UFC Austin: Maria Oliveira Wins Split Decision In Active Fight Against Gloria de Paula

Maria Oliveira, Gloria De Paula, UFC Austin Ceremonial Weigh-Ins
Maria Oliveira, Gloria De Paula, UFC Austin Ceremonial Weigh-Ins. Credit: UFC/YouTube

The lone women’s strawweight match-up on Saturday’s UFC Austin card was an all-Brazilian battle between Maria Oliveira and Gloria de Paula.

de Paula had returned to the win column earlier this year, securing her first victory inside the octagon with her hand raised over Diana Belbita. Oliviera had last fought in October, in a losing effort against Tabatha Ricci.

Saturday marked just her second fight for the promotion.

Oliveira opened things right up with a jumping knee attempted, then followed that up with a combination. de Paula may have been caught by surprise for a moment, but returned fire soon enough. Everything Oliveira threw came in bunches, however, and she was far more active through the opening minute.

About two minutes in, it was de Paula going on the attack, forcing Oliveira to backpedal. During this sequence, she lost her mouth guard, motioning to the ref who halted the action to retrieve it. Much to the crowd’s displeasure, as they seemed to feel she’d stalled for time.

Olvieira unleashed another jump knee, falling short, as they got back to work. de Paula began mixing in outside leg kicks, but one strayed high, and Oliveira caught it and dumped her opponent. de Paula was right back up, but it was Oliveira on the attack, still firing punches in bunches. de Paula kept her guard high, weathered the storm, then marched forward herself, landing a big right hand. The pair clinched, Oliveira reversed, and looked for a single leg takedown before bailing on the attempt and moving back to center.

Round two saw Oliveira switching stances, but she may have slowed a step. Gloria de Paula was now working her down, looking to cut off the cage. de Paula’s jab split the guard and found its mark. Oliveira continued to throw punches in punches, but it was de Paula connecting just past the midway point of the round with a heavy left, followed by a right.

As the round wore on, the pair continued to circle the octagon, de Paula leading, but showing some blood by the nose. In the final 30 seconds, de Paula changed levels and landed a takedown well out in the open. She finished the round on top.

A cheer from the crowd awaited Oliveira and de Paula as they came out for the third. Oliveira let a combo go early, pressing forward. She then had to block a de Paula head kick attempt. de Paula stepped in with a knee. Oliveira took a moment to taste some blood on her lip— which may have been an attempt to lull de Paula, as Oliveira fired a combination the moment her opponent moved forward.

This time, de Paula would change levels near the midway mark of the round, getting her hands locked. But Oliveira, against the fence, stuffed the attempt, then landed a takedown of her own off a trip. That allowed Oliveira to get on top, in guard, with over two minutes left — but de Paula was active off her back, and Oliveira chose to back off.

The final 90 seconds found de Paula marching forward, firing. But Oliveira would tie things up and land a takedown care of a body lock. de Paula had a chance to get on top, but couldn’t; instead, Oliveira settled into her opponent’s guard, but opted to back off again. Another trip takedown for Oliveira followed, but this time, de Paula did land on top, and they dinished the round there.

Official Result: Maria Oliveira def. Gloria de Paula by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)