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Redeemed Once More: Charles Oliviera

Despite Charles Oliviera’s impressive championship reign, the narrative for UFC 289’s co-main event focused primarily around Beneil Dariush.  Oliviera had just lost a one-sided contest against Islam Makhachev.  Conversely, Dariush rode an impressive win streak, including an impressive showing against Mateusz Gamrot.  Beneil seemed ready to all but secure his long awaited title shot.

UFC 289; image – MMA Junkie

Stylistically, Dariush was a unique challenge for Oliviera.  Most of Charles’s opponents feared Oliveira’s dangerous submission game.  As such, they refused to engage on the ground even when they had Charles hurt.  Islam Makhachev, however, had no such fear and promptly submitted Charles after rocking him.  With Dariush’s grappling credentials, fans expected a similar outcome in this fight.  Beneil’s striking defense seemed to have tightened up, while Charles often got dropped, even in his wins.  Although Dariush does not have Machachev’s striking acumen, he has enough knockout power to drop anyone in the division.  

Though the fight only lasted one round, it was back and forth.  Dariush secured an early takedown and easily nullified Charles’s submissions.  Eventually, Oliviera managed to return to his feet and caught Beneil with a slick headkick.  He then followed up with two right hooks to drop Dariush.  Beneil looked to initiate a scramble but Charles avoided it and finished the fight with vicious ground and pound.  

Oliveira’s victory raises interesting questions for the division’s future.  The organization has shown a willingness to give him a rematch against Makhachev despite his prior loss.  However, the fight may also increase the stakes for Dustin Porier’s upcoming bout against Justin Gaethje.  With Dariush eliminated from the picture, the winner of UFC 291’s main event will be a fresh challenge for Makhachev.  Regardless, Oliviera has shown that he is far from done.  Though rematching Makhachev seems like a tall task, Charles has begun his return.

Image – Bleacher Report

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