As a fight fan, you probably heard of the saying “style makes fights.” Each fighter that has stepped in the ring or octagon has developed their own style through combinations of disciplines such as boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Fighting styles are very important in a fight as it can determine the approach the fighters will take. A fighter’s plan takes into the account of what the fighter abilities are compared to their opponent. That being said, here is a breakdown of why Charles Oliveira’s style is dangerous and effective inside the octagon.
Charles Oliveira competes in the lightweight division of the UFC. While he is young in age (32 as of this writing), he is a veteran in fight experience. He joined the UFC at the age of 20 and has fought the world’s top fighters ever since. During Oliveira’s early UFC career, he had his ups and downs. From his UFC debut in 2010 to his last loss in 2017, he had a UFC record of 10-8-1. After his last loss to Paul Felder, Oliveira would go on an 11-fight winning streak as of May 2022. During those 11 fights, he would go on to win the UFC lightweight title against Michael Chandler and defend his belt against a household name in Dustin Poirer. While he did get stripped of his title for being half a pound above the lightweight limit, he still went on to finish Justin Gaethje in the first round via submission.
So what makes Oliveira so special? It takes a special kind of fighter to be able to finish the top three lightweights mentioned above, let alone win against them. Let’s first look at how he finishes his opponents. Oliveira's bread and butter is the submission game as he is very efficient in transitioning on the ground. Oliveira is a 3rd degree black belt in BJJ, and he has the most submissions in the UFC. It is no surprise that when the fight is taken to the ground, Oliveira is out for blood. He proved that against Kevin Lee, who is a formidable grappler. He also showed his level in BJJ when he dominated Tony Ferguson on the ground. Oliveira is arguably one of the best submission artists in the UFC.
Although Olivera’s ground game is impeccable, he does not favor it. He likes to mix it up with striking, and he is no slouch in the stand-up game. Coming out of the Chute Boxing academy, Oliveira has adopted an aggressive style of kickboxing that utilizes a lot of forward pressure. Despite not being known for having heavy hands, he still has dropped fighters like Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirer, and Justin Gaethje. During the Gathje fight, Oliveira was not afraid to trade in the pocket despite being dropped twice.
What also makes Oliveira special is that he is pretty well-rounded as a fighter, but he still possesses the elite ground game that not a lot of people in the UFC have. Whenever Oliveira gets dropped or is in trouble, he can take it to the ground. Most fighters who drop their opponent in the octagon like to follow up with ground n’ pound shots, which is the perfect bait for Charles to get their opponents to engage in grappling. Some fans have speculated that Oliveira even dropped on purpose during his fight with Gaethje to lure him onto the ground. Oliveira’s striking is not far from the top strikers in the UFC, but his ground game is levels above many people in his division. His BJJ is almost another lifeline.
What I like about Oliveira is that he is a very intriguing fighter to watch. He is an excellent finisher in fights and he is not afraid to brawl. He finished his 2021 fights and his first 2020 bout right after almost being finished himself. Oliveira got dropped by Chandler and was close to losing to losing the fight until being saved by the bell. He then proceeded to TKO Chandler in the second round. Dustin dropped Oliveira and had him hurt right before getting submitted via rear-naked choke. The same thing happened during the Gaethje fight. He does well in capitalizing right after a barrage of attacks. Oliveira can really hang in the fire, and he has proven that he is not easy to finish.