The fighting career of Charles Oliveira da Silva, or “Do Bronx” as he likes to be known, must be one of the biggest sporting success stories of our time.
Born in 1989 in a favela in the Sao Paulo district in Brazil, the odds seemed stacked against him from the start. At the age of seven he started to feel unexplained pains which were later diagnosed as rheumatic fever. It was also discovered that he had a heart murmur with some doctors predicting that he might one day be unable to walk.
But his early fighting spirit came out when a neighbour introduced him to the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He showed early promise, so his family made many sacrifices to pay for his training.
The result, a fighter named UFC Lightweight Champion after defeating Michael Chandler at UFC 262 on 15 May 2021.
(Oliveira vs Chandler highlights)
He’s already successfully defended his title once, back in December 2021 against Daniel Poirier. Now, on May 7 2022, he has to defend it again at UFC 274 to be held at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
The task at hand
His opponent will be the former interim UFC Lightweight Champion, Justin Gaethje, and it’s expected to be a thrilling fight. Those looking to place a UFC bet will find that the Brazilian is the heavy favourite. But that doesn’t mean that we can write off the challenger either.
Not only does he have a 23-3 record, but he also won in 2021’s Fight of the Year against Michael Chandler and has had TKO finishes in four of his last fights.
Training for victory
Oliveira is all too aware of the challenge that he faces, he realises that Gaethje is arguably his toughest test yet – and that’s why he is deep into a heavy training regime to make sure that he’s fight-fit for May 7.He’s preparing for the fight in his home country of Brazil and, along with being surrounded by his team, he is also working with Diego Lima of the Chute Boxe academy.
He has already been posting videos on his Instagram page of the intense sparring sessions that are included in his training regime. It seems that this is only a small part of his overall program.
It’s very evident that he divides the day into morning and afternoon sessions, concentrating on different areas of his fitness, stamina and aggression at certain points. Overall, he devotes around five hours a day to getting in shape, five days a week. Those two rest days are also vital for recovery from the exertions of the training.
There are four main elements to his training, each one focusing on a particular skill or ability.
To achieve a TKO any fighter’s striking ability has to be explosive. So much of Oliveira’s time is spent working with the heavy bag as well as punching the padded mitts worn by his training partners.
Of course, sometimes all that’s needed for a victory is a submission. That’s why grappling skills are arguably more important than striking ones. Oliveira’s black belt status in jiu-jitsu means that he is already well-schooled in this particular discipline. But he still makes time in his training schedules to work on this too.
Any fight is also a question of wearing down an opponent, and this is where sparring comes in. As already mentioned, his dedication to this element of preparation is already there for all to see on Instagram.
Strength and Conditioning
Oliveira also puts plenty of time aside for gym sessions when he works on strength and conditioning. Generally, these take place in the morning when energy levels are at their highest and prepare him for the rest of the day’s training.
Eating to win
Sports nutrition has become an ever-more refined science in recent times. So, it’s no surprise that an athlete as focused and determined as Oliveira also sticks to a rigid regime in this area too.
He sticks to a high protein diet of white meats like chicken, plenty of fish and extra supplements too. This is vital for both muscle development and repair and it’s thought that his daily intake is well over 100 grams a day.
His carbs, needed for immediately accessible energy, come from foods like rice and avocado and he also ups his vitamin intake through the use of a carefully controlled regime of multivitamin pills.
Overall, Oliveira probably consumes over 3,500 calories a day, the amount needed to fuel his exercise, and far higher than the 2,000 a day generally recommended for men of his size and weight.
It all adds up to creating a superb fighting machine. Whether he’s a machine capable of retaining his UFC Lightweight Champion title, we’ll just have to wait until May 7 to see.