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Alex Oliveira on UFC 231 loss to Gunnar Nelson: ‘That elbow changed everything’

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Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira speaks candidly about his bloody loss to Gunnar Nelson at UFC 231 last weekend.

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MMA: UFC 231-Oliveira vs Nelson Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

UFC welterweight fighter Alex Oliveira was on a two-fight win streak entering UFC 231 last weekend. It was unfortunately broken by a devastating elbow shot to the forehead courtesy of Gunnar Nelson, leading to a second-round submission loss.

While the official decision was a submission via rear-naked choke, Oliveira says it really was the elbow that did him in.

“38 stitches, man,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “They did 38 stitches. “But it’s part of the game, right, man? Like you said, that elbow completely changed the course of the fight.

“The rear-naked choke was in, but I was alive, I was fine. The problem was all that blood. When I put my hand on my forehead I felt everything was f—ng open, I couldn’t see anything.

“Even if I made out of that round, the referee wouldn’t let me continue.”


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Currently situated at the #15 spot in the UFC’s official rankings, “Cowboy” is not letting this loss deter him in any way.

“This loss was a win for me,” he said. “We also learn when we lose, right? I keep my head held high. Let’s prepare for the next one. I can’t train now, but I can’t stand still. I need to do something.

“Losses are part of the game, we understand that. That elbow changed everything. It was his day, not mine, and I accept it. Let’s work for the next one.”

After UFC 231, the 30-year-old Oliveira drops to a record of 19-6-1 (with 2 NC and 16 wins by stoppage).