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UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza - Idiot's Guide and Preview to Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira

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Charlies Oliveira looks to beat Nik Lentz a second time at UFN 50. Is there anything Lentz can do to play the role of spoiler and stop Oliveira's Featherweight momentum?

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Featherweight Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira

Non Advanced Stats

43 wins out of a total of 57 for a combined win percentage of 75%. There are 12 knockouts/TKO's, and 21 submission wins between them for a combined finishing rate of 57% (because of Lentz; Oliveira has only ever gone to a decision once).

Controversies, Imagined and Otherwise

Not really, unless we're talking about the first fight which famously ended with an illegal knee, even though the actual outcome of the bout was all but decided. Nobody wants to hear anymore diatribes about how Oliveira was brought up and had to develop in the worst conditions imaginable. When I say "worst conditions" think Bane's prison in Dark Knight Rises but without all of the affable doctors to help mend his injuries and cable television.

Analysis

At 25-6-2, you'd be hard pressed to think of a more improved fighter. Not just in terms of quality, and opposition or results. But in fan perception. Here was a kid who started out as the second coming of Jon Fitch. But over time he developed some burgeoning skills on the feet, and all of this culminated in his first bout with Charles Oliveira.

I realize some readers will hate me for this, but I'm always a little disappointed when a fighter foregoes what made them so effective in the first place in favor of being "crowd pleasing". Consider this comic book analogy. Sure it's more exciting to see some of the world's greatest superheros fight Thanos without his Infinity Gauntlet, but ultimately isn't it far more interesting to see how Thanos can be defeated with said power glove?

I want to see challenges overcome; not strategies that amount to a dare. So yes, I want the Lentz that garnered the hate of fans around the world for his "lay and pray". Their first bout was fun, but I wasn't watching a Nik Lentz fight. I was watching Nik Lentz get possessed by Chris Leben for a day.

As for Charles "Da Bronx", I feel like he's finally read for the kind of bouts he was getting when he started his UFC career.

His last two wins were impressive, and choking Hatsu Hioki just goes to show you how militantly dynamic his grappling game is. Hioki was always the guy fighters feared on the ground, regardless of pedigree (see Yoshida, Baret), and Oliveira made it look easy, twisting his arms into a respiratory-free nightmare like a mechanic.

So what does all of this mean for this bout? That Lentz is toast, basically.

Lentz is 30 years old, and has plateaued (is spelling this word without the benefit of google a nightmare for anyone else or am I really just that bad?) as a fighter. As in, he's a good journeyman, but that's where it stops. Oliveira is still, if you can believe it given his 11 UFC bouts, only 24 years old.

Granted, Charles isn't the perfect fighter, and sometimes I worry that he's still an all offense fighter who has yet to really pick up the defensive side of the game (especially on the feet, which is Lentz' best hope). But he was the better fighter the first time he and Lentz met, and that's doubly so now.

The irony is that despite my secret yet bizarre desire to watch Lentz try to win the way he used to, it's not something he could accomplish against Oliveira's ground game. The guy is an edelbrock in 155 lb clothing, except instead of moving Chevelles, he crushes pharynx(s's's').

The real story for Oliviera is where he goes from here. A fight with either Max Holloway or Thiago Tavares are likely in the works following a victory over Lentz. The Tavares matchup intrigues me more than one with Holloway, but only because I think Tavares would be more willing to engage in a scramble fest with Oliveira, which I would gladly pay money to see.

Oh, yea...Charles Oliviera by reverse bulldog choke.