The Film Room: Alex Oliveira

By Kevin Wilson Apr 25, 2019
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Alex Oliveira will step inside the Octagon for the first time since his brutal submission loss to Gunnar Nelson in December, as he takes on Mike Perry in a welterweight showcase at UFC Fight Night 150 on Saturday in Sunrise, Florida. The Brazilian “Cowboy” has compiled a 9-4 record since he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster in 2015.

Oliveira steps into the spotlight in this edition of The Film Room.

No disrespect to Donald Cerrone, but Oliveira is the only real cowboy in the UFC. Before he found martial arts, Oliveira worked as a bull rider and construction worker in Brazil, then transitioned to an MMA career at 22 years of age. Since most of his martial arts experience was within MMA, Oliveira does not exhibit techniques from any one style or discipline of fighting. He is a truly well-rounded martial artist and appears comfortable wherever the fight takes him, whether it be on the ground, on the feet or in the clinch. Although he favors striking with opponents and working on the lead, he can be effective on the counter and has won many fights with his performances in the clinch. His stance and style are a bit odd, as he keeps his hands quite low and maintains a slight bounce to his feet like a karateka, though he comes forward with combos like a boxer and has the clinch of an elite Nak Muay. Oliveira is known for his aggressive style, but he rarely throws more than two to three strikes when blitzing forward before resetting at distance.

Oliveira does his best work on the lead, but he does have the skills and timing to be effective on the counter. Something to notice is how he rarely counters with a single precision strike. Instead, he likes to counter with a full-fledged leading combo while the opponent is off-balance. This allows Oliveira to simultaneously counter and lead during a fight, which can make it incredibly hard to read what is coming next from him.

Since Oliveira can be an aggressive striker, he finds himself in the clinch or against the cage often. Once in the clinch, he likes to grab a plum grip behind the head and hammer knees to the body and elbows to the head. The only inadequate aspect of his clinch work is that he does not initiate it enough. Most of his opponents have no answers for his plum, but he routinely breaks the clinch and goes back to striking at distance. It would be nice to see him work on his cage cutting and the ability to back down opponents, at which point he can establish the position more often.

Oliveira is known for his striking, but he is an intelligent fighter and has dominated past opponents on the ground whenever he has felt like they have the advantage on the feet. He wanted no part of standing with Will Brooks, routinely took the fight to the ground and busted up the American Top Team rep with ground-and-pound for the TKO finish. Virtually all of his takedowns come from the clinch. He rarely shoots for double- and single-leg takedowns and would rather work his way into the clinch and drag opponents to the mat.

Once the fight hits the mat, Oliveira has vicious ground-and-pound and has recently been finishing opponents with submissions. He only has four submission victories on his resume, but two of those have come in the last two years against Carlos Condit and Tim Means. Since Perry is a relentless striker, it would not be surprising to see Oliveira use the same tactics he used against Brooks to try to finish the fight on the ground while not taking any chances on the feet. Advertisement
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