Two very talented and hungry featherweights duked it out last night (July 6, 2013) as former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar took on Charles Oliveira in the co-main event of UFC 162 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Edgar hasn't fought in a non-title fight in over three years after competing in seven straight title bouts but he looked right at home against the lankier Oliveira.
"The Answer" got into a groove immediately, utilizing his constant movement to work angles and get inside with his crisp combinations to score on Oliveira particularly with his right cross. The Brazilian responded with some wild striking of his own and several attempts to take the fight to the ground including jumping guard and attacking with a wide assortment of explosive submissions.
In typical Edgar fashion, despite his constant movement, he was tagged with a few nice shots by Oliveira and had his nose bloodied up, but he wasn't deterred from being aggressive. This was a much more focused Frankie Edgar, willing to step inside and constantly working to land the big shot that could put his opponent out for the count.
On multiple occasions Edgar landed a heavy right hand that staggered Oliveira, but whenever he tried to swarm "Do Bronx," he was met with stiff resistance whether it was a takedown attempt or an aggressive flurry of strikes. There was no quit in Oliveira.
In the third round, Edgar landed his best serious of strikes yet, hurting Oliveira badly on multiple occasions but he was never able to put him away as the submission specialist hung tough on the feet and backed him off with huge bombs, even landing a few to keep the former champion honest.
Despite Oliveira's credentials on the canvas, Edgar wasn't afraid to shoot in for takedowns and work some light ground and pound but he never stayed there too long, not giving Oliveira enough time to set up some of his more potent grappling attacks.
When it was all said and done, Edgar was awarded a unanimous decision but it's hard not to have both men's stock go up in a fight like that. Oliveira may have been devastated that he lost, but a $50,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus check will ease the sting a bit.
For Charles Oliveira, he actually represented himself very well. He's just 23 years old and was handed by far the toughest challenge of his young career. Despite the odds being heavily stacked against him, he hung in there and gave Edgar all he could handle for three rounds. He was also able to keep up with Edgar in the face of one of the most cardio-taxing paces seen in an MMA bout. One last thing to give him credit for was the fact that he did not fade when hurt with strikes. He wilted against Donald Cerrone and Cub Swanson but against Edgar, he refused to go down and stayed in the fight the whole way. That's deserving of respect.