifying their belts. Stylistically, there is an argument to be made for Poirier being the best boxer currently in the UFC. He’s extremely accurate, carries knockout power at the weight class, and is able to supplement his power punches with a varied striking attack. Poirier also carries elite cardio and durability, which allows him to have an advantage over basically anybody in his division in the championship rounds of fights. The one concern with Poirer in this matchup is his defensive grappling, as his takedown defense is far from elite and he’s conceded dangerous positions to opponents before.
Oliveira is perhaps one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC despite being the champion of a premier weight class in the sport. After an up and down start to his career, “Do Bronx” has ripped off nine consecutive wins since 2017, with eight of those wins coming inside the distance. Oliveira is most known for his Brazillian jiu-jitsu, which makes sense considering that he holds the record for most submissions in UFC history. However, the Brazilian has made big strides in his striking over the last few years and throws straight punches, along with knees and elbows, that allow him to be dangerous anywhere the fight goes. One negative that has long been a topic of discussion surrounding Oliveira has been his durability and heart when things start slipping away from him in fights. His comeback against Michael Chandler in May should silence most of the talk around his heart and will to win, but it is worth noting that Oliveira was hurt in the first round of that fight and has never been somebody who absorbs damage well.
The prevailing public opinion surrounding this fight seems to be that Poirier holds the advantage on the feet and Oliveira holds an advantage on the ground. While I don’t disagree with either of those two assessments, I will note that I expect the striking to be competitive over the first round or so of this fight, if not longer. Poirier is a slick boxer but Oliveira should be able to contend with his technical striking prowess. However, I can see Oliviera getting into trouble if this becomes a war in the pocket. Additionally, I think it’s quite possible that Oliveria holds a bigger grappling advantage in this fight than many expect. Poirier has not faced many elite grapplers outside of Khabib (a fight in which he was forced to submit) and I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliveira was able to be extremely dominant should this fight hit the ground. My look in this fight was clearly the under, as I think both men are quite capable of winning this fight in a hurry. If Oliveira is unable to secure takedowns and avoid a fire-fight on the feet with Poirier, I expect him to get knocked out. However, the Brazilian is also extremely live for a finish, most likely via submission, but I wouldn’t rule out a knockout either. In terms of the side, I am picking Poirier to win the fight just because I feel like he’s the slightly more well-rounded martial artist, but I would only bet Oliveira at the current odds.
Dustin Poirier/Charles Oliveira Fight Does NOT Start Round 4 -152 2.5x until -167, 2x until -185, 1.5x until -208, 1x until -230. (Placed 11/25 at Fanduel)
A student at the University of Colorado and +EV bettor, Jonah will be contributing both MMA betting and DFS content at FTN. He’s studying journalism and sports media at CU, and this is his first job in the betting industry. Jonah is the MMA Dog of The Night Challenge champion amassing a 90% ROI in the contest and has been a profitable MMA bettor with tracked results. He is known for betting early lines and getting out ahead of the betting market, and looks forward to helping subscribers do the same!