Dan Hardy fancies Charles Oliveira’s chances against Dustin Poirier.
Oliveira defends his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier in the UFC 269 headliner taking place Saturday night in Las Vegas.
It’s a fascinating matchup between two of the best finishers in the sport. However, Poirier is the slight betting favorite according to many oddsmakers while more than a few prominent names believe he’ll come out on top.
Not Hardy, though.
The former UFC fighter, analyst and commentator broke down the fight on his YouTube channel and rated Oliveira’s chances greatly — even giving him so much as a 70 to 80 percent chance.
“When my breakdown show went up, there were a few comments about people saying ‘finally someone that’s not underestimating Charles Oliveira’. I find him very difficult to underestimate, if I’m honest,” Hardy told Submission Radio. “Anybody that pays attention when he’s fighting knows how lethal he is. Dustin Poirier is no doubt a tough durable veteran. He’s a smart individual that’s rounded out his game with maturity and has made him a far more effective fighter. And if it goes into the trenches, we know he can fight through hell and he can come out on the other side.
“The general feeling around Poirier is that, well, if Khabib wasn’t in the division at the same time then Poirier would have been champion. Yeah, for sure. But I think times have changed now, and Oliveira’s the champion, and I think he would be very difficult for anybody to get the belt off [him]. I just think skills-wise, Oliveira is a better martial artist all around. Whether Dustin Poirier can apply it better because he’s been swimming in this top pool for a bit longer, I don’t know. But I’ve seen no reason to believe that Charles Oliveira won’t be champion by the end of the fight.”
Dan Hardy: Oliveira Is A Hard Fight For Poirier
Most would naturally assume Oliveira’s best path to victory is taking it to the ground.
However, as he showed against Michael Chandler earlier this year to win the belt, Oliveira’s striking has reached a new level and he can certainly finish foes with his hands as well.
All in all, he has more than a few ways of winning which is why Hardy believes things will be difficult for Poirier.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s able to back Poirier up against the fence and beat him up a little bit, and then catch his neck on the way in. Something like the Kevin Lee fight,” Hardy explained. “But at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliveira decides to go offensive and take Poirier down and kind of beat him up and maul him like he did Tony Ferguson.
“It’s a hard fight for Poirier. He’s got heart and he’s got heavy hands, and once he gets in the swing of things and finds his rhythm, if Charles Oliveira has not been prepared for those championship rounds, then for sure Dustin Poirier can take that belt. But skill-wise, from the research I’ve done, I think Charles Oliveira has got probably a 70 or 80 percent chance of coming out on top.”
You can watch the full interview below: