Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz collided once again last night (May 30, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 67 inside the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil.
Oliveira had been hunting for this rematch for some time, as had his opponent. Due to the controversial and ultimately inconclusive finish to their first scrap, Oliveira was highly motivated to put on a show against "The Carny."
Lentz, while also looking to overcome an old foe, was also trying to demonstrate his improvements. In a new weight class with his new team behind him, Lentz aimed to prove that he was a new fighter from the 2011 version who was largely overwhelmed by his Brazilian adversary.
While both men showed their improvement, Oliveira came out on top.
To watch full Charles Oliveira vs. Nick Lentz highlights from UFC Fight Night 67 last night click here.
Lentz wasted little time in forcing his way into the clinch. When Oliveira threatened with a guillotine, Lentz was forced to give up top position to defend. Lentz made his way to top position before long and started to land his ground strikes, only for Oliveira to escape to his feet.
Just a couple minutes in, it was clear this would be a fight of many transitions.
On the feet, Lentz seemed to be taking over until a knee to the body send him crumbling to the mat. Oliveira chased the finish and nearly had it, but Lentz defended himself well enough to see the end of the round.
The second round also started with a takedown attempt for Lentz, though Oliveira made him pay for it with elbows. Eventually, Lentz secured top position and got work with his ground strikes. He even threatened with a guillotine choke of his own and used it to regain top position after a brief reversal by "Do Bronx."
Overall, this was a strong round for Lentz. He maintained top position for much of the round and avoided his foe's submission attempts, while being effective with his own offense.
Oliveira pushed forward with strikes to start the round, and Lentz countered by forcing a grappling exchange. During a scramble in the clinch for position, Oliveira locked up a guillotine choke and jumped guard. Lentz tried his damnedest to endure the hold, but it was ultimately too much, and he was forced to tap.
This was a fantastic win for Oliveira. Despite his improvement, some questions still existed on whether he could overcome adversity to win. He did just that, as both men had their moments in this back-and-forth war.
Oliveira has proven to be one of the most difficult men in the world to wrestle. Whenever Lentz got close, Oliveira landed hard strikes while making his opponent work. Plus, when he was taken down, he was constantly looking to submit or reverse position. He ended up doing both, which is a tough task against an accomplished wrestler like Lentz.
It's clear from this performance that Oliveira is officially a contender, rather than just a prospect. After this big win, Oliveira should take on fellow rising featherweight Max Holloway, in what would surely be an entertaining war.
This loss will be a hard pill for Lentz to swallow. He may have lost the opening round, but Lentz had some momentum on his side after winning the second. Then, it all evaporated when Lentz left his neck out.
The one problem with Lentz's attack in this bout was his insistence on wrestling at all times. Whenever Oliveira pushed forward, Lentz would shoot or clinch. Had he looked to counter or simply mixed in more range punching with his wrestling offense, things may have worked out differently for him
On the bright side, this was a highly entertaining battle. Lentz has been struggling for years to overcome his "boring" reputation, and he really has stepped it up at featherweight. Hopefully, this scrap will make fight fans take notice.
At this point, Lentz's position as gatekeeper to the top 10 is pretty firmly established. After this loss, a match with fellow grinder Darren Elkins would make sense.
Last night, Charles Oliveira proved himself the better man in his rematch with Nik Lentz. Will the talented Brazilian make it to the title?
For complete UFC Fight Night 67 "Condit vs Alves" results and play-by-play click HERE!