The co-main event at UFC on FOX 29 saw two fan favourites go toe-to-toe when Alex ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira stepped up on short notice to take on Carlos Condit.
Condit was originally slated to fight Matt Brown but Brown had to pull out due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament so Cowboy was called in as a last-minute replacement.
Oliveira came into this one under no illusions about what a dangerous opponent he was facing but he still predicted a 2nd round KO over a man who hadn’t been knocked out in 41 professional fights (his sole TKO loss – to Tyron Woodley in 2015 – was due to a knee injury).
“I need to be careful because he’ll try to knock me out,” Oliveira said beforehand. “I can’t make a mistake. He uses his elbows a lot and likes to counter. I won’t give him that opening. I’ll do my thing, use my strategy and go for the kill. My nose is ready to be broken again if I need to. I walk forward all the time. I’ll try to be a little more patient. I’ll knock him out in the second round.”
Despite the change in opponent, Condit insisted that Cowboy was, stylistically, a good matchup for him and not too different from Brown.
“It’s a good opponent. Style-wise, he’s different in some senses, but ultimately he’s a brawler. He brings it. He comes to fight. He comes to finish. So not a whole lot changes as far as tactics and game plan between Alex Oliveira and Matt Brown.”
With a finishing rate of over 80%, Oliveira promised to be an extremely threatening opponent for Condit but he insisted that ‘proximity to danger’ makes him a better fighter.
“Proximity to danger definitely brings out the best in me,” Condit said. “If it’s someone who’s threatening my safety and well being, it definitely, I think, brings the tiger out. Matt was that fight, and I think the fight with ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira will be that, as well.”
The bookmakers installed the late replacement Oliveira as the favourite at $1.45 while Condit was paying $2.75 to walk away with the W.
Oliveira’s decision to step in to replace Matt Brown did pay off, as he managed to bounce back from his last loss by defeating Condit via second-round submission. After a few scrambles, the Brazilian “Cowboy” managed to lock up a tight guillotine choke, which at first, seemed manageable for Condit. “The Natural Born Killer”, however, ended up tapping a few moments later, marking his fourth straight defeat.
Condit did have his moments of brilliance, which can be seen in the highlights of the fight below.