There is just no playing around in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight division these days. Win in style and live to fight another night or lose big and end up standing in the unemployment literally over night.
Just ask Brazilian phenom Charles Oliveira. When he was signed by Zuffa in 2010, he boasted a pristine (12-0) professional mixed martial arts (MMA) record. He was garnering tons of hype and it was well deserved.
But, everything started to fall apart on Dec. 11, 2010, when "Do Bronx" found himself on the receiving end of a Jim Miller kneebar submission at UFC 124 in Montreal, Canada.
In his next two fights, he had a similar lack of fortune, getting slapped with a dreaded "No Contest" result for an illegal knee against Nik Lentz, and then was on the wrong end of a brutal Donald Cerrone technical knockout.
Can he get his mixed martial arts (MMA) career back on track when he welcomes UFC newcomer Eric Wisely to the Octagon at UFC on FOX 2 in "Chi-town?"
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC on FOX 2 featherweight fight between Charles Oliveira vs Eric Wisely:
Oliveira's shot at redemption will come against a man who few fight fans will be familiar with when the cage door shuts on later tonight.
His opponent is Eric Wisely, nicknamed: "Little Lee." He holds a professional record of 19-6 with notable wins over Hermes Franca (twice) and Matt Veach. Before losing a unanimous decision to Pat Healy at Strikeforce Challengers 18, Wisely had ripped off a four-fight win streak on regional MMA shows.
He's 27 years old, 5'8" and prefers to stand and strike versus the ground game.
In all likelihood, Oliveira, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is going to want to take this fight to the canvas and look for dominant positions and an eventual submission.
Wisely will not be the only fighter making a big transition in this fight. The bout will mark Oliveira's debut in the featherweight division, a move he recently told Tatame was necessary for him to be successful as a fighter:
"Everybody saw that when I fought on the lightweight division I didn't quit against anyone and I said I couldn't drop because it's already hard on me. But the truth is that I've always been the tiniest fighters of the division, I was always there trading punches with the guys and when I hit them it seemed that it didn't hurt them, and when they hit me, I got hurt. But, since it was working out, I decided to stay on the division. After my first loss, me, Erick (Cardozo) and Macaco (Jorge Patino) sat down and I asked them what they thought about me dropping. I had two options: I could do a serious work with nutritionists and take more supplements to get bigger or I could drop to the featherweight division and would cut weight. I was scared of gaining much muscles for the lightweight division and get slower, losing my main characteristic. It was then that we decided I should drop to the featherweight and cut weight like all fighters do and since I would gain muscles and start to get slower otherwise, and that's not what I want. So that's how we got to this conclusion. Get bigger to remain on the division or drop and that's why I decided to do. I won't get bigger and I'll drop."
It's an interesting move for Oliveira, as he was fighting as a welterweight (170 pounds) a mere four years ago. In this sport, you do what you have to do to survive.
Will the drop down to 145 pounds be a successful one for Oliveira? Or will Wisely make him wish he'd stayed at lightweight?
Weigh in! Be sure to share your thoughts on this fight and more in the comments section below.
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See you then!