UFC 274 is taking shape nicely, with several major fights already confirmed. The event is scheduled to take place in Phoenix at the Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. Brazil’s Charles Oliveira will headline the event, which is scheduled for May 9, in his lightweight title bout against Justin Gaethje and it’s sure to be an exciting fight. It will be the last of at least nine already confirmed fights on the night, including Donald Cerrone vs Joe Lauzon, Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson, and Mauricio Rua vs Ovince Saint Preux. With a while to go until the big event, fans are eagerly anticipating an entertaining night of UFC action.
Oliveira’s Career so far
Charles Oliveira came into the UFC in 2010, after a mixed martial arts record of 12-0 that he built up in various competitions in his homeland. He won his first two UFC fights against Darren Elkins and Efrain Escudero with relative ease before losing to Jim Miller by submission at UFC 124. His next fight against Nik Lentz on the Kongo vs Barry undercard just two months later ended with a no-contest after an illegal knee from Oliveira.
His next 15 fights were riddled with inconsistency, which lead to a run of 8 wins and 7 losses, speaking both to his talent and his deficiencies. After losing to Paul Felder at UFC 218 in 2017, Oliveira left his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focused Macaco Gold Team gym and joined The Chute Boxe Academy to improve his striking skills. Since then, he has won 10 straight fights with no defeats in that time, including wins against some of the division’s top fighters.
Oliveira vs Gaethje
Oliveira has been extremely impressive in recent bouts, particularly when you consider the calibre of some of his opponents. His last three wins have come against Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier, highly ranked and respected fighters who are tough to beat. As the reigning Lightweight champion, Oliveira will be confident of retaining his title, especially with his recent unbeaten run, in which he has looked invincible at times. The experts share his confidence, with the likes of Betway bet listing him as a strong favourite, but he’ll have his work cut out against Justin Gaethje who is the number one ranked lightweight in the world.
Gaethje comes into the bout with a record of 23 wins, 19 by knockout, and 3 losses, which have been to top-level fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez. He is something of a knockout artist with 19 of his wins coming by this method, so he’ll be hoping to reopen some of Oliveira’s old wounds. Like Oliveira, he has recently beaten both Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler, so he has certainly proven that he belongs at this level.
Exciting fights on the undercard
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs Joe Lauzon is one of the highlight events of the night that sees two fearless fighters go head-to-head. Both have 16 losses on their records which shows that neither is afraid to fail in the pursuit of glory. Fans who are tuning in for the main event should make sure not to miss this fight beforehand, as fireworks are almost guaranteed.
Another unmissable fight on the UFC 274 undercard is Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs Ovince Saint Preux, an exciting prospect that will also be contested in the lightweight division. Both come into the fight on the back of losses, Rua’s from Paul Craig and Saint Preux’s at the hands of Tanner Boser. Many are predicting this fight will end in a knockout as both fighters win the majority of their bouts in this fashion.
Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson is another lightweight bout that is sure to be one of the best fights of the night. Ferguson has lost his last three fights, including to both of UFC 274’s headliners. Before this poor run of form, he won 12 consecutive bouts, winning six Fight of the Night awards in the process. Chandler, who has also lost to the two headliners, won three Bellator lightweight championships before signing for UFC. So, both fighters have reason to believe they can get the win.