Revisiting Charles Oliveira’s Most Memorable UFC Appearances

Published 05/18/2021, 12:26 PM EDT
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 15: Charles Oliveira of Brazil reacts to his submission victory over Jim Miller in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Fiserv Forum on December 15, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


We can make much of Oliveira’s celebration after bagging the UFC’s vacant lightweight title at UFC 262. Being a staple in UFC’s roster for about 11 years, the outburst of emotions seems to justify the up and down ‘Do Bronx’ faced throughout his storied career in the UFC. Charles Oliveira competed in 27 fights under the UFC before finally attaining the most coveted title in the sport: the strap.

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This is the highest number of fights any champion has competed in before securing the title. For Oliveira, almost all of his 27 bouts in the UFC have been action-packed. Here’s a look at some of his most memorable octagon appearances.

The hype is real- Entering the UFC with a bang

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Charles Oliveira started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at 12. His coach, Jorge Patino, awarded him the black belt in 2010.

After going unbeaten in 12 fights at the regional circuit in Brazil, UFC saw potential in the BJJ ace, and the promotion offered Oliveira a fight. Oliveira was touted as a brilliant prospect because of his exceptional grappling ability and he had finished all of his 12 fights before fighting with the UFC. But the opponent he faced in his first fight was also a future legend, the gritty Derrick Elkins.

The fight took place on the UFC on Versus 2 card in 2010. Elkins, being the experienced wrestler that he is, immediately went for a double-leg takedown. Elkins slammed Oliveira in the opening seconds of the fight. But, Oliveira, being the crafty submission artist that he is, used Elkins’ takedown against him and worked on a beautiful triangle choke, which he later used to secure an armbar as well. The fight ended within 41 seconds and Oliveira was hailed as the guy to be on the lookout for. Being only 20, he had a long way to go in the promotion.

 

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Hitting a rough patch at lightweight, Oliveira moved down to featherweight. The decision turned out to work for and against Oliveira as he missed hitting the 146-pound mark on the scales multiple times but still secured great wins. Securing some wins in the division, Oliveira was the sixth-ranked featherweight when he welcomed the former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the division. The fight served as the co-main event of the “UFC on Fox: Maia vs. Condit card”.

Oliveira’s gameplay was apparent right from the start: take Pettis to the ground and submit him. He created multiple scrambles in the first round, but Pettis landed heavy body kicks and was almost on the cusp of finishing the fight with vicious ground and pound. But Oliveira kept himself in the fight, creating multiple attacks from his back.

‘Do Bronx’ pressured Pettis in the second on the feet. He also used the clinch efficiently to create submission opportunities. This pressure and volume of attack won him the second round.

 

Oliveira imposed the same approach in the last round. But Pettis proved he is no slouch on the ground here. He sunk in a nasty guillotine when Oliveira went in for a takedown about 2:00 deep in the third, handing Oliveira his career’s first loss via submission.

Put some respect on the name- Charles Oliveira submits Kevin Lee

After a failed run at the 145-pound division, marred with multiple occasions of missing weight, Oliveira went up a division. In his second run at lightweight, the Brazilian displayed amazing improvement in his Muay Thai. Tearing through the rankings, he gained a 6 fight win streak before facing division staple Kevin Lee at the main event of UFC Fight Night 170 Brasilia.

Oliveira imposed a high pressure stand up offence on Lee in the first round. Lee tried to box off the onslaught of Oliveira, only to be put in tricky grappling positions by ‘Do Bronx’. Lee, who is an exceptional wrestler in his own right, engaged with Oliveira on the ground and an amazing display of grappling ensued for the first two rounds.

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In the initial moments of the third, Lee went in for a takedown after a left landed. But Oliveira was ready for this advance, catching Lee in a Guillotine choke as he closed the gap.

Having now secured the most submission finishes in the UFC, the future looks really bright for the Lightweight champion. Who do you think is next for him? Let us know.

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Akshit Pushkarna

73 articles

Akshit Pushkarna, who has a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication, is an MMA writer for EssentiallySports. Before his current role, Akshit worked on the Urban Development beat at the Urban Update magazine. However, combat sports always called out to Akshit, who pursued both boxing and wrestling at a regional level before shifting his focus to MMA journalism.

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