Thursday, January 27, 2022

UFC 269 Storylines & Final Comprehensive Preview

We’ve got a full, comprhensive breakdown of all the storylines headed into tomorrow night’s UFC 269 event along with the final face-offs.

UFC 269 goes down tomorrow night, December 11, 2021, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The action kicks off at 6:00 PM ET on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass, followed by the ESPN2 prelims at 8:00 PM. The main card begins at 10:00 PM ET on ESPN+ pay-per-view.

We’ve got a preview of the entire card and the storylines attached to each fight below capped off with the face-offs. And be sure to check out our staff predictions for the event right here!

Gillian Robertson vs. Priscilla Cachoeira

Gillian Robertson went 2-0 last year, including an impressive submission victory over Cortney Casey. She is currently 0-2 in 2021, most recently losing to Miranda Maverick via unanimous decision.

Priscilla Cachoeira’s sole fight last year only lasted seconds, with this “Zombie” getting the kill with ease in her 40-second Performance of the Night win against Shana Dobson.

In 2021, Cachoeira advanced to the first winning streak of her UFC career when she defeated Gina Mazany in another TKO victory. Since then, Cachoeira has had some turmoil in her personal life, but this weekend she will need to keep pushing forward as she always does, with nothing else on her mind but getting the kill.

Check out the face-off between these two flyweights below!

Randy Costa vs. Tony Kelley

27-year-old Randy Costa has not gone to the judges’ scorecard once in his career. 6-2 as a professional and 2-2 in the UFC, all six of Costa’s wins are by knockout, including this Performance of the Night-winning KO of Journey Newson last year at UFC Fight Night: Covington vs. Woodley.

Costa also stunned quite a few people with his TKO victory over Boston Salmon in 2019. Most recently, Costa lost to hot bantamweight prospect Adrian Yanez in July.

Tony Kelley will be competing in the UFC for the third time this year in this bout. He’ll be entering with a 1-1 record and is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Ali AlQaisi in October. At Legacy FC 57 in 2019, Kelley took part in what some called one of the best fights of MMA in 2016.

You can check out the face-off below to get you ready for tomorrow’s action!

Ryan Hall vs. Darrick Minner

If either of these two submission experts doze at the wheel, even for an instant, they may lose a limb after the smallest accident.

Ryan Hall is a third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with arguably the biggest feather in his submission cap coming when he was able to submit fellow black belt BJ Penn in 2018 with a flawlessly executed heel hook. Hall has a UFC record of 4-1 and is coming off his first loss to the undefeated Ilia Topuria via first-round KO.

Darrick Minner has three times as many pro-MMA fights as Hall, with a record of 26-12. Minner’s game plan every time appears to be the same: score the submission. A nearly unimaginable 22 of Minner’s 26 wins have come by submission. You can check out some of his past handiwork here along with another potential highlight tomorrow.

Here’s the final face-off between these two high-level grapplers below.

Miranda Maverick vs. Erin Blanchfield

In July, Miranda Maverick’s five-fight winning streak was snapped by one of the most controversial decisions of the year, arguably in recent history, when Maycee Barber was awarded the split-decision victory over her at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw. The 24-year-old has all the time in the world to put that loss behind her, and she has already done so as she prepares to tackle her next task in another youthful prospect in Erin Blanchfield.

22-year-old prospect Erin Blanchfield will enter UFC 269 tomorrow with a record of 7-1. Her only loss as a professional was to another UFC prospect, Tracy Cortez, when Blanchfield was only 19 years old. Since then, she has gone on a four-fight winning streak, including in her UFC debut in September over Sarah Alpar. You can see why she’s so highly touted right here in this background package put together by the UFC, which includes some of her best highlights.

And you can also see the face-offs between these two upstarts down below!

André Muniz vs. Eryk Anders

It’s been five years since André Muniz suffered a loss. Since then, he has won seven consecutive fights, including a 3-0 UFC run thus far. Most recently Muniz defeated Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in Souza’s final career bout. This made for back-to-back submission victories over elite grapplers for Muniz, with the prior coming over Bartosz Fabiński last year. 14 of Muniz’s 21 career wins have come by way of submission.

