UFC 274 fight card primer: Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje

The main event of UFC 274 will feature a lightweight fight between Charles Oliveira (32-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (23-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC). UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje airs live from Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona this Saturday, May 7th. The main card will start with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, with the ESPN/ESPN+ prelims beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and the early prelims kicking off at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Oliveira: 32 years old | 5’10” | 74” reach

Gaethje: 33 years old | 5’11” | 70” reach

What have these two done recently?

Oliveira: W – Dustin Poirier (SUB) | W – Michael Chandler (TKO) | W – Tony Ferguson (DEC)

Gaethje: W – Michael Chandler (DEC) | L – Khabib Nurmagomedov (SUB) | W – Tony Ferguson (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Everything fell into place when Charles Oliveira returned to lightweight over five years ago. Aside from a second-round technical knockout loss to Paul Felder at UFC 218, the Brazilian went on a tear and rattled off eight consecutive wins over notable names such as Jim Miller, Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. He was then given an opportunity to fight for the lightweight championship (left behind by a retiring Khabib Nurmagomedov) against Michael Chandler at UFC 262 this past May. Oliveira fought through early adversity and stopped Chandler by second-round technical knockout, assuming the then-vacant throne and beginning the reign of ‘Do Bronx’. His first defense was against Dustin Poirier, whom he dispatched via third-round rear-naked choke at UFC 269 last December. Next in line for Oliveira was Justin Gaethje, but their championship fight hit a snag before they could even set foot in the Octagon. At official weigh-ins, the champion weighed in over the championship limit (twice) and was notified he would be stripped of his title as soon as his fight with Gaethje starts.

Gaethje has stayed at the top of the lightweight division since he arrived in the UFC. A stellar debut against Michael Johnson led to better fights against Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier, but he suffered consecutive losses to those former champions. The ‘Highlight’ rebounded and finished his next four opponents, including the notoriously tough Tony Ferguson, for the interim UFC lightweight championship. Five months after, Gaethje attempted to unify the titles against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, where he ultimately fell to the Russian via third-round triangle choke. It would be quite a while before we saw him back in the Octagon, but when Gaethje returned, he was involved in an instant classic opposite of the aforementioned Chandler and took home a unanimous decision.

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