Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist and the current MMA lightweight world champion Charles Oliviera is set to defend his belt for the second time tomorrow night against Justin Gaethje as part of a mouth-watering fight card at UFC274 in Phoenix.
Oliviera, who comes into this fight on the back of dominant wins against Michael Chandler and Dustin Porier, will now have to overcome the man known for his killer low kicks in his quest to become one of the longest reigning champions since Khabib Nurmagomeddov. The Russian retired in 2020 in the wake of his father's death after defeating Gaethje in his final title defence in the middle east. It was Tony Ferguson who was supposed to get the first opportunity but the pandemic had other plans in mind for the UFC.
Charles Oliviera is now unbeaten since 2017 and boasts a fighting sporting record of 32-8 in his professional career. Gaethje on the other hand holds a record of 23-3 overall. Oliviera is seen as the favourite for this match up by most bookmakers.
The other title fight scheduled for the evening is Rose Namajunas and her rematch against Carla Esparza. Namajunas was beaten by Esparza in their first match off against in 2014 and will be keen to show her fellow American why she is the deserved world title holder. Namajunas will be able to build on a series of strong fights and should have a enough confidence to see her through the fight.
The card is then completed with another exciting match off between Michael Chandler and the all-time public’s favourite Tony Ferguson. Ferguson, who at some point boasted a 12 win running streak until he came up against Gaethje, has struggled with form and will be keen to showcase that he is not fit for retirement yet. It. A negative result on Saturday would mean Ferguson's 4th consecutive loss.
Rewatch the pre-fight press conference here. UFC 274 kicks off at 4am CET on Sunday 08th May.