Vinicius Oliveira Overcomes Ricky Simon to Kick Off UFC 303

Ricky Simon and Vinicius Oliveira, UFC 303
Ricky Simon and Vinicius Oliveira, UFC 303 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

Saturday’s UFC 303 was kicked off by a scrap considered by some to be one of the best fights of the week, as Ricky Simon took on Vinicius Oliveira.

A high-level wrestler at the high-school level whose talents translated well to MMA, Simon found himself paired up with a knockout artist holding 16 wins by KO/TKO heading into the night.

The fight started with Oliveira feinting out the jab as he tried keep Simon at range right away. Olivera also threw a teep to the body and a leg kick. Simon finally started to answer back and fired back pot shots with his hands. Oliveira continued to feint and throw teeps and jabs while he carried his hands low. Two minutes into the round and Oliveira began to find his stride connecting on a couple of shots before Simon shot a takedown that Oliveira was able to shake off. Halfway through the round and Vinicius was walking down Simon and landed some cracking leg kicks.

Simon fired back once again with his hands and landed. However, Vinicius kept moving forward and pieced together several boxing combinations punctuated with kicks. Ricky thru an overhand right into a clinch and with seconds left in the round snapped Oliveira’s head back with a jab. The round ended with Vinicius still moving forward and landing stinging boxing combinations from wild angles.

To start the second round, Vinicius picked up right where he had left off as he moved forward and defended yet another takedown from his opponent. Simon continued to try to get into range and threw his jab and overhand right. Ricky was finally able to land a well-timed takedown about a minute into the round, before making the interesting decision to let his opponent up. Vinicius began to get back to work with his boxing before, seconds later, Simon landed another takedown, temporarily taking the back of Oliviera before Vinicius again found his feet.

Midway thruough the round and Olivera’s pace clearly started to slow down. However, Vinicius didn’t find any less success as Ricky was not able to find a way inside of his punching range. Oliveira began to really pour on the heat as he landed multiple hard leg kicks and punches from odd angles. With 30 seconds left in the round Oliveria landed a power leg kick that was checked by Ricky. The check hurt Oliveira who stumbled backward as Ricky swarmed on him and he was forced to survive till the end of the round. After the bell the two fighters got a little pushy and exchanged some words.

The final round began with both fighters getting right to it. Simon landed a solid boxing combination and began to move forward and kept his hands high. Two minutes into the round Oliveira stopped another takedown. Seconds later Oliveira thwarted a deep takedown attempt against the cage, where Simon had his hands locked.  As the fight returned to space, Oliveria really showcased his striking skills and elusiveness. Vinicius landed teeps to the body as well as head kicks and expertly countered Simon’s looping shots with boxing in the pocket. With seconds left into the fight, Vinicius really began to feel himself and showboated. He then landed a perfectly timed takedown before styling on Simon and landed among other things, a leg kick thrown from behind his own leg before the final bell expired.

Official Result: Vinicius Oliveira def. Ricky Simon by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)