Lightweight contender Tony Ferguson (25-4, 12 KOs, 8 SUBs) will return to action and meet surging Charles Oliveira (29-8, 8 KOs, 19 SUBs) in the co-main event of UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card airs live on pay-per-view starting 10pm ET. In the main event, UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1, 9 KOs, 8 SUBs) will make his second title defense against Mexico’s Brandon Moreno (18-5, 3 KOs, 10 SUBs). Let’s take a look at the UFC betting lines for Ferguson vs. Oliveira and break down your best betting picks.
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Tony Ferguson (25-4, 12 KOs, 8 SUBs)
El Cucuy's last matchup ended in his first loss in 13 fights. But man, he took such a beating from Justin Gaethje that tons of MMA fans were wondering if he'd ever come back the same. The defeat also pushed him out of a big money title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov (which Gaethje quickly lost), which probably hurt just as bad as the physical pain he had to endure. Now, despite operating as a top 3 lightweight for the better part of five years, he finds himself in a must-win matchup to stay in the title mix.
How much did Gaethje expose Tony, and how much of it was just a bad matchup? Ferguson was stopped in his tracks time and time again, eating vicious combinations every time he tried to get his rhythm going. Tony's ability to brush off massive hits is legendary, but his tendency to take hits finally caught up to him against a bruiser with killshot power. The positive takeaways here was that his crazy ass cardio held up, and he still was never actually knocked out. You have to assume that he’ll go straight back to his all-out offense in a more favorable matchup.
Charles Oliveira (29-8, 8 KOs, 19 SUBs)
"Do Bronx" is finally getting the contender buzz he deserves. It’s about time, as the Brazilian has won eight straight fights - and all of them have been finishes. Here’s some fun trivia: Oliveira has 16 finishes inside the octagon, which is the most in UFC history. The first part of his UFC career was spent at featherweight, where Oliveira was recognized as talented but inconsistent. Though he earned fights against guys like Cowboy, Cub, Frankie and Max, Oliveira was easily handled by every elite fighter he was matched up with. It took his current killer streak to shake off the rep as good-but-not-great, but his last win was a masterful sub of Kevin Lee - and it signified that the 31-year old had finally arrived.
It's been amazing to see Oliveira grow inside the octagon - he made his debut as a 21-year old! He has always been a jiu-jitsu wizard with an ability to set up and snatch every submission in the book - even established wrestlers avoid going to the ground with him. But its Oliveira’s evolution as a striker has really helped him achieve his final form. Combine stellar athleticism with excellent Muay Thai technique, and you've got a dude who is lethal on the feet or the mat.
Significant Striking Stats
Strikes landed per minute: Ferguson 5.51 / Oliveira 3.18
Striking accuracy: Ferguson 44% / Oliveira 50%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Ferguson 3.55 / Oliveira 3.01
Striking defense: Ferguson 63% / Oliveira 54%
Takedowns per 15 minutes: Ferguson 0.6 / Oliveira 2.8
Takedown accuracy: Ferguson 42% / Oliveira 43%
Takedown defense: Ferguson 76% / Oliveira 58%
Submissions per 15 minutes: Ferguson 1.49 / Oliveria 2.8
We’re not writing off Ferguson coming off a horrible style matchup with Gaethje. Oliveira is a much more favorable opponent, and he has been susceptible to heavy pressure fighters in the past. Since Oliveira does not possess the Gaethje-like power, we fully expect Ferguson to get comfortable in the standup and start pouring it on.
UFC 256: Figueiredo vs. Moreno Card & Odds
Flyweight Championship - Brandon Moreno +270 vs. Deiveson Figueiredo -342
Lightweight - Charles Oliveira +139 vs. Tony Ferguson -168
Heavyweight - Junior Dos Santos +348 vs. Ciryl Gane -458
Lightweight - Renato Moicano +138 vs. Rafael Fiziev -166
Women's Strawweight - Virna Jandiroba +162 vs. Mackenzie Dern -196
Featherweight - Cub Swanson +134 vs. Daniel Pineda -162
Heavyweight - Jared Vanderaa +188 vs. Sergey Spivak -230
Featherweight - Peter Barret +303 vs. Chase Hooper -390
Featherweight - Gavin Tucker +134 vs. Billy Quarantillo -162
Middleweight - Ronaldo Souza -107 vs. Kevin Holland -117
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