Seven straight wins – seven straight finishes. Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira is rapidly becoming a top contender within the ranks of the UFC’s lightweight division. One of the most devastating submission artists to ever grace the Octagon was on full display last Saturday night – as he joined Donald Cerrone as the most prolific finisher of fights with sixteen stoppages.
Kevin Lee, now under the Tristar banner – enjoyed some early success in each of the three rounds with his striking, but particularly in the opening frame, the offensive grappling prowess of Oliveira was evident. One scramble which caught my attention particularly, was a ten second period where ‘Do Bronx’ transitioned from an armbar, to an omoplata, and finally a triangle, almost seamlessly. The eventual finish was picture perfect. Stabbing Lee to the midsection with a front kick, Oliveira wrapped the neck and pulled guard with a guillotine, forcing the tap.
We’ve seen an undeniable evolvement to Oliveira’s standup game in recent outings, that’s for sure. The utilisation of front kicks, teeps, and spinning attacks proved hugely successful against Kevin Lee – as the Brazilian begins to show off his Muay Thai chops. The 30-year-old seems to be reaching his peak during this current run, and following a statement win over the always difficult Kevin Lee – the lightweight’s upper echelon awaits Charles ‘Do Bronx’.
Donald Cerrone vs. Charles Oliveira:
The victory over the then #8 ranked Lee is a massive move for Charles Oliveira. He’ll more than likely leapfrog his opponent in the rankings. There’s a certain narrative between Oliveira and potential foe, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. With a finish, either contender can take the lead with seventeen stoppages and hold ultimate bragging rights. Apart from the record up for grabs, this matchup makes total sense on paper. ‘Cowboy’ is planning an April return following his knockout loss to Conor McGregor, and a clash with high-flying contender, Oliveira is a possibility. The timeline may be problematic due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but an eventual meeting could be penned.
Justin Gaethje vs. Charles Oliveira:
It’s widely believed former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor will finally clash with Justin Gaethje this summer in a title eliminator bout. If that pairing fails to see daylight, lets pit Gaethje with Oliveira. The Brazilian’s manager, Diego Lima, called for a UFC Fight Night Brasília main event between the former WSOF lightweight best, Gaethje, and his client – before Kevin Lee agreed terms. Gaethje is conceivably one more win away from a lightweight title tilt, following victories over James Vick, Edson Barboza, and the aforementioned Cerrone. Oliveira now enters title conversation following a seventh straight success. Link em up.
Kevin Lee vs. Islam Makhachev – Alexander Hernandez winner:
Kevin Lee now finds himself between a rock and a hard place. It seemed he grabbed some much-needed confidence and momentum off the back of his highlight-reel finish of Gregor Gillespie last November; it’s now disappeared. The 27-year-old is in the midst of a win-loss rebound at the moment, and must now look toward the lower end of the division. At UFC 249 in April, tentatively due to the coronavirus outbreak, Islam Makhachev and Alexander Hernandez are scheduled to meet. Lee obviously has history with Makhachev – and the matchup is still possible, although not as glitzy at the moment. Hernandez also offers a viable option for Lee – in a pairing which promises pre-fight antics aplenty.