Highly-touted lightweight prospect Charles Oliveira was seemingly the "next big thing" to enter the stacked lightweight division when he made his Octagon debut in Aug. 2010.
Oliveira, it seemed, was indeed the real deal.
But then top contender Jim MIller, however, would quickly derail the Brazilian's hype train, forcing him to tapout with a first round kneebar at UFC 124 in Dec. 2010. And just when Oliveira thought he was back on track, defeating Nik Lentz via third round submission less than two months ago, the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission overturned the result to a "No Contest" because of an illegal knee that set up the fight-ending choke.
All that talent, all that promise that was evident just one year ago has suddenly stalled. The three-time fight night bonus award-winner is likely not only eager to get back into fourth gear fast, but also do so with an exciting performance.
Donald Cerrone, himself a six-time fight night bonus award-winner, offers that opportunity tonight at UFC on Versus 5, which is scheduled to take place tonight (Aug. 14, 2011) from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"Cowboy," a former number one contender under the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) banner, is looking to do the same now that he has been introduced into the UFC's lightweight talent pool. He got off to a great start, submitting Paul Kelly in his Octagon debut and earning a decision over Vagner Rocha two months ago at UFC 131.
Cerrone certainly holds the edge in experience. And he's accustomed to the bright lights of the world's biggest MMA stage. However, dropping a bout to a dangerous, albeit relatively unknown up-and-coming fighter on national television, would be a terrible blow to his renewed contender aspirations.
The winner of this fight will likely establish himself as an outside threat to other top players in the division moving forward. Meanwhile, the loser will likely take a huge step back and toil on future under cards, battling other mid-tier fighters to try and work his way back up the divisional ladder ... the hard way.
Charles Oliveira vs. Donald Cerrone: Who will emerge the contender and who will be branded the pretender later this evening?