Brazil’s Cowboy of the UFC, Alex Oliveira, and Niko ‘The Hybrid’ Price will face off on the main card at UFC Fight Night 193. Two always exciting fighters who promise action win or lose, both welterweights are coming off disappointing results in their last time out. However, it speaks to the entertainment value of their styles as well as the respect they have garnered as true fighters in the game, that fight fans still clamor to see them enter the cage just as much as they did on their winning streaks.
While both men have seen mixed results in the octagon, Oliveira has shown an ability to string together impressive win streaks but falter and accumulate back-to-back losses as well. It seems that every time he is gaining momentum, adversity comes for him in his career. Price’s career has been more consistent, because he is consistently inconsistent, with the exception of one set of back-to-back victories in 2018, Price has been unable to string together either two wins or losses in a row in the UFC.
What makes this match-up so interesting is both how exciting either fighter is but also that the stakes could be dire. Both of these men have shown the abilities required for the highest level of competition but just haven’t been able to put it all together long enough to get to the top. The winner could begin that route though, as a win over either man if a big profile victory. For the loser, it could be just as detrimental as it is great for the winner, neither man can afford many more losses, especially on their most recent runs.
Oliveira vs. Price betting odds
The “Cowboy” will come in at a bit of an underdog at +135 under Price.
Oliveira vs. Price breakdown
Although Oliveira and Price have extremely different fighting styles, two factors remain and both should be negated in this fight. 76 inches is a great reach for the division, and both fighters typically use this to their advantage, able to land with their hands at a range where the other cant, however at this distance neither man will have the advantage in this area on Saturday. The second factor is that both men typically lean on particularly good strength in the clinch, and tend to bully their opponents when they need to. However, because their clinch games both lean on physical strength, assume there may be a stalemate.
But the reach and clinch game is essentially where the similarities stop. Cowboy Oliveira is a long-range dynamic and explosive fighter. He keeps his hands very low and close to his sides and depends on upper body movement, slips, and lean backs in order to defend strikes. He moves with the footwork of a Karate fighter, bursting in and out of range, but with a toolset more akin to Muay Thai. You will see when he blitzes forward, he swings his kicks in Thai fashion, and loops his punches, unlike the straight sniping style that would normally accompany his footwork style.
His best techniques in the octagon thus far lay in his kicking game. He is very good at landing the body kick and low calf kick, however, he has in the past gotten too comfortable throwing them naked and been countered. His use of the low handguard allows him to stay loose and fluid and maintain balance, however, the caveat is, he lacks the second line of defense if he can’t get out of the way of his opponent’s shots. This has led to him being hurt badly when his opponents do land clean. While he has very good takedown defense, his submission defense leaves something to be desired, and when he is hurt he has been finished by submission more than often.
Opposingly, Niko Price does not typically come out fast and explosive. He has shown the ability to if the game plan calls for it, as was the case in his fight against Cerrone, however, Niko’s body type and natural ability lean itself to the long game. He often plods forward and his strikes look slower than most but he throws at a consistent clip. He will throw kicks but usually to fill space as he moves into boxing range, or strings kicks onto the end of combinations so as to catch his opponents as they fade back.
The best-case scenario for Price is to find himself pushing Oliveira to the cage and maintaining boxing range, although this range is the same for both of them, Price is much more comfortable in the fire trading, while Oliveira will want to stick and move. Where Oliveira wants to slip and lean out of the way of punches, Price likes to catch them on the forearms and throwback.
Most importantly for Price though, is because he fights hard at a reserved pace, as his opponents tire they can end up falling into his game. As his opponents slow they end up fighting Price at his default speed, and his comfort in that level of exchanges exceeds most other fighters.
Oliveira vs. Price prediction
This matchup is fascinating, as Oliveira is a momentum fighter, and Price revels in rallying back. It becomes very obvious when Oliveira is enjoying the fight, he will loosen and demonstrate creative footwork, land, and flow. Price is a fighter that can never be counted out, and his ability to get better as the fight gets harder is uncanny and the threat of a surprise knockout or submission is always underlying.
However, Oliveira has not necessarily shown that he is someone who fades easily, if he is to lose it will probably be with one big strike. If Niko cannot find that strike, Oliveira will likely find his rhythm and keep Price at range. I don’t think that Price has the technical ability or speed to keep up with Oliveira if they are both fresh, and Oliveira has plenty of shot selections for exactly the kind of plod forward pressure that Price offers.
Prediction: Alex Oliveira via decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.