MMA fights have firmly captured the attention of fans of spectator sports: each fight is a whole performance. The intensity of passions, the unpredictable outcome and the incredible skill of the fighters have created a favorable atmosphere for the growing popularity of betting on MMA.
The UFC fight night gathers huge crowds of spectators around the ring who watch every blow of the fighters. Successful founders of such events attract the most influential and wealthy sponsors, which only raises the level of the event in the eyes of the public. Often, large bookmakers act as partners, offering excellent conditions for sports betting to event participants.
But the contingent of fighters in the UFC is not at all stellar. There are fighters, who since their youth could afford luxurious gyms and famous trainers. And there are those who achieved fame through their own perseverance and in spite of a difficult family and financial situation.
Charles Oliveira has not come to the professional MMA ring from a golden palace. Before he was crowned the champion in May 2021 he had to face a lot of unflattering comments. The Brazilian began his professional career in MMA in 2008 with a highly unstable record. To date, the Brazilian has 33 victories in MMA and 11 in a row in the UFC organization.
The beginning of a professional path
It cannot be said that fame in martial arts was his childhood dream. Initially, Oliveira was fond of football and even achieved some good results. However, further development of Charles in the chosen direction prevented rheumatoid arthritis, which was diagnosed at age 7. Charles had to undergo complex treatment before he was able to return to normal life.
Doctors categorically forbade the young athlete to play football, Brazilian jiu-jitsu became an alternative. Oliveira has consistently demonstrated excellent physical performance and fortitude, which helped him get a black belt.
In 2008, 19-year-old Oliveira decided to make his debut in professional martial arts. He originally performed in little-known Brazilian promotions like Jungle Fight. On his first evening, Charles had 3 full-fledged fights and emerged victorious in each of them.
When Charles had 12 victorious fights behind him, the professionals of the largest mixed martial arts organization, the UFC, drew attention to him. The Brazilian did not think long about a profitable offer and almost immediately signed a contract.
Charles’s rise to fame has not been easy. With varying degrees of success, he was sometimes unexpectedly knocked out by serious opponents, and then he was weak in fights where he was regarded as the nominal favourite.
Oliveira’s first opponent in the UFC world was Darren Elkins, a seasoned fighter. The debutant had a brilliant fight. That evening he received his first award for the “best fighting move” of the meeting. The next meeting in the ring took place with the Mexican fighter Efrain Escudero: the victory went to the newcomer.
However, the Brazilian’s first failure in his professional career came shortly after Jim Miller forced Oliveira to surrender by a painful hold.
2011 began for Charles with a series of hurtful incidents. First, the fight with Nick Lentz, in which the Brazilian used an illegal knee to the head, was declared invalid. Although the official victory went to Charles, the results of the battle were not counted. In the same year, former professional kickboxer Donald Cerrone sent Oliveira to a technical knockout.
Change of weight category
After 2 defeats, the Brazilian decided to change the weight category, moving to featherweight. At first, everything went well: Charles ended the next two fights with an early victory. But the fight with Cub Swanson brought Oliveira the first defeat in the featherweight division by knockout in the first round. But the fighter’s unsuccessful performances did not end there either: the duel with Frankie Edgar ended in favor of the American with a referee’s decision.
Further, a breakthrough happened in Oliveira’s career: four fights in a row ended in favor of the Brazilian fighter. Therefore, the meeting with Max Holloway with the victory of the American against this background seemed not at all convincing: after the fight, Charles pointed out intense pain in the neck, and the fight had to be interrupted.
The stubborn Brazilian was eager to fight back, which he did in a duel with Miles Juri in the first round. After this performance, it was impossible to predict the athlete: 4 out of 6 fights ended not in his favor. Trying to find the cause of the failures, Oliveira changed the approach to the psychological preparation for the fight. In interviews, he often mentioned that thoughts of a possible defeat haunt him day and night. He was very nervous on the eve of performances, which negatively affected the emotional background and physical condition of the fighter. The result of such behavior quite naturally became another failure.
By taking control of his own thoughts and feelings, Charles was able to overcome his pathological fear and restore his reputation as a strong and resilient fighter.
In 2017, due to weight issues, Oliveira had to return to the lightweight division, where he won his first fight over Will Brooks before being defeated by a technical knockout by Paul Felder in the second. By the way, that fight was the Brazilian’s last unsuccessful entrance to the ring before a streak of glorious victories.
After 6 months, Charles literally snatched the victory from Clay Guida, ending the fight with a productive choke in the 1st round. This fight was the beginning of the most successful period in the career of a Brazilian athlete. And for the epic nature of the meeting, he was awarded the “Performance of the Evening” award.
In 2018, Oliveira left behind American Giagos and Jim Miller in a rematch. In 2019, Oliveira sent Nick Lentz to a technical knockout and knocked out Jared Gordon in the 1st round, earning him the Performance of the Night award.
Since May 15, 2021, he has been the owner of the championship belt, which he received after defeating three-time champion Michael Chandler. Already in December of the same year, Oliveira made his first title defense against Dustin Poirier. Having been knocked down in the 1st round, Charles managed to gather his will into a fist and skillfully apply a choke.
On the night of May 7-8, 2022 in Phoenix, Charles Oliveira defended his championship belt in a fight with Justin Gaethje. The result of the fight was quite predictable: after a long struggle, the Brazilian won the fight. But with the title of champion, everything is much more complicated: Oliveira exceeded the allowable weight limits and was stripped of the title of champion, becoming only the first contender.