LAS VEGAS – Will no longer be underrated Charles Oliveira.
Oliveira weathered an early storm and then finished Poirier with a knockdown (bareback strike) in 1 minute 2 seconds of the third round on Saturday night during the main event of UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena . With the win, Oliveira kept the UFC lightweight belt.
“I’m the world champion,” Oliveira said in a postfight interview through an interpreter. “I’m a man. They talk. I do it.”
Oliveira, the greatest submitter in UFC history, is rated +115, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
He won the belt with a TKO victory in the second round Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May. It was Oliveira’s 28th UFC fight, the longest journey by any fighter to the UFC title in history. However, he remained unheralded with more common names like Poirier near the top of the division. It would be hard to doubt “Do Bronx” anymore.
Coming to ESPN, Poirier ranked 5th and Oliveira ranked 6th in the world on his MMA list by pound. In lightweight, ESPN has Poirier at number 1 and Oliveira at number 2.
On Saturday, Poirier rocked Oliveira several times in the first round, once knocking him out with a wicked left hook. But Oliveira survived the collision and picked up momentum late in the half with a big left hook.
“They can hit me a lot,” Oliveira said. “I will go forward.”
Oliveira beat Poirier early in the second round and remained at the top, landing with a stiff elbow for most of the round. In the third installment, Oliveira swoops into the cage and immediately supports Poirier’s back with Poirier to his feet. Oliveira, who had one of the deadliest comebacks in MMA, searched and found it despite Poirier trying to get his hands on.
“I didn’t let the opportunity slip by,” Oliveira said at a post-fight news conference. “I always say I have opportunistic jiu-jitsu. When I see it, I can’t give it up and I have to.”
Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC), 32, has won 10 in a row, tied for the second longest running streak in the UFC behind Kamaru Usman15 in line. He took home the empty title with a win over Chandler after the former champion Khabib Nurmagomedovretired and vacated his title last year.
A Brazilian native, Oliveira has the most shots (18) and the most wins (15) in UFC history. He had a 20-8 (1 NC) record in the UFC when he made his debut in 2010 and is one of only nine fighters in history to win 20 UFC fights.
Poirier (28-7, 1 NC), the former UFC interim lightweight champion, has beaten McGregor twice this year, the latter being a doctor’s TKO stoppage of McGregor at UFC 264 in July when McGregor broken leg. Poirier, a Louisiana native who fights out of Florida, has won three straight fights and lost just one of his previous 10 fights, against Nurmagomedov in a title fight at UFC 242 in September 2019. Poirier, 32, has the most KOs/TKOs won in UFC lightweight history (8).
“I took him down some good, clean shots,” Poirier said. “I thought I would knock him out in the first round. He’s a champion.
Poirier said in his post-fight news conference that he knows he can return to another title fight, but he’s not sure if that’s what he wants to do.
UFC President Dana White Says Former Interim Champion Justin Gaethje “makes sense” as Oliveira’s next challenger. Gaethje defeated Chandler last month at UFC 268.
Gaethje made a number of disparaging remarks about Oliveira, making his heart doubt. Oliveira brushed that off on Saturday night.
“Look what they said about me,” Oliveira said. “They say I can’t take the hits – look at what I’m doing. They say I give up – look at what I’m doing. I’ll keep doing what I do.”
Oliveira also takes aim at Nurmagomedov, the legendary former champion who has said he is backing Poirier in this fight but tweeted his congratulations to Oliveira late on Saturday.
This is the era of his light division, says Oliveira.
“History and legacy have a new name,” he said, “and that’s Charles Oliveira.”
https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/32849024/charles-oliveira-submits-dustin-poirier-remain-ufc-lightweight-champion Charles Oliveira subdues Dustin Poirier to remain UFC lightweight champion