Oliveira and Gaethje are set to do battle during the UFC 274 main event on May 7 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The bout serves as “Do Bronx’s” second title defense. The Brazilian earned the 155-pound strap in May 2021 when he took out multiple-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler via second-round TKO.
His first defense went down at UFC 269 in December, submitting fan-favorite combatant Dustin Poirier with a third-round rear-naked choke.
Oliveira is riding a 10-fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeat since a TKO loss to Paul Felder in 2017. On the other end, Gaethje is 5-1 in his last six fights, beating notable names like Chandler, Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone.
His sole defeat during this current stretch is to then-lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov when The Highlight was the division’s interim champion. He was unable to unify the belt against “The Eagle” in October 2020, dropping the fight by second-round triangle choke. Gaethje bounced back from the loss by outpointing Chandler in a fight-of-the-year candidate in November.
Bisping Advises Gaethje to Respect Oliveira’s Submission Game
Oliveira is credited with the most submission victories ever inside the Octagon. And during a recent YouTube video, Bisping advised Gaethje to respect that. The Highlight has solid wrestling, and if he plans to use it to take the fight to the canvas, “The Count” said Gaethje shouldn’t “engage in the Jiu-Jitsu game.”
Instead, Gaethje should work to tire out his opponent while landing ground-and-pound strikes from guard.
“If he (Justin Gaethje) uses the wrestling, and takes down Charles Oliveira, that could be dangerous,” Bisping said via Low Kick MMA. “We know Charles is the best submission practitioner that the UFC has ever seen. But it doesn’t me he (Gaethje) can’t win a fight down there. Just look at the last time Charles Oliveira was beaten, that was against Paul Felder… ultimately, he gassed. Felder got on top and he landed five or six vicious, hard elbows, one after the other, and the referee called it off.”
“But the point remains, that a good wrestler, with a solid base, that isn’t playing that game, can win,” The Count continued. “If you don’t engage in the Jiu-Jitsu game, if you don’t abide by the rules, if you don’t try and pass guard, if you don’t try and go for your own submissions, you don’t create as many openings.”
Bisping Pointed to Gaethje’s Leg Kicks as a Powerful Weapon
Gaethje is known for his devastating leg kicks, and Bisping views them as an obvious tool for the American to use in his quest to become undisputed lightweight king.
“Another factor to consider as well: the leg kicks of Justin Gaethje,” Bisping said. “He is one of the best history in the absolute game. A lot power, he throws them with frequency, he will stand in the pocket and throw low kicks all the time… he does it all the time. He has an advantage with the kicks, he has an advantage with the power, and he has an advantage in the wrestling. But Charles Oliveira has an advantage with the Jiu-Jitsu, maybe with the heart, with the experience, maybe the physiological experience coming in as the champion.”