After fighting Nik Lentz for the third time at UFC Rochester, Charles Oliveira, who holds the UFC’s submission record, admitted he was hoping for a “better guy.”
Rochester, NY — Heading into UFC Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night, Charles Oliveira was on arguably the most impressive streak of his career. Four straight wins. Four straight submissions, four straight chokes. Clay Guida, Christos Giagos, Jim Miller, and David Teymur had all been forced to tap to Brazil’s ‘Do Bronx.’
Nik Lentz was the next man in his way. The pair had fought twice before, both fights ending in Oliveira’s favor. However, their original meeting in 2011 was overturned to a No Contest due to an illegal knee. Both, at least initially, were submissions for the Brazilian.
In Rochester, despite ‘The Carny’ being the American, it was Oliveira getting more appreciation as he made his way to the cage, and during the introductions. A jumping kick that seemed to miss Lentz’s face by about three sheets of paper got the crowd gasping towards the end of the first. Lentz managed to get the fight down after that, but Oliveira quickly reversed. Is the ground really where you want to be with Charles Oliveira? No, not really. Lentz survived the round, but not the fight.
In the second, he came close to being submitted. Not long after, he was finished — not via submission, but with punches. It was Oliveira’s first TKO in the UFC. His first knockout in nine years.
Speaking to reporters (via translator) including Cageside Press post-fight, Oliveira called it “an evolution.” If that’s his evolution, then the end result he’s striving for is “only to be a champion.”
Ultimately, the method doesn’t matter. Oliveira “just comes to win, whether it’s by knockout, or just by grabbing the guy.”
The Lentz match-up, however, isn’t one Oliveira was really interested in. Perhaps he didn’t see it as one that would help him grow, having already tangoed with the man twice. “He’s been growing. Today, he wasn’t expecting this guy, he wanted a better guy. But because his aim is just to win, he fought with the guy they gave him,” answered Oliveira via translator.
There was a moment when he thought he might get the submission. But he switched up his technique, and while it came close, the finish came via the TKO. For that, he gave credit to his team. “The team has always been watching him and helping him to be a well-rounded guy. And once he gets up, he will always recognize the team.”
His aim now “is just to get to the top ten, it doesn’t matter who he fights with. He wants to fight with a warrior, and he wants to be a champion. That’s his aim, it doesn’t matter who it is.” But he’d like to return at UFC Uruguay later this year, when the UFC makes its debut in the South American nation. “Him and Pepi [Laureano Staropoli], [who is] on the same team, it would be very good.”
Watch the full UFC Rochester post-fight press scrum with Charles Oliveira above!