Charles Oliveira Beats Dustin Poirier via Submission to Retain Title at UFC 269

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 11: Charles Oliveira (top) of Brazil grapples with Dustin Poirier in their lightweight title fight during the UFC 269 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Charles Oliveira solidified his status as the UFC's lightweight champion with a successful title defense via third-round submission over Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 269 from Las Vegas. 

After an epic first round and a dominant second round, Do Bronx found a rear-naked choke to lock up the title and close out the night. 

This fight had the makings of a classic on paper, and those ingredients came to life in the first round. Both fighters started with a ridiculous pace. Poirier found a home for some serious punches and even scored a knockdown, while Oliveira landed some good knees to the body. 

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DUSTIN DROPS THE CHAMP! [ @DustinPoirier | #UFC269 ] https://t.co/L3tR72RkTy

While the first round took place in Poirier's world on the feet, Oliveira got the fight to his turf on the ground in Round 2. Do Bronx secured a takedown and spent most of the round in top position. While Oliveira was looking to land heavy damage, Poirier was happy to wear out the storm and live to fight another round. 

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Raining down elbows from the top 🌧 [ @CharlesDoBronxs| #UFC269 ] https://t.co/YfwaBvqeeE

That turned out to be an ill-advised strategy for the Diamond. Oliveira worked his way to the back and once again went for the rear-naked choke and got it to ensure he held onto the belt. 

While Oliveira won the title against Michael Chandler, this win brings a whole other level of credibility as champion.

The division has been in a state of flux since the retirement of undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but with Oliveira successfully defending the title against Poirier, we have officially entered the Do Bronx era. 

Oliveira's evolution from a somewhat one-trick pony into a bona fide UFC champion has been fascinating. The 32-year-old has been in the UFC since 2010 and certainly didn't look like a future champion when he had a 2-4 streak from 2015-17. 

But he has since become a much more well-rounded and championship-caliber fighter. He's made that much clear and is now the target on his back is clear. 

The lightweight division has plenty of contenders, and Justin Gaethje has already begun campaigning for the next crack at Oliveira. 

If he has anything to say about it, he wants it to go down in Brazil. 

"That was my dream when I first came into the UFC...to go into Brazil, fight their champion," Gaethje said, per Simon Samano and Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. "That was the chaos that I wanted Day 1. That's something I want."

Whether it's Gaethje or any of the other qualified fighters in the lightweight division, Oliveira has certainly earned the respect of a champion.