Tony Ferguson and Charles Oliveira will clash at UFC 256 in a matchup worthy of main-event status, with both fighters at a crossroads in what a win here will mean for their careers going forward.
UFC 256 Prediction: Tony Ferguson Set for Second Straight Defeat vs. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira (29-8-1) enters the bout on the back of a seven-win streak, though no-one should be under any illusions that “El Cucuy” will be his toughest opponent to date. Ferguson (25-4), on the other hand, returns to the octagon after suffering his first loss in eight years against Justin Gaethje back in May, and he’ll do so as the -170 moneyline favorite according to William Hill.
“Do Bronx” isn’t far off the leading odds at +145, with this three-round war incredibly difficult to call considering the talent taking part. The incredible thing is this bout will serve as just the appetizer in advance of a main event featuring UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno:
UFC 256 Info
Date: Saturday, December 12
Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada
Early Prelims: 6:15 p.m. ET (11:15 p.m. GMT)
Prelims: 8 p.m. ET (1 a.m. GMT)
Main Card: 10 p.m. ET (3 a.m. GMT)
Ferguson vs Oliveira Picks & Preview With Odds
Both Ferguson and Oliveira boast incredibly strong bases in regards to their ground game. El Cucuy long earned his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Eddie Bravo, while Oliveira has a third-degree equivalent of his own.
Taking those submission skills into account, it’s likely the striking department where the battle will be won and lost, with a particular importance on Oliveira getting in early and often. Relentless pressure was the tactic that led Gaethje to beating Ferguson for the interim UFC lightweight title, and Do Bronx—who has eight career knockout wins—could use that bout as his own blueprint for success:
The Brazilian has the means at his disposal and demonstrated as much when he beat Kevin Lee via submission in March. Oliveira softened and frustrated his opponent on the feet before snatching his opportunity on the floor, although Ferguson won’t allow the same takedown chances.
However, at 36 years of age, there have to be questions asked of Ferguson, who has long earned plaudits for his superb conditioning. It’s only when he gets in the cage that we’ll also get a sense of whether that loss to Gaethje has impacted El Cucuy’s ability to perform against high-level competition.
Oliveira has gotten over the weight issues of his former featherweight days and has found his home at lightweight, even if the level of opposition hasn’t been matched that of Ferguson until now.
That motivation to reach the next level in his career could be the fuel Oliveira needs to get the upset, and although his chances of finishing look minimal, a +500 wager on Do Bronz to triumph by decision looks the value pick.
Ferguson vs. Oliveira Odds
- Tony Ferguson: -170
- Charles Oliveira: +145
- Prediction: Oliveira via decision (+500)