Eryk Anders has rebounded from the disappointment of his illegal knee to Darren Stewart with a legitimate victory over Stewart to redeem himself. Not counting the Stewart No-Contest, Anders has won three of his last four bouts. Anders has done fairly well against high-level grapplers in the past. He defeated jiu-jitsu black belts Gerald Meerschaert and Vinicius Moreira in 2019. We’ll see if he has his hand raised tomorrow against proven submission artist André Muniz.

You can view the face-off between these two middleweights below.

Jordan Wright vs. Bruno Silva

There are some interesting numbers attached to this middleweight bout. For starters, Jordan Wright has 13 fights on his official record (excluding no-contests). All 13 fights ended in a finish. Oh, and by the way, Wright is responsible for 12 of those 13 finishes.

Meanwhile, Bruno Silva has not gone to a decision since 2016. During his current six-fight winning streak, he has put away each of his opponents via KO/TKO. So if you want a fight to bet the under, this might be it.

Here’s the face-off between these two middleweights.

Augusto Sakai vs. Tai Tuivasa

This fight presents an opportunity for Tai Tuivasa to return to the heavyweight rankings when he takes on #11-ranked Augusto Sakai. Tuivasa and Sakai have different wavelengths of momentum right now, with Sakai losing back-to-back fights while Tuivasa has won three straight, matching the winning streak he had when he first debuted in the promotion with the Australian wind on his back.

Despite his consecutive losses to Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, the fact remains that Sakai has wins over names like Marcin Tybura, Andrei Arlovski, and Blagoy Ivanov. Meanwhile, ever since a proposed secret, Fight Club-esque challenge to old nemesis Justin Willis got him into AKA, Tuivasa has been nothing but money, cashing in on wins over Stefan Struve, Harry Hunsucker, and Greg Hardy, each by KO/TKO.

Peep out the heavyweight face-off down below.

Pedro Munhoz vs. Dominick Cruz

To some, the lead story in this fight would be the commentary of Daniel Cormier after much was made of Dominick Cruz’s criticism from earlier this week. Cormier and Cruz have since publicly hashed it out (sort of), so now fans, Cormier, and Cruz can all focus on the fight!

That fight will come against #8-ranked Pedro Munhoz, who is on a bit of a skid as of late. He has lost three of his last four fights, with the lone win in that stretch coming against Jimmie Rivera, who is no longer in the UFC. Munhoz stated earlier this year that he’s considering joining another UFC 269 competitor, Cody Garbrandt, down at flyweight. A loss here could finalize that career decision.

The three men to defeat Munhoz in these fights all held UFC gold, so will Dominick Cruz continue that trend tomorrow with the aid of the fighting style he believes revolutionized the sport?

Here’s a look at the energetic, yet friendly face-off between these two competitors.

Josh Emmett vs. Dan Ige

Following his loss to The Korean Zombie (Chan Sung Jung) this past summer, Dan Ige released a lengthy statement that deeply reflected on the loss. In the same statement, he made the vow to get better. One fight prior to losing to Jung, Ige earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his KO of Gavin Tucker.

The rise of Dan Ige since UFC 2017 has been nothing short of impressive, with the 30-year-old once stringing together six straight wins. At UFC 269, he’ll attempt to start a new one from scratch but will have to do so against Josh Emmett, who is coming fresh off a Fight of the Night scrap against Shane Burgos last June.

Check out the face-offs between these two ranked featherweights below!

Raulian Paiva vs. Sean O’Malley

Raulian Paiva is currently enjoying a three-fight winning streak, and he expects that number to tick up to four after he makes O’Malley “wimp out” at UFC 269. When selecting Paiva to be O’Malley’s opponent, UFC President Dana White did so while considering his opinion that O’Malley is not yet “ready to face top opponents.”

O’Malley has stated that if he had his way, he’d be fighting a higher-ranked name tomorrow night. Regardless, he has a tough challenge ahead of him in another promising young fighter in the 26-year-old Raulian Paiva. If all goes according to plan, O’Malley already has his path to a title shot laid out. And next up on that journey is a win over Raulian Paiva.

Check out the face-offs for the main card kickoff bout below.

