WelterweightsCarlos Condit (30-11) vs. Alex Oliveira (18-4)
ODDS: Oliveira (-200), Condit (+170)
ANALYSIS: How foolish to expect an event to go off without at least one major fight falling apart. It comes as no surprise then that Matt Brown would tear his ACL, forcing him from the card. While we have lost what seemed like a surefire classic between he and Condit, Oliveira steps in to keep “The Natural Born Killer” on the marquee. That is not a bad consolation prize.
I once described Condit as a whirling dervish of violence: knees, punches, kicks, elbows and all. Sadly, he seems to be whirling less these days, and he is less violent, too. That will happen when you get robbed of the welterweight title -- yes, I said it -- in an absolute scorcher, where Robbie Lawler takes a piece of your soul. Maybe his disappointing performances against Demian Maia and Neil Magny were the result of difficult style matchups. Condit has never had great takedown defense, relying instead on an active guard and even more active standup. He has plenty of one-shot finishes on his record, but they are not Yoel Romero-style occurrences. Condit, possibly even to his detriment, has always spammed offense of almost any kind. He either lands enough to take rounds, breaks his opponent’s nose or knocks him out. However, that constant output requires space, and it also can leave him open to big counters as he resets his feet.
All of these things could pose problems against Oliveira, who presents a wholly different and less suitable style clash for Condit than Brown. He is long and a massive hitter. He is monstrously strong, and he makes great use of that fact in the clinch and in rag-dolling opponents to the floor, where he delivers thunderous ground-and-pound.
“Cowboy” is no defensive or strategic genius. You do not need me to tell you this after he wound up on the wrong side of a war with Yancy Medeiros. His submission defense also has been traditionally poor. The Brazilian has displayed mental lapses in the past that have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. With that said, he has been steadily improving technically while also settling into the welterweight division, where he remains imposing. I have no idea how he ever made lightweight.
Maybe I’m trying to talk myself into a Condit win here -- Oliveira, after all, is taking this fight on less than two weeks’ notice and got hammered in his last fight -- but I just cannot bring myself to do it. Condit looked out of sorts versus Magny, a fighter much more technically sound but much less dangerous than Oliveira. This is concerning and speaks to where Condit likely is mentally and physically at this point in his career. Oliveira muscles his way to a decision win.
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