Four years ago, they earned Fight of the Night honors for their back-and-forth affair at UFC Live on Versus 4. The original outcome was a victory for Oliveira, as he blasted Lentz with a knee to the face, continued to pour on the strikes, and then submitted him via rear-naked choke.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission later change the outcome to a no-contest due to the fact that the knee that was the beginning of Lentz’s downfall was obviously illegal.
With Oliveira entering the rematch as the No. 8 ranked UFC featherweight, and Lentz following close behind at No. 9, there was more than redemption for their first fight at stake. Both men were also trying to climb into title contention.
Regardless of where the winner lands in the thick of title talk, the rematch was everything that was cut short in their first meeting.
Lentz was anxious to go toe-to-toe with Oliveira, showing his improved striking skills since the first time they met. He did just that, throwing down and more than holding his own with Oliveira throughout much of the first round.
Late in the opening stanza, however, Oliveira drove a knee to the midsection that dropped Lentz to the canvas. He quickly followed, moving into full mount and raining down punches. It appeared the end was imminent, but Lentz dug deep and survived the round.
Both men came out firing in the second frame, but Oliveira quickly looked the sharper striker on the feet, so Lentz shifted gears and took him to the mat. Oliveira escaped to his feet, but Lentz scooped him up and planted him back on the mat.
Lentz couldn’t keep him there, however. Oliveira returned to his feet and pulled Lentz from a standing guillotine choke back down to the mat. The choke looked tight, but Lentz escaped and did a good job working ground and pound, trying to put some hurt on Oliveira.
As round three started, it appeared Lentz’s second round effort took its toll, as he looked a little worn.
Oliveira must have noticed this as well. He quickly ran towards Oliveira, driving a knee into his midsection, and then jumped to a guillotine choke. As he pulled Lentz to the canvas, Oliveira used his momentum to roll into mount, all the while maintaining the guillotine choke, cinching it tighter as they rolled.
Lentz had no choice but to tap out. Oliveira took a well-earned, hard-fought victory, rinsing the sour taste of their first fight from his mouth.
Oliveira has now won four consecutive bouts, finishing three of his four opponents in the process, proving that he is a true featherweight contender.
“Five years ago, they threw me in this Octagon,” Oliveira said after the fight. “I was a child among the lions. Now I want to be one of those lions.”
He doesn’t have to want; now Oliveira is one of those lions.