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UFC on Versus 5 Fight Card: Charles Oliveira vs. Donald Cerrone Dissection

If you've spent any amount of time interacting with the MMA community, you'll probably agree that we have an uncanny ability to find something negative in anything and everything.

That fight was a boring snooze-fest up until that flying omoplata in the first round, that amazing knockout was soured by the flawed technique of the thrower (plus that other guy was over-rated anyway), and yes, as a matter of fact, the way you type does make you look fat, etc.

The unflinching scorn and cynicism we constantly immerse ourselves in tends to make you genuinely appreciate the rare occasions when fight fans high-five in unanimous agreement ... such as when the Charles Oliveira vs. Donald Cerrone fight was announced for the UFC on Versus 5 card.

I would hazard a guess that this match up would be found upon the consensus top-five "Fights That Will Blow Your Head Off" lists. The modus operandi for both Cerrone and Oliveira is best described as an unbridled explosion of pure aggression transmitted through utterly scathing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.

Their idea of defense consists of exiling their opponents into unconsciousness through strikes or submissions. And that is simply a beautiful thing for us innocent bystanders to behold.

Even though the analysis on this type of straight-forward car crash is far from groundbreaking, I'll cover the basics in the full entry.


Excluding their heritage and a one-inch difference in height, Cerrone and Oliveira are mirror images of each other. They have identical reach lengths (73"), they specialize in Muay Thai and BJJ, they never stop pressing forward with intent to do bodily harm, and they're always fixated on finishing.

Cerrone (14-3) has only been defeated in the WEC by reputable names in Jamie Varner (by a controversial split-decision) and Ben Henderson twice (the first by decision, the second by guillotine). Since crossing over to the UFC, "Cowboy" has looked nothing short of phenomenal in stopping veteran Paul Kelly by mata leao and mangling the legs of Vagner Rocha (who took the fight on short notice) in a thoroughly dominant decision victory.

Oliveira burst onto the scene with two spectacular submission wins over Darren Elkins and Efrain Escudero. Then, in a performance that will take him a while to live down, he carelessly allowed top contender Jim Miller to camp out on his leg and tweak it in various angles of discomfort before tapping to the kneebar. This was Oliveira's first and only career defeat, but it stamped a question mark on his fight I.Q. for his inexplicably lax attention to defense.


However, eyebrows furrowed in suspicion quickly gave way to jaws dropping in astonishment when Oliveira returned against Nik Lentz.

Lentz has a reputation for suppressing his adversaries with efficient -- albeit nondescript -- fight strategies, but Oliveira chalked up a breakthrough performance with a torrent of unstoppable hostility.

He seamlessly transitioned from flashy combinations to flying knees to keeping the wrestler at bay with an array of submission attempts.


A tell-tale sign of someone with uncanny fundamentals and punching power is when their opponent is floored by a blow that seems to barely connect, such as the exchange to the left.

Oliveira's lackadaisical defense is worth noting in this sequence, though it's hard to pick apart something that resulted in success, especially since this is another trait shared by Cerrone.

Of course, the outcome of Oliveira vs. Lentz was marred by an illegal knee and rendered a No Contest, but the Brazilian still made a strong statement.


Despite their inclement striking and grappling standing as their trademark, both fighters are fairly adept wrestlers.

Oliveira was active with takedown attempts against Escudero and Miller, and to the right Cerrone times a nice double leg on Chris Horodecki.

The only advantages I see with takedowns in this match up is for scoring purposes; being locked inside the jaws of their active guards can hardly be construed as an advisable position.


As soon as the action hits the floor, each is contorting their bodies into a liquid-like submission or sweep attempt, with a library of options to choose from.

This will likely be a contest where the most miniscule factor could make a monumental difference, such as being a millisecond too slow to dodge an incoming swipe or adding an extra inch of depth on a kick.

If the fight goes the distance, it's possible their comparable submission skills will equalize and the judges' affinity for takedowns and top control will come into play.

Both have been known to absorb their fair share of punishment, but have never been knocked out and seem to have iron-lined chins. Their past level of competition probably leans a tad toward Cerrone, but not by much.

The betting lines reveal a deadlocked ambivalence to reinforce that there is no particular evidence to favor one fighter over the other. This is a toss-up if I've ever seen one. I will borrow a line from the great Wanderlei Silva who once simply offered, "I predict violence."

My Prediction: Donald Cerrone by split-decision

Gifs via Zombie Prophet of