Charles Oliveira’s gameplan against Jeremy Stephens at the TUF 20 Finale tonight was clear right from the start – get his opponent down to the mat and try to submit him at all costs. In the end Stephens did very well to gut out some potential fight-ending submission attempts, but Oliveira’s BJJ dominance deservedly earns him a win on the scorecards.
Oliveira in aggressively to the clinch to start. Oliveira drops to the mat pulling guard. He immediately moves for an armbar from his back.
Stephens scoops him up and slams him down hard to the mat, but Oliveira won’t be budged from this armbar attempt. Oliveira now landing some hard punches from his back as Stephens remains trapped. Oliveira cranking on the arm again and Stephens is trying to shake him off.
Almost half the round now in this position and still it goes on. Oliveira gaining ground here, but then suddenly Stephens is free and into Oliveira’s guard throwing some big elbows to the face.
Oliveira still staying busy from his back with strikes and Stephens opts to back out and stand. However, Oliveira gives him absolutely no space, immediately getting to the clinch and pushing him against the cage on the other side of the Octagon.
Stephens able to get away though and they are back to striking range. Oliveira takes the center of the cage in an upright stance. Stephens lands a bombing right hook though.
Oliveira looking to get ihs own offense off though and ends the round with a nice combination of punches followed by a kick.
Stephens with a leg kick to start. Oliveira with a jumping kick and a hard leg kick too. Stephens with another leg kick of his own.
Oliveria with a couple of punches and drops into a takedown attempt. Stephens tries to keep standing against the cage and drops down some elbows. Oliveira continues working for this takedown though and gets it.
Working from half guard but hoping to progress and indeed he does get to mount and then to his back. Oliveira gets the body triangle to secure this spot then suddenly goes for an armbar attempt with more than three minutes of the round remaining.
Stephens holding on as Oliveira tries to break his grip. Oliveira gets that arm free and cranks, but somehow Stephens isn’t tapping and manages to scramble out of it. Great work from Stephens. He stands over Oliveira and then drops in with a punch.
Oliveira up now and gets back into the clinch against the cage, landing knees to the body. Oliveira rolls to the mat with a choke submission attempt, but Stephens survives it. Oliveira still all over him though and takes his back again.
Stephens tries to stand, but Oliveira has him down again. He goes for that armbar again and is working hard for it. Deja vu here and remarkably Stephens is again able to defend it and breaks free to land a little ground and pound as the horn sounds. Even Oliveira seems impressed with Stephens ability to survive there.
Oliveira in quickly on a takedown, but Stephens moves out of the way. Oliveira stays on his back, but wisely Stephens is not following him down there so they stand back up.
Soon after they do drop to the mat though with Stephens trying for kimura that Oliveira easily brushes aside and gets to work on top. Stephens scrambles nicely though and gets up and away from danger.
Stephens with a punch to the body. Oliveira working kicks and tries a spinning one to the face. Then he’s back into the clinch, but they break apart again.
Stephens throwing some tired looking punches. Oliveira wants to get the fight down, but again fails and again Stephens doesn’t follow him to the mat so he’s told to get upright again by the ref.
Oliveira will not be denied though and is soon in on a successful takedown attempt. Stephens pressed against the cage with a little over two minutes remaining. Stephens stands and starts to move away. Oliveira pulls guard, motioning Stephens down, but he won’t oblige.
Back up now and Stephens throws a one-two combo. Oliveira with a kick. Right hand lands for Stephens, but before he can gets some momentum Oliveira fires back with strikes himself.
In close now and Oliveira pulls guard. Stephens working on top with some ground and pound in Oliveira’s guard. Good elbows for Stephens. He’s trying to get something happening here, but he surely needs a KO finish and it’s not going to come with just seconds remaining.
Oliveira’s aggressive jiu-jitsu game is always fun to watch and it earns him a unanimous decision here (30-27, 29-28 x2).