Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight strikers Carlos Condit and Alex Oliveira will collide this Saturday (April 14, 2018) at UFC on FOX 29 inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The last few years have not been kind to Carlos Condit. He very nearly captured the Welterweight crown back in 2016, but ended up on the wrong side of a split decision ... and his attempts to bounce back have ended poorly. “Natural Born Killer” now rides a three-fight losing streak, and many question whether his time is finally up. Condit was supposed to face off with another veteran scrapper, but Matt Brown injured his knee and has been replaced by “Cowboy” Oliveira. The Brazilian may have lost his most recent fight, but Oliveira remains a Top 15-ranked athlete at the height of his powers, and he’s a real test for Condit.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each athlete:
Key Wins: Rory MacDonald (UFC 115), Nick Diaz (UFC 144), Thiago Alves (UFC Fight Night 67), Dong-Hyun Kim (UFC 132)
Key Losses: Georges St-Pierre (UFC 154), Robbie Lawler (UFC 195), Johny Hendricks (UFC 158), Demian Maia (UFC on FOX 21), Neil Magny (UFC 219)
Keys to Victory: An active mixed martial arts (MMA) professional since 2002, Condit has long been one of the most dangerous men on the roster. A crafty and high-volume kickboxer with legitimate knockout power, Condit is also known for his slick bottom game.
This bout is all about pace for Condit. Early on, Oliveira will shoot for takedowns and — knowing Condit — he’ll probably land them. From his back, it’s imperative that Condit immediately focus on scrambling back up and making Oliveira exhaust his gas tank. Oliveira does not like to push a hard pace at the best of times, let alone on two weeks’ notice. If Condit makes the decision early not to accept bottom position and to keep a high output on the feet, things may not start out well for the veteran, but the tide will slowly shift to his direction.
Body shots would make that shift occur faster. Condit doesn’t want Oliveira at close distance anyway, so shooting lots of teep kicks up the middle into Oliveira’s mid-section seems like an easy tactical choice.
Record: 18-4-1 (2)
Key Wins: Ryan LaFlare (UFC on FOX 25), Tim Means (UFC Fight Night 106), Will Brooks (UFC Fight Night 96), Piotr Hallmann (UFC Fight Night 77)
Key Losses: Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 83), Yancy Medeiros (UFC 218)
Keys to Victory: Oliveira is a physical beast. His game is a bit odd at times — the Brazilian didn’t start training until the age of 22 — but he’s nevertheless a seriously hard-hitting kickboxer with a powerful wrestling game.
Oliveira has finished 15 of his past opponents.
It’s difficult to write out a strategy without knowing the type of shape Oliveira is in. If he was already training very actively and can confidently fight three decent rounds, putting Condit on his back and keeping him there is definitely the way to go.
For the sake of keeping it interesting, let’s assume that isn’t the case.
If Oliveira is working with a limited gas tank and doesn’t want to suffer one of those famous Condit comebacks, he has to put a hurting on Condit early. He could try to rock Condit standing, but “Natural Born Killer” has a ton of experience defending against the flurry.
Instead, the takedown may still be the answer. Instead of control, however, Oliveira will want to posture up tall and drop heavy blows. When Condit fell to Demian Maia last year, he said a ground strike from the Brazilian stunned him and set up the submission, and I would bet every dollar I own that Oliveira can drop heavier shots than the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace.
Bottom Line: We’ll find out how much Condit has left in the tank.
Condit is facing a tougher opponent than originally planned. It’s really not all that much of a step back in competition from Neil Magny. The silver lining is definitely that conditioning advantage, but Condit still has a very tough fight on his hands. Frankly, it’s pretty obvious what’s on the line in this match up: A win earns Condit a great deal of breathing room, whereas a fourth straight loss pushes him closer to retirement.
That’s not exactly fair, but it’s still the situation.
As for Oliveira, the Brazilian has a chance to reclaim the spot in the rankings he lost last time out. In addition, taking a short-notice fight should earn him so goodwill, as did his “Fight of the Year”-worthy losing performance last time out. Since Oliveira is the unranked man facing No. 12, he really won’t lose much ground if this risk does not payoff.
At UFC on FOX 29, Carlos Condit and Alex Oliveira will face off at 170 pounds. Which fighter will earn the victory?