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UFC 248 card: Alex Oliveira vs Max Griffin full fight preview

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Alex Oliveira and Max Griffin will throw down this Saturday (March 7, 2020) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Brazilian “Cowboy” made a brief stop in the divisional Top 15, but since then, his situation has really deteriorated. Oliveira has lost three straight fights, and while he had strong moments in each of those defeats, Oliveira is in serious need of a victory. The same could be said of his opponent, however, as Griffin has lost three of his last four bouts. Admittedly, his decision “loss” to Thiago Alves was brutally bad judging, but the brawler is also looking to bounce back with a victory.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Alex Oliveira

Record: 19-8-1 (2)
Key Wins: Carlos Condit (UFC on FOX 29), Ryan LaFlare (UFC on FOX 25), Tim Means (UFC Fight Night 106), Will Brooks (UFC Fight Night 96)
Key Losses: Gunnar Nelson (UFC 231), Mike Perry (UFC Fight Night 150), Nicolas Dalby (UFC Fight Night 160), Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 83)
Keys to Victory: Oliveira is not an athlete who anyone would describe as a technical fighter. Instead, he’s a mix of absurd physical talent and natural fighting ability, a late starter in martial arts who has nevertheless been able to achieve some very solid success thanks to his power and toughness.

Griffin is another fighter who succeeds largely because of his durability and heavy hands, which means this is almost certainly going to be a brawl. Between the two, Griffin is probably the cleaner striker with crisper straight punches, but Oliveira has greater lights-off power.

I’d like to see Oliveira work from the outside in this match up. Though he doesn’t technically have a reach or height advantage, the Brazilian’s kicks are incredibly heavy. If Griffin’s legs and mid-section are getting slammed with power shots at distance, it will really force him to close the distance aggressively: an ideal time for Oliveira to time a counter punch or duck into a double-leg takedown.


Max Griffin

Record: 15-7
Key Wins: Mike Perry (UFC on FOX 28), Zelim Imadaev (UFC 236), David Mitchell (West Coast Fighting 16)
Key Losses: Colby Covington (UFC 202), Elizeu Zoleski dos Santos (UFC Fight Night 119)
Keys to Victory: Griffin is a long Southpaw with a very heavy left hand. At the start of his UFC career, defensive wrestling was a major issue for “Pain,” but he’s since improved to the point that scoring takedowns is often a big part of his own strategy for success.

Against Oliveira, closing distance is the name of the game. Frankly, Oliveira fights like a weirdo: he dances around the outside of the Octagon then literally sprints forward with massive power punches or punishing kicks. It sounds goofy, and he’s been countered for it in the past, but Oliveira also has that knack for timing that makes his lunges very dangerous.

Griffin does not want to patiently follow Oliveira around as the Brazilian tries to line up his right hand. Instead, Griffin should try to get a hand on Oliveira and force exchanges in the pocket, where his sharper boxing skills can make a difference. While there is risk of a takedown from Oliveira at that range, Oliveira has never shown an ability to maintain his wrestling across three rounds.

Griffin has repeatedly found success in surging forward after tough rounds, and he may be forced to do so again.

Bottom Line

WELTERWEIGHT WAR!

This is really a simple equation. Two Welterweight scrappers in their early 30s are going to be locked in a cage and fight like they always do. One of them will put the other away quickly, or we’ll likely in for a three-round war of attrition that sees the momentum shift multiple times.

Sounds like a fun ESPN+ PPV main card opener to me!

The fact that both men really need a win only heightens the odds of dramatic violence. There is a chance that either man could be released with a loss. Thankfully, the placement of this bout shows that UFC understands that both men can be trusted to entertain, which does offer a sliver of job security to the defeated party.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 248 fight card this weekend starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 248: “Adesanya vs. Romero” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC 248, Alex Oliveira and Max Griffin will open the main card. Which man will have his hand raised?