Charles Oliveira is familiar with the struggles of life, and at an early age, the Brazilian had to learn that lesson in a visceral way when medical professionals said he may never walk again. After fighting for mobility and quality of life, he exceeded all expectations and not only became a professional athlete but reached the pinnacle of the sport. Joining the UFC eleven years ago, after Oliveira won the title it was an emotional and satisfying accomplishment even from a fan’s perspective.
While leg kicks were an essential part of the game plan for the Brazilian as he entered fight week, his coach detailed why that plan went out the window prior to UFC 262 fight night. Specifically, the driving idea was to limit the power of Chandler by utilizing leg kicks early on but ultimately they had to limit that weapon during camp.
In an interview with AG Fight, Diego Lima (Charles Oliveira’s coach) detailed the leg injury the champion endured during camp.
“Charles slipped. He hurt his leg, so we couldn’t kick too much. It took us some time before we could start kicking. We started kicking only two weeks prior to the fight and kicking was one of the things we wanted to do the most in the fight. Nothing fazes Charles, though. He’s bulletproof, it’s amazing.” Lima said to AG Fight.
Even though it was part of the initial game plan, part of being a champion is adapting in real-time to unplanned situations. Charles Oliveira did just that, and even without the extra leg kicks, he managed to come back from the brink of defeat and capture the UFC lightweight title. The victory was reflective of the struggles he’s overcome throughout his 11-year UFC tenure.
Re-devising his game plan, the champion spent some time in top control where he finished the fight with some nasty ground and pound. Following his brilliant title win, the 3rd-degree blackbelt will take some much-needed time off to recover from his injuries.
Who would you like to see Oliveira face in his first title defense?