Dustin Poirier fell short in his bid to finally win the UFC lightweight title as he was choked out by Charles Oliveira in the main event at UFC 269.
Oliveira piled the pressure on Poirier from the opening bell, but he was put down briefly by a punch from ‘The Diamond’ in the first 30 seconds.
The electric pace continued for the rest of the first round as Oliveira snuck knees in the clinch whilst Poirier was landing hard punches.
Poirier was then controlled by Oliveira on the ground in the second round as the Brazilian landed several hard elbows from the top position.
And at the start of the third round, Oliveira latched on to the back of Poirier and was working on securing a rear-naked choke.
Poirier tried to fight the hands of his opponent, but the crafty submission specialist sunk in the choke to force the tap from his challenger.
“I’m a world champion, I’m the man. They can hit me a lot, but I’m going to walk forward,” Oliveira said after the fight.
Poirier admitted he was surprised by Oliver’a durability and tried to drag his opponent into the later rounds to finish the fight.
“I landed some good clean shots and thought I was going to get him away in the first round,” he said. “My gameplan was to take my time; I brawled again when I wasn’t supposed to.
“The gameplan was to take him to the fourth or fifth round and take him apart.”
Oliveira was making the first defence of his title against Poirier having won the vacant title against Michael Chandler in May.
Poirier was fighting for the 155-pound title for the second time in his career, falling short against Khabib Nurmagomedov in his first bid at the belt in 2019 .
In the co-main event, two-weight champion Amanda Nunes suffered a shock loss to Julianna Pena as she was submitted in the second round.
Pena – who had only fought twice in two years – had a tough first round against the women’s pound-for-pound No.1 but started to find her rhythm on the feet in round two.
The American hurt Nunes and eventually took the fight to the ground, securing a rear-naked choke to provide one of the great upsets in UFC history.
Geoff Neal picked up his first win in two years and reasserted himself into the talent-packed 170-pound division by outpointing Santiago Ponzinibbio in a back and forth fight.
New Zealander Kai Kara-France spoiled the flyweight debut of Cody Garbrandt, dropping the former 135-pound champion twice before securing the walk-off knockout.
The charismatic Sean O’Malley picked up his third win on the bounce In the opening fight of the main card, knocking out Raulian Paiva in the first round.
In the preliminary fights, former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz survived two knockdowns to outpoint top contender Pedro Munhoz.
And to the roar of the Vegas crowd, fan favourite Tai Tuivasa proceeded to do a ‘shoey’ on top of the cage after knocking out Brazilian heavyweight Augusto Sakai.P
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