Charles Oliveira ended up claiming the vacant UFC lightweight title with a win over Michael Chandler last weekend at UFC 262, but his coach believes he could have done better.
Oliveira, who entered the main event clash riding an eight-fight win streak, was participating in his first UFC title fight since joining the promotion 11 years ago. “Do Bronx” encountered some issues in the first round as Chandler nearly finished him with strikes, but the veteran regrouped to earn a TKO stoppage in the second.
Now we’re learning that Oliveira suffered a leg injury during training and wasn’t able to stick with the same gameplan against Chandler. “Do Bronx” had planned to use more kicks to limit the explosiveness and mobility of Chandler. It would have come in handy considering Chandler was able to use his athleticism and distance control to clobber Oliveira with some hard punches in the first round, but “Do Bronx” eventually adapted.
Oliveira’s coach, Diego Lima, detailed the pre-fight injury in a recent interview with Ag Fight.
“Charles slipped. He hurt his leg, so we couldn’t kick too much. It took us some time before we could start kicking. We started kicking only two weeks prior to the fight and kicking was one of the things we wanted to do the most in the fight. Nothing fazes Charles, though. He’s bulletproof, it’s amazing.”
Luckily, Oliveira was able to re-define his gameplan and score some solid control time on the ground in the early going. Once he decided to open up on the feet to begin the second round he was able to starch Chandler with a flurry of punches and eventually captured the lightweight strap. It would have been interesting to see if Oliveira could have taken Chandler out sooner if his leg was at full strength.
For now, Oliveira will be able to heal up whatever injuries he endured leading into and suffered at UFC 262. He will need every weapon in his arsenal moving forward as the UFC’s undisputed lightweight champion.