Kai Kara-France vs. Cody Garbrandt

Cody Garbrandt hasn’t been having very champion-like ever since winning the bantamweight title in 2016. He went on to lose four of his next five fights, three of which coming by KO/TKO. Garbrandt doesn’t need me or anyone else to point out these struggles. That is why he decided to make a change and move down to flyweight.

Garbrandt has admitted to having some doubts about such a big decision, but ultimately, he expects to make a big splash in the division. In his previous fight against Rob Font, Garbrandt said that he was unmotivated. In this one, the new-look No-Love will be more than ready for the occasion, he says.

Still, ready or not, Kai Kara-France has warned the public about putting their money down on the former champion. Indeed, the New Zealender expects to win a second straight fight to build off his Performance of the Night victory over Rogério Bontorin at UFC 259.

Check out the spirited face-off between these two athletes below.

Geoff Neal vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Immediately after Santiago Ponzinibbio’s seven-fight winning streak was snapped earlier this year, the Argentenian let it be known that he would remain undeterred on his quest for UFC welterweight gold. He let his actions get that point across very well in his Fight of the Night win over Miguel Baeza in June.

He now sets his sights on Geoff Neal, someone with his back against the wall after two consecutive losses. Neal has already promised fireworks in this welterweight banger, and fans should fully expect just that from these two heavy hitters.

Neal is coming off a DWI arrest that took place mere weeks ago. If he is to get his career back in order, he will need to remain focused on the task at hand from bell to bell.

You can check out the face-off between Neal and Ponzinibbio below.

Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Peña

Julianna Peña would be the first to tell you that this is a fight that has been over five years in the making. Some of the bumps along the way were due to some setbacks on Peña’s end as Nunes continued to build GOAT status fight after the fight. But other hiccups in finalizing this fight, according to lead investigator Julianna Peña, is due to Nunes questionably delaying the fight.

Tomorrow night, the two will finally be locked in the cage together. The expectation from most seems to be that Peña will be just another victimized name on Nunes’ GOAT résumé. MMA legend Chael Sonnen believes Peña more than has what it takes to get the victory and that, for some reason, fans are blind to it. Peña herself has echoed these remarks in stating that people are sleeping on her ahead of this bantamweight title fight.

Julianna Peña has pinpointed what has led to Amanda Nunes’ reign of dominance thus far. However, the “Venezuelan Vixen” has assured that this fight will not be a typical Amanda Nunes demolition course. Instead, she predicts a very long night for both competitors. Although many aren’t giving her much of a chance, Peña also believes these people are in need of a history lesson to remember why she is not just another opponent for Nunes.

And if you still count her out? Well, then, she doesn’t “give an F” about your predictions.

Amanda Nunes
Amanda Nunes

Amanda Nunes believes absolutely no one talks like Julianna Peña. And as you can see from the recap above, Peña indeed has had quite a bit to say leading up to tomorrow’s fight. Nunes has kept her preparation simple and believes she is more than ready for her “delusional” opponent.

In terms of skill set, Nunes believes this is hardly any different from the fight that saw her take over the bantamweight division five years ago when she defeated Peña’s friend and former Ultimate Fighter head coach, Miesha Tate.

Here is the final faceoff between these long-awaited bantamweight title combatants along with their closing remarks.

Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier

In the main event, two verified finishers will look to end the debate on who is the best lightweight in the UFC. Charles Oliveira has flat-out stated that he will show up more than ready to answer that very question tomorrow night and prove just who is the “real champ.” “Do Bronx” says he doesn’t care about those who predict otherwise, including previous champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Dustin Poirier has come to Oliveira’s defense, saying people like Justin Gaethje and others who minimize Oliveira should spend more time giving him the respect he’s earned and raising him up. That said, he still plans on testing Gaethje’s theory about Oliveira’s lack of heart at UFC 269.

Whatever happens, Dustin Poirier predicts that fans are in for a treat because both men will be in there going for the finish from the bell to bell. And when all is said and done, Poirier hopes to join the ranks of other inspirational UFC champions that have come before him, including Charles Oliveira.

Check out the final face-off of the evening down below featuring the UFC 269 headliners along with their closing remarks.

To view the full UFC 269 Ceremonial Weigh-in, you can do so right here. And please be sure to keep it locked on MMANews.com tomorrow for full, live coverage of UFC 269!

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