Jim Miller (18-2) vs. Charles “do Brox” Oliveira (14-0)
Outside of the main event, Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira has the most implications within a division on the UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 card.
Oliveira is looking to strengthen a case for Breakout Fighter of the Year facing his first top ten ranked opponent.
The 20-year-old burst into the UFC in August with a 41-second submission win over Darren Elkins and followed up that performance with a third-round standing rear naked choke win over “The Ultimate Fighter 8” winner Efrain Escudero, winning Submission of the Night honors and bonus money for those effort.
Jim Miller is 7-1 in the UFC and on a five-fight win streak. He’s on the verge of being a title contender. With the merger of the UFC and WEC, the lightweight division just got a little deeper, and Miller’s path to the belt has become a little longer.
To hand Oliveira his first loss would likely place him one fight away from an opportunity at UFC gold.
It’s the classic storyline of the young up-and-comer either triumphing over an established veteran, or the veteran teaching the lesson that you can’t train experience.
Oliveira is quick, elusive, and unpredictable, which makes him extremely dangerous at all times.
Jim Miller is gritty, relentless with a no quit attitude. If you’re better, he’ll outwork you. If you’re not prepared for three hard rounds, he’ll break you.
Oliveira will likely be able to control the range of the fight standing. He’s longer and uses his jab well. He has a variety of kicks and flying knees at different levels that he mixes in with takedown attempts. He employs an in-and-out style and is constantly moving.
Miller doesn’t mind striking and has punching power. He moves forward and often flurries to drive an opponent to the fence. He’s shown that he can withstand an amount of punishment that only fighters can truly appreciate.
Oliveira’s lateral movement should set up angles to land strikes on Miller. His jab should be able to keep Miller on the outside in kicking range and outside of Miller’s punching zone.
On the ground, they both are well versed in grappling and jiu-jitsu. Miller is the better wrestler, but Oliveira’s active guard and slick submission skills prevent him from taking much damage when on the bottom.
The odds makers have it a close one, and for good reason. Oliveira is listed as a -140 favorite to Miller’s +110.
Expect Oliveira to impress while striking and work enough submission attempts on the ground to win a unanimous decision. He could get a finish, but Miller is one hard nut to crack. His only losses are to the top two UFC lightweights: Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
MMAWeekly.com’s UFC 124 main card breakdown:
-Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck Preview
-Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle Preview
-Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira Preview
-Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig Preview
-Thiago Alves vs. John Howard Preview