UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Pre-Fight Press Conference Live Stream

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The most violent lightweight in UFC history is set to face the man with the longest winning streak in the division atop UFC 274. In the co-main event, a rematch eight years in the making has the women’s strawweight title on the line.

Charles Oliveira’s rise to the top of the lightweight division has been as unlikely as any title run ever witnessed in the UFC. He floundered early in his career, losing fights to Jim Miller and Cowboy Cerrone, fights that seem now like a lifetime ago. Those setbacks sent “Do Bronx” down to 145 pounds, where he gained an advantage in size only to struggle making weight.

After coming in heavy four times as a featherweight, Oliveira was essentially forced back up. A win over Will Brooks did little to indicate that the Brazilian was championship material, and a loss to Paul Felder appeared to underscore that fact. But from humble beginnings came an illustrious run through the sport’s deepest of divisions: Oliveira, flying under the radar at least initially, began to pile up wins. Soon, the names became more recognizable, and by the time Oliveira submitted Kevin Lee, a title shot had become a real possibility.

Still, no one expected him to knock out Michael Chandler last year to win the then-vacant UFC lightweight championship. He was the underdog once again against Dustin Poirier in his first title defense, yet wound up submitting “The Diamond.”

Maybe we should learn to stop underestimating the sublime talents of Charles Oliveira. But it is so very, very hard to bet against Justin Gaethje in just about any fight.

Gaethje’s reputation, and his legacy, are built on one simple, all but indisputable fact: the man is the most violent fighter to ever compete in mixed martial arts. There will be counter-arguments to this claim, pointing to names like Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua, Chuck Liddell, Carlos Condit, and Robbie Lawler. But none of those names has made a career, a legacy out of violence with Justin Gaethje has. From his days in the WSOF to his debut in the UFC, his fights have been sheer carnage. Even in his losses, to Eddie Alvarez, and Dustin Poirier primarily, he’s channeled a warrior spirit like few fighters ever have.

The lone blip came against Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Gaethje has since proved that was the exception, not the rule. And the capacity for sheer destruction is what makes this title challenge so compelling.

That’s a lot of hype, and we haven’t even got to the co-main event. Eight years in the making, the women who gave birth to the strawweight division in the UFC will run it back. Rose Namajunas is now the champion, one who will look to avenge her loss to Carla Esparza, which cost her the chance to become the UFC’s inaugural 115 pound title holder.

As good as “Thug” Rose has been, and as dominant as she has seemed in rematches (she’s yet to lose one), Esparza’s late-career comeback has been equally inspiring. A win on Saturday could cement her legacy, and prove she was more than just a one-and-done champ.

Ahead of UFC 274 in Phoenix this Saturday, the UFC holds it’s usual pre-fight press conference to hype the event — just in case you weren’t already hyped enough. The festivities kick off at 7PM ET — the official live stream is available above.

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