In the Clinch: Can underdog Oliveira take out Poirier? UFC 269In the Clinch: Can underdog Oliveira take out Poirier? UFC 269In the Clinch: Can underdog Oliveira take out Poirier? UFC 269It doesn’t get any easier for newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira (31-8-0, 1NC) at UFC 269.

His first title defense is against Dustin Poirier (28-6-0, 1NC), the former interim champion who finally cashed in recently by winning his rubber match with rival Conor McGregor. “The Diamond” comes into the bout as the favourite. With his only loss in his last eight bouts – against top competition – to Khabib Nurmagomedov, that billing is hard to contest.

We all know Oliveira is masterful at changing levels and his striking is deceptively good. He has all the tools to defeat Poirier, but can he withstand the fire that Poirier will bring? After a disastrous first round from Michael Chandler, Oliveira’s technical striking prowess quickly emerged in the second round to finish the fight.

Poirier should prove to be a tougher challenge.

But first, you must admire “The Diamond” for being able to work the game so he could have his cake (money fights with Conor McGregor) and eat it too with this title fight. Win or lose, Poirier is a star and bankable commodity. Winning the lightweight belt will only add to that. His Good Fight Foundation charity is doing good work as a bonus.

The durability of Oliveira is one of the main questions of this fight. Can he survive an onslaught from Poirier the way he did with Chandler? What if the fight stays standing? It is critical that Oliveira needs to take some starch out of Poirier early and put something in his face to respect him offensively.

Otherwise, it could be a matter of Poirier piling up the striking points or using his own deceptively good ground game to get the tap. Either way, he could get a fourth money bout with McGregor. This guy has all the angles covered.

Are you feeling good today, champ?

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