When we last left our heroes...At age 24, Charles 'Da Bronx' Oliveira has had nine fights in the UFC. A list of some of his opponents include Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Cub Swanson, and Frankie Edgar.
My point? He's one of the most mismanaged prospects in MMA. Continuity is a key component of learning. I know people don't care for hockey analogies on this site, but with my Dallas Stars tied at 8th place in their conference for a wild card spot and my hopes at an all time but improbable high, I'd like to use one. A defenseman in the NHL is a good example. When you draft a defender, it's important to let him stew on the farm team for a couple of years if not more. Why? Because even if he's capable of playing, the threat of being overwhelmed can rattle his confidence, and make him feel incapable rather than unprepared once he enters the NHL.
This is basically Oliveira's career in a nutshell. The younger they are, the more soft touches they need. It's not rocket science, and it's not EliteXC level matchmaking either. For example, if you have an awesome Olympic wrestler with loads of potential you don't match him up with the ghost of Rousimar Palhares. If you have a young fighter with brilliant striking, you don't feed him to a 20 year old Mark Coleman who is allowed to headbutt.
After beating Efrain Escudero, the Brazilian prospect with good striking and jiu jitsu got matched up with veterans with good striking and jiu jitsu at the tender age of 21.
The reason this annoys me so much is not because I'm an avid Oliveira fan, but because it highlights our fast food nonexistent amateur system.
With that said, he's done well reasonably well under those circumstances, sporting a 4-4-1 record in the UFC. He looked pretty good against Frankie Edgar at UFC 162 as well despite fighting a recent and former LW champion.
Across from him is the UK's Andy Ogle, who has yet to really distinguish himself from the FW pack. Ogle picked the wrong time to beat Josh Grispi in order to garner more acclaim since that's no longer special, and has lost to Akira Corassani and Cole Miller.
What both men can do: Oliveira is good at pretty much all the same things that earned him so much hype early in his career. He hasn't improved in a lot of obvious ways, but with his skills, a little improvement goes a long way.
He's only gone to a decision once in his 16 career victories. He possesses solid respectable power in his right hand, and keeps his legs active high and low (and front). Oliveira is a lot like Rafael dos Anjos in that he has a killer instinct on the ground. Some fighters skilled on the ground feel like even against lesser opposition that they need to set everything up. Not Oliveira...if he suspects you're just not good enough on the ground, you're getting pressured, and eventually slept.
This killer instinct cost him against Miller, when he quickly dropped for a leg lock, only to get kneebarred himself.
Ogle will want this fight on the feet. At 24 years of age, he's still learning, but he has solid fundamentals. He's not gonna wow you with his power, or agility, but he's good at setting up his power punches with a quick and persistent left jab.
What both men can't do: The Cole Miller fight is a good bout to look at for a variety of reasons. Miller fought a more measured bout, and we saw Ogle have a difficult time dealing with Miller's height and sporadic pressure. While he did a good job of avoiding the submissions in that bout, Oliveira can replicate a lot of what Miller accomplished on the ground.
In addition, Oliveria will have the reach advantage. Oliveira fought confidently against Edgar, but he still has outbursts on the feet that lend himself to getting countered. Still, the Edgar fight leads me to believe Charles knows the score. He'll pressure Ogle, but he won't need to crack him to win.
X-Factor: Ogle fought a much better fight against Miller in the 3rd round by being more active and going to the body. If he sticks to a specific gameplan, this fight hardly becomes the gimmie some fans see it as. Is Oliveira mature enough to adjust if that happens?
In-Fight Soundtrack: Judgment Night...an action movie improbably starring Emilio Estevez and Denis Leary...was sort of ahead of its time in some ways. Getting Helmet together with House of Pain was one of my favorites as a grade schooler. Apologies Mr. Ogle for being less than subliminal with this pick.
Prediction: Charles Oliveira by Gullotine, round 2.