UFC 269 preview: Back Dustin Poirier, Amanda Nunes and Sean O’Malley to light up Las Vegas

The UFC hosts its final pay-per-view event of the year as Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira clash in a lightweight championship bout.

In the co-main event, women's bantamweight phenomenon Amanda Nunes faces off against Julianna Pena for the championship.

If that wasn't enough, the hype-train of 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley will be on the card in a battle of bantamweight contenders against Raulian Paiva.

Charles Oliveira vs Dustin Poirier - Poirier to win at 4/6

Charles Oliveira of Brazil

The headliner for UFC 269 pits lightweight champion Charles Oliveira against former interim champion Dustin Poirier.

Oliveira has been on the best run of his UFC career. The Brazilian has strung together nine-straight wins for the MMA leader - including handing Tony Ferguson his first UFC defeat in a decade last December.

Do Bronx also inflicted Michael Chandler with his first loss with the promotion in a title bout last May. He secured a TKO victory early in the second round - his third knockout in five fights.

The 32-year-old has proven to be a danger in the standup and on the mat as during his winning streak, the Brazilian rattled off four straight submission wins between June 2018 and February 2019.

Despite his unmatched lightweight win streak, Oliveira doesn't enter this matchup as the favorite. In fact, he's a 5/4 outsider with Planet Sport Bet.

Dustin Poirier reacts during weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena.

On this occasion, we're going to side with the bookmakers and back the favorite, Dustin Poirier.

The American has had a taste of championship success in the lightweight division. He held the interim belt after defeating Max Holloway in April 2019, before succumbing to Khabib Nurmagomedov on Fight Island.

Poirier's focus recently drifted from title bouts as he entered a long-standing feud with Irish superstar Conor McGregor. But after back-to-back victories over the Notorious McGregor, Poirier sights are set on Oliveira.

The 32-year-old is the favorite - if the fight stays on the feet. The Lafayette native has been able to stand with some of the best boxers in the lightweight division and win. He outdueled McGregor twice, beat Dan Hooker after the Khabib loss, and defeated Justin Gaethje in a four-round war.

Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Pena - Nunes to win at 1/9

Amanda Nunes interacts with media

The co-main event is the women's bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena.

Nunes has dominated the women's division since she entered the UFC. The 33-year-old claimed the bantamweight title from Miesha Tate in 2016, before becoming a dual champ as she beat Cristiane Justino in under a minute.

The Brazil native is the best striker in the division. She has won 13 fights via knockout or TKO in her 21 professional fights - including ending six fights in the UFC within the first round. So, if Nunes gets her hands on Pena early, it could be game over for the challenger. Therefore, we aren't betting against Nunes at 1/9.

The underdog in this fight is Julianna Pena at 6/1. These odds reflect the dominance Nunes has shown, but Pena has been a serial contender in the bantamweight division. Over her last four fights, she's alternated wins and losses, including a loss to Valentina Shevchenko (a fighter Nunes has beaten on two occasions).

Despite her being an outsider, Pena seems unfazed by the Lioness. On September 15, 2016, only two months after Nunes first won the bantamweight title, Pena called her rival out on Instagram saying: "Amanda is ducking me!"

Raulian Paiva vs Sean O'Malley - O'Malley to win at 3/10

Sean O'Malley reacts during weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena.

Ever since his debut on Dana White's Contender Series, Sean O'Malley has been a character and fighter that fans are drawn to. Whether It's his McGregor-like swagger or his electric standup fights, O'Malley makes headlines whenever he's in the octagon.

We expect another win this weekend. The Sugar Show rebounded from his first defeat, with back-to-back victories over Kris Moutinho and Thomas Almeida earlier in 2021. O'Malley is looking to make 2021 an unbeaten year with a victory over Raulian Paiva on Saturday.

As for Paiva, he is on a hot streak himself under the UFC banner. The Brazilian is on a three-fight run after dropping the first two fights of his career. One of the losses was to a fellow fighter on UFC 269 - Kai Kara-France.

He is the underdog at 5/2 but we think O'Malley's hype continues as he breaks into the UFC rankings.

Other tips for the card

Geoff Neal to beat Santiago Ponzinibbio at 1/1

Tai Tuivasa to beat Augusto Sakai at 10/11

Kai Kara-France to beat Cody Garbrandt at 6/5

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