Tony Ferguson is coming back to the octagon at UFC 256, following his nasty defeat against Justin Gaethje, in which he lost pretty much everything earned throughout the last several years. His opponent will be Charles Oliveira, who’s coming into this event with high expectations.
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Tony Ferguson (-166)
El Cucuy (25-4 MMA, 15-2 UFC) doesn’t have an option here. He needs to deliver a confident win and redeemed for a loss against Justin Gaethje back in May. Otherwise, his free fall wil continue. It is hard to imagine that after just one loss, a fighter is stripped of any media hype, but that’s the way things work in the UFC.
Ferguson was ripped apart against Gaethje. The American absorbed a beating like never before, getting smashed in all sorts of ways. One of his alibis was that he prepared for one opponent and, in the end, got a completely different one. Against Oliveira, there can’t be any of those excuses.
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Let’s not forget that Ferguson didn’t lose for 12 straight before Gaethje and that he defeated Edson Barboza, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, and many more during that stretch.
Charles Oliveira (+150)
Bor Bronx (29-8 MMA, 17-8 UFC) is one of the guys who are under the radar for a long time. However, there are a few reasons for that as well. Since midway 2018, he posted seven consecutive victories, winning the Performance of the Night bonus on five occasions. ‘
The Brazilian is a fantastic grappler, and with 14 submission wins, he holds the UFC record, as is tied with Cowboy Cerrone for most stoppage wins in the organization with 16. There aren’t many submission-masters with a better record than him.
All of his fights are interesting, and are usually awarded with various bonuses, but what we need to say is that Oliveira doesn’t have too many big wins in his resume. The most notable one was against Kevin Lee, who was his last opponent, by the way. A vast majority of matches against top-ranked guys ended with him being on the losing side (Felder, Lamas, Pettis, Holloway, etc.)
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Tony Ferguson vs Charles Oliveira is, on paper, the most exciting UFC lightweight match-up you can put together (without Justin Gaethje).
— RJ Clifford (@RJcliffordMMA) December 8, 2020
The last sentence above this paragraph was decisive for this pick. Oliveira is an excellent fighter whose numbers are impressive, but nothing more than that. The reason for those record-breaking achievements were mediocre rivals, not his superb performances. Because of that, Ferguson’s win here is the final pick. El Cucuy winning by TKO/KO is even better at +190.