April 8, 2017

UFC 210: Charles Oliveira and Will Brooks Could Steal the Show Tonight

By Raphael Garcia

UFC 210 comes at a great time, as a lull in UFC action has created a degree of “excitement” about this weekend’s event in Buffalo, New York. While some suggest that UFC 210 isn’t a strong card, it actually offers compelling fights beyond the main and co-main event. One such matchup is the lightweight bout between Will Brooks and Charles Oliveira, a fight that can could steal the show.

On paper, Brooks vs. Oliveira doesn’t leap off the page. Both men are coming off of losses and didn’t look exceptionally good in their last fights. However, in Brooks we have a former Bellator champion looking to carve out his place in the UFC’s lightweight division. And Oliveira remains a fighter to watch at just 27 years of age. He is capable of standout performances, as well as others where he looks like there’s an imposter in his body.

But with both men returning to action at UFC 210, this fight offers a lot of intrigue as a style matchup and as a way to progress the division. Brooks is a converted wrestler who’s found success in MMA by adding in enough striking to close the distance to grappling range. He’s shown a diversity in his game that has allowed him to win in a variety of ways, but he remains a wrestle-boxer akin to Matt Hughes in the MMA days of old. That’s a dangerous game to play against “Do Bronx,” a man that’s known for some of the most diverse submissions in mixed martial arts. He’s a walking “BJJ in MMA” highlight reel, and he has the abilitiy to hit a number of different finishes from any position. However, Brooks has in the past shown an ability to grapple with dangerous submission artists like Oliveira.

With the top of the lightweight division in flux because of the uncertainty surrounding Conor McGregor and the lightweight title, there’s a lot of room to make big fights with the remaining 155-pounders on the roster. Both Brooks and Oliveira should be in consideration for some of these big fights. A win for either man doesn’t catapult the victor to the title tier, but it does give him the opportunity to reestablish himself in the UFC’s Top 15. Those rankings don’t mean much, but they do create conversational fodder for the discussion of who should fight whom. Brooks and Oliveira both have the ability to be top contenders in this division, but their recent failures have kept them out of the running for some of the bigger fights at 155 pounds.

At UFC 210, Will Brooks welcomes Charles Oliveira back to the lightweight division. This isn’t the fight that jumps off of the page as the reason to watch tonight’s PPV. But it does offer important value to the fighters’ careers and the lightweight division as a whole. And this is the type of fight that can surprise everyone and be a show-stealer.

UFC 210: Cormier vs. Johnson 2 takes place April 8, 2017 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

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