Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight finisher Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira will clash TONIGHT (March 14, 2020) at UFC Fight Night 170 from inside Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil.
Unlike just about every other major sports organization, UFC’s show must go on! Luckily, while the majority of us sit inside our homes and avoid each other, there are some pretty stellar fights still happening tonight with the added intrigue of a quiet stadium and killer main event.
The two share some similarities: two incredibly gifted fighters trying to make the most of their talents. Neither man has yet to go on a real title run, but that potential is obvious. Unfortunately, both have also missed weight a number of times, and that issue reared its ugly head for Lee at yesterday’s weigh-ins, as he missed weight by three pounds.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each athlete:
Key Wins: Edson Barboza (UFC Fight Night 128), Gregor Gillespie (UFC 244), Michael Chiesa (UFC Fight Night 112), Francisco Trinaldo (UFC Fight Night 106), Michele Prazeres (UFC Fight Night 60)
Key Losses: Al Iaquinta (UFC on FOX 31, UFC 169), Raphael dos Anjos (UFC Fight Night 152), Tony Ferguson (UFC 216), Leonardo Santos (UFC 194)
Keys to Victory: Lee is a really scary combination of strength, length, and excellent wrestling. He’s routinely able to double leg opponents against the fence with remarkable consistency, and his top game is truly punishing.
As the better wrestler, it’s really up to Lee whether this is a kickboxing match or grappling contest. Oliveira is dangerous in both realms, so there isn’t really an easy choice, but personally I’d like to see Lee working his way into top position.
Simply put, Oliveira historically falls apart when bullied. He’s gotten much better at maintaining his composure and firing back, but that history is still important. If Lee muscles Oliveira to the mat, he will have to maintain an extreme focus on arm placement and avoiding submissions. However, denying Oliveira’s submissions for a couple minutes — and ideally dropping a few bombs in the process — will really attack the confidence of “Do Bronx.”
When his submissions fail, Oliveira has been overwhelmed on his back before.
Record: 28-8 (1)
Key Wins: David Teymur (UFC Fight Night 144), Nik Lentz (UFC Fight Night 152, UFC Fight Night 67), Jeremy Stephens (TUF 20 Finale), Myles Jury (UFC on FOX 17), Hatsu Hioki (UFC Fight Night 43), Will Brooks (UFC 210)
Key Losses: Paul Felder (UFC 218), Anthony Pettis (UFC on FOX 21), Frankie Edgar (UFC 162), Cub Swanson (UFC 152), Ricardo Lamas (UFC Fight Night 98)
Keys to Victory: I skipped over plenty of fairly high-profile names in recapping Oliveira’s history of fights, and that’s still an absurd resume of top-notch competition! The Brazilian has been fighting with many of the sport’s best for 10 years now, and he’s really honed his game to be serious dangerous both as a Muay Thai fighter and jiu-jitsu ace.
Recall how Oliveira doesn’t like to be bullied. Perhaps the simplest and best solution to being backed up is to move forward instead, which is precisely what Oliveira should do. Oliveira’s Muay Thai is not to be taken lightly — “Do Bronx” can do huge damage with kicks, punches, elbows and knees.
Neither of these men are defensive fighters, so whoever is moving forward is likely the one delivering the hurt anyway. Aside from that, being the aggressor gives Oliveira another pair of advantages. For one, attacking Lee increases the odds that he’ll take a bad shot and give Oliveira his neck. Secondly, Lee has a history of slowing down, and that will happen quicker if Oliveira is pushing the action.
It’s an excellent main event of very fun Lightweight contenders.
It’s really unfortunate that Lee was unable to make weight, as Lee is currently in a rebuilding stage of his career. He once fought for an interim title, but he’s taken a few losses since that have pushed him out of the immediate title mix. It’s very clear that Lee understands this and is on a mission to build up a win streak, but it’s hard to give much credit to any victories he picks up if he first fails at the scale.
For Oliveira, it’s perhaps an even more important moment. As mentioned, he’s already been on the roster for a decade, and this is perhaps the closest he’s been to the title mix since his Featherweight run (where he rarely made the weight). This is his first main event slot in five years, an opportunity to demonstrate his improvements and boldly declare that “Do Bronx” is finally making the most of his talent.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 170 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Fight Night 170, Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira will go to war in the main event. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?