Lightweight Co-Main Event
The fact that this fight is the co-main event of the evening speaks to the overall strength of this card and the value we’re getting out of this pay-per-view. This fight features two of the most advanced and well-rounded mixed martial artists in the sport today, and should feature fireworks from the opening bell.
Former interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson, will look to get back on track following his loss by knockout to Justin Gaethje in the interim lightweight championship this past May. He’ll be looking to re-establish himself as next-in-line for a title shot by defeating #7 contender and winner of seven straight fights, Charles Oliveira.
Oliveira is the most prolific submission artist in UFC history, with fourteen finishes by submission in the octagon. He’s an advanced jiu jitsu black belt under Jorge Patino, and has finished his fourteen submissions via eight different holds. He has a complete arsenal including everything from Peruvians to calf slicers to d’arce chokes to omoplatas.
Oliveira is a pace and pressure fighter with excellent conditioning. He moves forward and is constantly looking to cut off the octagon and force his opponents to make decisions. He’s looking to set up counters and level changes, but is active with his 1-2 combination, throws heavy kicks to the body, and mixes in flying knees and spinning backfists, part of his variety of unorthodox strikes.
When he does get his opponents moving forward, he has some nasty counters. His hooks, uppercuts and short elbows are stiff and very quick. He defends himself well on his feet but does tend to rely on his athleticism and head movement.
His level changes are quick and usually very well-timed. He very rarely ends up on the bottom of grappling scrambles, but he’s perfectly comfortable on his back if it comes to that. Oliveira has some of the smoothest sweeps and transitions in mixed martial arts today. He constantly controls position on the ground, and lands powerful short shots on the ground while he works for an array of submissions.
Of Oliveira’s eight losses, three have actually come by submission. He’s been finished seven times and lost one unanimous decision. His last loss was a second-round knockout at the hands of Paul Felder, in December 2018.
Oliveira won’t be the only world-class grappler participating in this fight. Ferguson is a black belt out of 10th Planet under Eddie Bravo, with six of his UFC wins coming by submission, most often his patented d’arce choke. He has also finished five UFC fights by knockout.
Ferguson is an unorthodox striker, much like Oliveira, however they move very differently. Tony is much more measured and looks to move in and out, staying mostly on the outside. He has a solid jab and follows it well, and is effective in both stances. He throws some nasty low kicks.
Ferguson succeeds striking when he can slow the fight down and trade shots, avoiding his opponents counters with crafty angles and returning fire. He disguises his shots very well in these exchanges.
Despite eventually finding a submission against Kevin Lee, Ferguson was dominated on the ground early in that fight. Inconsistent rounds have happened in a few of Ferguson’s wins, and he can’t afford to do that against Charles Oliveira, who will finish the fight if given the chance. That being said, Ferguson tends to get better as his fights progress.
Picking this fight, we’re very confident in Oliveira as an underdog, and we don’t think the +140 line on him will stay where it is. He is going to have the advantage in striking speed, power, athleticism, strength, wrestling, and ground game.
These two are very similar fighters, but Ferguson struggles against fighters who don’t allow him to get into a rhythm. He needs to be the one pushing the pace to be successful, and that won’t be happening in this fight.
Go lock in Oliveira before the money dumps in on him.