Ferguson v Oliveira odds
Saturday night’s co-main event sees Tony Ferguson return to the Octagon for the first time since he was beaten by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May.
Ferguson came into that fight as the favourite on the back of a 12-fight winning streak but was comfortably outboxed by Gaethje throughout and lost by TKO in the fifth round.
El Cucuy was very unfortunate to never get a shot at the undisputed title despite years at the top of the lightweight division, but he can get back into the picture by beating Charles Oliveira at the Apex this weekend.
Oliveira is only 31 but has a huge amount of professional experience, with 38 fights to date including 26 in the UFC.
After a bright start with the company, he faltered between 2015 and 2017 but has since rebounded with a hugely impressive seven-fight winning streak.
Oliveira has always been a submission specialist but he has recently added some steel to his striking game, and his last seven wins have all ended in a finish of some sort.
He is to win on Saturday night, while Ferguson is the favourite.
Ferguson v Oliveira prediction
This should be a great match-up between two all-action fighters.
Oliveira’s recent success can largely be attributed to his desire to push the pace and trade strikes with his opponent. He backs his own power more than ever and it has paid off with his first two knockout wins since 2010.
The Brazilian will look to come out firing early on Saturday, and could catch Ferguson cold given the former interim champion’s proclivity for slow starts.
What hurts Oliveira’s chances, though, is Ferguson’s ability to withstand a huge amount of punishment.
The American has an incredible chin, and his cardio means he typically comes on stronger and stronger as the fight progresses.
Ferguson is also an elite grappler both offensively and defensively, so he’ll be very difficult for Oliveira to pin down on the mat.
Assuming the defeat to Gaethje was just a below-par performance against an elite opponent, Ferguson’s all-round game should earn him the win on Saturday.
Prior to that loss, he put away Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis with second-round TKOs, and Oliveira is in a similar class to those fighters.
Ferguson may lose the first round, but his work rate and striking prowess make him the man to back here, and the durability of both fighters means victory is most likely to come via the judges’ scorecards.
Ferguson to win by decision
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