Lightweight contenders Kevin Lee (18-5, 3 KOs, 8 SUBs) and Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (8 KOs, 18 SUBs) will meet at UFC on ESPN+ 29 on Saturday, March 14 at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. The card streams live on ESPN+ starting 5pm ET.
Here’s a fact that should win you a bar bet: Charles Oliveira owns the most submissions in UFC history with 13. Not pioneer Royce Gracie, or grappling legend Demian Maia. Luminaries like Nate Diaz and Frank Mir are way behind, and “Do Bronx” is just starting to hit his peak.
Though Oliveira competes in the most competitive, star-studded division, he has become impossible to ignore. The 30-year old has won six straight, finishing every opponent during the streak. Now, the surging Brazilian will meet the rejuvenated Kevin Lee - a fighter who never seems to be far from title contention. What’s more, Do Bronx gets a chance to make a strong case for a top 5 ranking in front of a native Brazilian crowd.
Lee might be just 2-3 in his past five, but his last outing produced a spectacular head kick knockout over the previously undefeated Gregor Gillespie. It was exactly what The Motown Phenom needed after a failed attempt to move up to welterweight, where he was promptly turned back by Rafael Dos Anjos. Lee belongs in the class where he suffocated Edson Barboza, Michael Chiesa, and Francisco Trinaldo. Anybody that watches him fight sees that there’s championship potential in Lee.
In a matchup of two of the best grapplers in the division, the UFC odds at Betcris opened with Lee as a moderate -140 favorite. Oliveira is +120 on the comeback, but we honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see this even out. Let’s take a look at the online sportsbook and get to your best UFC bets.
UFC on ESPN+ 29: Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira Betting odds
|UFC on ESPN+ 29 Betting odds
|Charles Oliveira +110 vs. Kevin Lee -141
|Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +255 / -365
Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira Striking Stats
- Strikes landed per minute: Lee 4.06 / Oliveira 3.18
- Striking accuracy: Lee 43% / Oliveira 50%
- Strikes absorbed per minute: Lee 3.17 / Oliveira 3.01
- Striking defense: Lee 52% / Oliveira 54%
Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira Grappling Stats
- Takedowns per 15 minutes: Lee 3.1 / Oliveira 2.8
- Takedown accuracy: Lee 43% / Oliveira 43%
- Takedown defense: Lee 80% / Oliveira 58%
- Submissions per 15 minutes: Lee 0.98 / Oliveira 2.8
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UFC Odds Pick: Oliveira to win at +110
A flashy head kick over an undefeated prospect was enough to get Lee’s hype train going. It really doesn’t take much to get excited about such a gifted physical specimen whose still only just 27 - especially when they’re grounded with a stellar wrestling game.
But forgive us if we’re hesitant to christen a new version of Kevin Lee. We were supposed to see that when he moved up to welterweight to forego a nasty weight cut. Instead, we saw the same problem that’s plagued him forever: a serious lack of endurance. Until that gets fixed - or he learns how to preserve it better - we’re not trusting him to go five hard rounds.
On the feet, Oliveira is a quicker, more fluid kickboxer. He’s also one of the few fighters on the roster that would be comfortable with Lee on top of him. We like a bet on him at any underdog price.
These are the UFC matchups for UFC Fight Night 170 - UFC on ESPN+ 29
UFC Fight Night 170
|UFC Fight Night 170 Fight Card
|Main Card (ESPN+)
|Kevin Lee vs. Charles Oliveira - Lightweight
|Demian Maia vs. Gilbert Burns - Welterweight
|Renato Moicano vs. Damir Hadžovic - Lightweight
|Johnny Walker vs. Nikita Krylov - Light Heavyweight
|Francisco Trinaldo vs. John Makdessi - Lightweight
|Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Alexey Kunchenko - Welterweight
|Jussier Formiga vs. Brandon Moreno - Flyweight
|Rani Yahya vs. Enrique Barzola - Bantamweight
|Maryna Moroz vs. Mayra Bueno Silva - Women's Flyweight
|Gustavo da Silva vs. David Dvorák - Flyweight
|Veronica Macedo vs. Bea Malecki - Women's Bantamweight
|Randa Markos vs. Amanda Ribas - Women's Strawweight
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UFC Odds Pick: Fight doesn’t go to decision
If you want to take the risk out of your bet, you’re gonna have to pony up some cash. This is a safe bet: Lee has gone to decision just twice in his past 12 fights. Oliveira has seen the cards just four times in 36 pro fights. Both guys are a threat to finish anywhere, making it highly unlikely this goes a full 25 minutes.
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