With dynamic striking, eye-catching takedowns and slick submission skills, 20 year-old Charles Oliveira’s performance against Efrain Escudero at UFC Fight Night 22 last week left MMA fans hungry to see more from the Brazilian who has already compiled an impressive 14-0 record in the sport.

With that in mind we’ve been digging through the archives and came up with videos of several of the promising lightweight prospect’s MMA fights during a busy 2009 prior to signing with the sports leading promotion.

Check them out along with a brief look back at his other career highlights below.

Charles Oliveira’s Early Career:

Oliveira began his journey on the professional mixed martial arts circuit in his native Brazil in March of 2008.  Not making life easy for himself the 18 year-old had signed up to compete in a welterweight grand-prix at Predador FC 9.  Remarkably despite his inexperience he proceeded to win all three of his fights, one by submission and two by TKO, to win the tournament.

After getting off to a flying start he then fought a further three times in his homeland in 2008, emerging victorious on each occasion with a KO and two TKO victories.

Charles Oliveira Vs Jose Carlos Soares: (Jungle Fights 12 – March 2009)

The first of our video footage from the young Brazilian’s takes place in March of 2009 at the Jungle Fights 12 – ‘Warriors’ event in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

At this stage Oliveira’s record stood at 6-0, while his opponent Carlos Soares was under-matched, having just one prior fight, a loss some four years earlier.

Though most of his fights up until this point had been won by strikes this one would be all about his jiu-jitsu skills as he pulled guard early and transitioned between technical submissions attempts before finally forcing his opponent to tap with a slick triangle with armbar just 2.48mins into the fight

Charles Oliveira Vs Dom Stanco: (Ring Of Combat 24 – April 2009)

A month later Oliveira was back in action, this time traveling overseas to fight for the first time on U.S soil at Ring Of Combat 24.

On this occasion his opponent was Dom Stanco who had compiled a 6-2 record on the regional circuit.

This was a more competitive fight but for the most part it was Oliveira’s superior ground skills that were on show here.  At one point Stanco briefly seizes top control and rains down blows, but Oliveira shows a cool head under pressure to get into a position to sweep him and take control of his back before sinking in the fight ending rear-naked choke.

Charles Oliveira Vs Eduaro Pachu: (Eagle Fighting Championships – September 2009)

It’d be four months before Oliveira returned to the cage back in his native Brazil, and on the 18th of September he earned a second round submission victory over the Canadian Matt Mosewich at FCF 3.

Just eight days later he would be in action again in the next of our video offerings at the Eagle Fighting Championships on the 26th of September.

On paper this looked to be his toughest test yet with Eduardo Pachu holding a solid 8-2 (1nc) record at the time, and indeed that would show in the fight.

Certainly the closest of the three fights we’ve seen here, but Oliveira did enough to scrape through with a split decision verdict, the first and only time to date that he’s been taken to the judges scorecards.

Following this victory Oliveira fought twice in one night at the Warriors Challenge 5 event in February of 2010 in Brazil, winning both bouts inside the first round.

Oliveira was then snapped up by the UFC and made his debut in August, defeating Darren Elkins with an armbar just 41 seconds into the fight and capped it off by winning the ‘Submission Of The Night’ bonus.

Then of course came the Escudero fight at UFN 22 in which he put in another stand-out performance and claimed his second ‘Submission of The Night’ award in the space of two months.


It’s hard not to be impressed with Oliveira when you consider he’s just 20 years of age as he already possesses a well-rounded skill-set that will cause a lot of fighters problems.

As in his last fight in the UFC, in these clips he’s shown to be a versatile striker, he’s got good takedowns, he’s active, offensive and crafty from his back, has good sweeps and has the natural ‘finish the fight’ mentality that is sure to make him a fan favorite.

At the same time he’s not flawless.  There’s definitely holes in his game – slightly reckless with his striking at times, and relatively easy to take down.  You get the sense that he doesn’t mind being taken to the mat, and so far his jiu-jitsu has helped him in those situations, but it remains to be seen how he’ll deal with UFC’s high level wrestler’s stifling top control in similar situations.

He’s young enough to fill in these weak points though, and his strengths in other areas should help keep him afloat while he does so.

Hopefully the UFC will give him the time to develop as they have done with other clearly talented young prospects like Jon Jones as there’s clear signs here that Oliveira has the potential to be a force at 155lbs in years to come.

Submission Grappling:

As an added bonus here’s some footage of Oliveira in action at various submission grappling tournaments over the past few years, and showing some of the slick jiu-jitsu skills that have served him well in the cage as well.  Unlike his MMA career Oliveira has tasted defeat here though as you’ll see below.