Charles Oliveira is riding a 10 fight win streak into his second title defence having beaten Michael Chandler by TKO and Dustin Poirier by rear naked choke in his last two.
He holds the most submission wins in UFC history with 20 of his 32 career wins coming by way of this method.
29 of his 32 overall wins have been finishes and he is one of the most well rounded fighters in the promotion’s history.
Justin Gaethje and his coach Trevor Wittman have been patient in waiting for this second title shot, the first was unsuccessful back in October 2020 when he lost via submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Gaethje must have been quietly peeved that Michael Chandler got a title shot ahead of him but when the two met in the octagon in November last year, they put on a show!
He put to bed any questions of who would be next to face Oliveira for the Lightweight title with a unanimous decision win in New York and here we are.
Oliveira has time and time again been underestimated both by his opponents and the punters but there is no denying his ability as well as heart when looking at his last few fights.
It is truly amazing that just one of his last 17 fights in the octagon have needed the judges decision and that was against Tony Ferguson in December 2020 when he had a couple of chances to finish the fight including a really tight arm bar that almost snapped the arm of his opponent.
Both Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier are power punches and landed some solid punches on the chin of Oliveira but testament to his will, he recovered and fought back to finish both opponents.
Gaethje is another level of power punching and he also changes things up with his vicious leg kicks which I see playing a big part in this fight.
Oliveira will be looking to level change and he has an incredible ability to move through the BJJ stages to get himself into a position for a submission.
While I do think a Oliveira submission or Gaethje KO/TKO is the most likely scenario in this fight, there is value for the fight to go the distance.
Gaethje has the advantage on the feet and if the fight does need the judges, he can score enough to get the nod at a big price.