The experienced Brazilian, stripped of his lightweight title after missing championship weight on Friday, can redeem himself by adding another elite name to his ever-growing resume by prevailing against #1 contender Justin Gaethje tonight (main card: 3am BST). Will he though?
With his back against the wall, Oliveira is even more dangerous
After becoming the first champion in promotional history to lose his belt on the scales – multiple prospective title challengers have missed the opportunity, but never an existing titleholder – Oliveira’s got an immediate chance to exact redemption in the headliner vs. Gaethje overnight.
You can’t blame Justin for feeling quietly confident things will go his way either, having rehydrated while Charles was still struggling to try and make the weight a second time after being granted the mandatory one-hour allowance.
Weight drained and emotionally exhausted, the last 48 hours would’ve been much more uncomfortable for Oliveira’s team. Whether that impacts the gameplan remains to be seen, though it must be said a fast-starting approach cannot be ruled out.
Gaethje suffered a second-round submission defeat by now-retired undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in Oct. 2020 and while publicly disgruntled at being left on the sidelines since, ultimately didn’t need to do too much to get back into a #1 contender spot.
That was an unofficial title eliminator and seeing as Chandler also already lost to Oliveira, The Highlight made sense for his next title defence. After the surprising weigh-in miss this matchup won’t be that anymore, but doesn’t mean his 10-fight winning streak cannot continue here.
UFC 274 fight card, is as follows
For vacant lightweight championship, only Gaethje is eligible: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje
Women’s strawweight championship: Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza
Lightweight: Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson
Light-heavyweight: Ovince Saint Preux vs. Mauricio Rua
Welterweight: Randy Brown vs. Khaos Williams
Welterweight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Danny Roberts
Catchweight (146.5lbs): Macy Chiasson vs. Norma Dumont
Flyweight: Brandon Royval vs. Matt Schnell
Heavyweight: Blagoy Ivanov vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Welterweight: Andre Fialho vs. Cameron VanCamp
Women’s flyweight: Tracy Cortez vs. Melissa Gatto
Flyweight: C.J. Vergara vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
Women’s strawweight: Lupita Godinez vs. Ariane Carnelossi
Bantamweight: Journey Newson vs. Fernie Garcia
More analysis, fight coverage to follow soon.. stay tuned to moandsports.com for updates.
Picture source: Getty Images