UFC Fight Night 170: Lee vs. Oliveira - Predictions and Picks
- The UFC heads back to Brazil this weekend for a fun-sounding Fight Night headlined by two Lightweight contenders.
As you’d expect, the card is chock-full of Brazilian fighters – a healthy mix of fan-favorite veterans and rising prospects – and while the show is overall lacking in some casual intrigue, the presence of exciting fighters like Renato Moicano, Johnny Walker and Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos mean it might be worth watching.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Fight Night 170: Lee vs. Oliveira.
Lightweights: Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira
This Lightweight clash promises to be a hell of a fight between two of the division’s most experienced younger fighters. Despite being in the UFC since 2010, Oliveira is still only 30 years old, and with 6 straight wins to his name, he’s on the best run of his career. But does he have enough to deal with former title challenger Lee, who recently KO’d Gregor Gillespie with a vicious head kick?
Traditionally, Oliveira belongs to a group of fighters – like CB Dollaway, Anthony Pettis, and Andrei Arlovski – who are spectacular when they’re on offense but struggle greatly in terms of defense. The proof is in the record; ‘Do Bronx’ is 16-8 in the UFC (with one No Contest) and outside of a 2014 win over Jeremy Stephens, all of his wins have come via stoppage.
On the flip-side though, outside of a 2013 fight with Frankie Edgar, he’s also been finished in all of his losses. And while his current run has been fantastic, it’s worth noting that all of the wins were relatively quick, against fighters who largely failed to hurt him or put pressure on him.
Lee should be a far sterner test. ‘The Motown Phenom’ looked like the future of the 155lbs division when he reeled off 6 wins in 7 attempts from 2016 to 2018, with the only loss coming to Tony Ferguson, but a striking-based setback to Al Iaquinta triggered an ill-advised move to 170lbs, where he was outclassed by Rafael Dos Anjos.
Since then though, he’s moved back to 155lbs, and made an instant impact with that KO of Gillespie.
So how do the two match up? They’re basically poles apart when it comes to their styles; Oliveira is all flashy offense, whether it’s on the feet or on the ground. A venomous grappler, ‘Do Bronx’ has used a ridiculous amount of submissions across his UFC career, using anaconda chokes, guillotine chokes, and even a calf slicer to tap his opponents out.
He’s recently developed a lot more striking power too, knocking out his last two opponents with clean, straight punches – something he rarely used in his earlier career. His weaknesses have tended to come with a lack of durability – as has already been mentioned – and while it hasn’t really cost him fights, his wrestling defense isn’t the best.
Lee meanwhile is all about the takedown; although his striking has come on since his UFC debut, and he’s now comfortable boxing with opponents and has a solid jab, his grappling is his bread and butter. He’s a powerful wrestler, uses brutal ground-and-pound when he has an opponent on the mat and is tremendously dangerous from the back mount, able to choke opponents as good as Michael Chiesa and Francisco Trinaldo out.
His big weakness has historically been his conditioning – Lee has a bad tendency to gas out, particularly if he pushes a hard pace early on – but that won’t likely be a problem here as Oliveira isn’t a cardio machine either and he isn’t likely to look to drag Lee into deep waters as Dos Anjos did.
For me, this is a very tricky fight for Oliveira; he’s got the skills to finish Lee, but the problem is that ‘The Motown Phenom’ is far more physically gifted, and has the power to hurt the Brazilian both on the feet and on the ground. If these guys trade-off, then Lee probably has the chin to withstand Oliveira’s striking power and if he lands something like he did against Gillespie, then ‘Do Bronx’ is toast.
And on the ground, Oliveira can hunt for submissions all he likes, but while Ferguson caught Lee in a triangle choke from the bottom, he also took a tremendous beating before that – something that the Brazilian just doesn’t have the durability to survive.
Oliveira basically has a puncher’s chance here – both on his feet and in a metaphorical sense on the ground – but I just think he’s physically overmatched in this one and won’t be capable of withstanding Lee’s power.