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UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare - Idiot's Guide Preview to Gilbert Burns vs Alex Oliveira

David Castillo breaks down the three things you need to know for the most lopsided bout to exist involving a fighter nicknamed "Cowboy" on the card for UFN 62 in Rio de Janeiro.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Before Demian Maia and Ryan LaFlare take center stage, one underrated grappling lightweight takes on the Brazilian "Cowboy" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the Ginasio do Maracanazinho on March 21, 2015.

The Match Up

Lightweight Gilbert Burns 9-0 vs. Alex Oliveira 10-1-1 Draw &1 NC

The Odds

Lightweight Gilbert Burns -550 vs. Alex Oliveira +425

3 Things You Should Know

1. Burns is every bit the distinguished Nogi stalwart his 2010, 2011, and 2013 gold medals indicate, but the 28 year old training out of Jaco Hybrid still has plenty of learning to do.

The fun thing about Gilbert Burns is knowing that there are still some exciting grapplers-turned-martial artists in this sport. We're usually bored by the presence of a submission artist making the transition; after all, they seem to offer less and less these days, and appear to have trouble developing other facets of their game, including the very important aspect of getting your opponent down to begin with in order to initiate scrambles. Marcelo Garcia went bust, and Roger Gracie continues to struggle.

However, we have a relatively small sample size compared to kickboxers and wrestlers and I suspect part of the problem is age; grapplers seem to get started late. Whatever the case, Burns is younger than most at 28, and has incorporated other aspects of MMA into his game; a fact that's been on display during his 2-0 run in the UFC.

2. Alex 'Cowboy' Oliveira should not be confused with 18th century animal herders and vaqueros. Or Donald Cerrone. After UFN 62, you'll know why.

In any other context, Oliveira would be 'just another dude' on the undercard, but short notice scored him a bout on the main card instead, where he doesn't belong.

Oliveira is a decent fighter for the undercard, as he owns a fairly entertaining style but his strength of opposition is considerably lacking, with the exception of his last win against Joilton Santos.

3. The odds are insanely accurate. No more, no less. This is a showcase fight for Burns, plain and simple.

Burns' grappling is everything you expect it to be. He possesses impeccable timing when it comes to setups, guard passing, and everything in between. All of this is bolstered by his athleticism. As far as striking goes, he's getting better. While he experiences bouts of inertia every now and then, he's got a very quick release; an overhand left from his southpaw stance, and an active right leg that likes to chop both high and low.

Oliveira, as I said, is a decent fighter in the right context. For one, he's entertaining. He has access to good punch combinations in close, which helps accelerate his takedowns when he's looking for them. While he won't be looking to take this fight to the ground, he'll get his chances on the feet if Burns decides he wants to test out his striking. Oliveira owns quite a few TKO's on his record, and yet I'd argue Burns has more power; a function of Oliveria's lack of quality competition, Burns' size advantage, and Burns' superior athleticism. So even on the feet I favor Burns.


Gilbert Burns by RNC, round 1.

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