Talented Brazilian featherweight Charles Oliveira has shown plenty of promise during an up-and-down UFC tenure, but has seemingly taken his career to the next level after a tremendous effort at Fight Night 43. “Do Bronx” secured one of the slickest submission finishes of the year against tough Japanese veteran Hatsu Hioki in Auckland, New Zealand.
The end came in dramatic fashion late in the second round when Oliveira forced Hioki to tap from a modified anaconda choke. It marked the first time in Hioki’s 37-fight career that he had been finished and earned Oliveira his second straight Performance of the Night bonus.
The matchup between two standout grapplers lived up to the advance billing as both men were involved in a highly entertaining back-and-forth affair. Both Oliveira and Hioki were aggressive in going for submission attempts in the fast-paced battle between two Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts. Oliveira has now won back-to-back fights for the first time since 2012 and picked up his seventh post-fight bonus cheque. His triumph against Hioki will likely vault him into the top-15 rankings.
Oliveira should be in line for another high-profile opportunity in his next fight and the 24-year old Brazilian is already battle-tested. Matchmakers certainly haven’t made it easy on Oliveira as he’s squared off against proven veterans Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Nik Lentz, Cub Swanson and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Oliveira has now produced six submission victories during his current UFC tenure and has an impressive 17 finishes in 18 career wins. He seems poised to make some noise in the 145-pound division.
As for Hioki, it’s a very difficult setback at this stage of his career. The “Iron Broom” was looking to build off his victory over Ivan Menjivar at the TUF China Finale but instead has now dropped four of his last five fights. The former Shooto and Sengoku champion entered the promotion with top-flight credentials but has gone just 3-4 in his UFC tenure. It’ll be interesting to see whether he will receive another Octagon opportunity.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports