Squandered Chance in Pittsburgh

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Cowboy vs Cowboy

Last minutes changes are something that the UFC has had to deal with more and more every single year as they increase their number of fights.

A big part of these changes is the simple fact that the promotion continues to see more focus from the outside world and with more focus comes more responsibility.

There are fighters pushing themselves in the gyms trying to gain an advantage but often pushing too far and hurting themselves in the process.

Those injuries have changed the face of cards even causing the cancellation of one pay-per-view event and the change of a pay-per-view event earlier this month into a free fight.

More recently though the changes have been related more with the new testing that the UFC has put into place in order to meet requirements that most major sports meet.

That is what happened just before UFC Fight Night 83 when Tim Means failed his USADA drug test and was pulled from the main event of the free fight.

These changes have made life difficult for the UFC for years now as they have to continue to adjust to new main events and new fights or simply delay fights until later.

It is not all bad all the time though as the changes in fights have been annoying, especially lately, but they can bring some interesting storylines into a fight.

After Means was pulled from the card the UFC went about trying to find an opponent for Donald Cerrone.

It is not an easy thing as Cerrone was just coming off of a lightweight title fight loss to Rafael dos Anjos and was still the #3 fighter in the lightweight division.

Not every fighter is looking to take on that challenge but the UFC found one in Alex Oliveira who was entirely ready to enter the biggest fight of his career.

That is where an injury or failed drug test can be made into a positive as the unranked Oliveira suddenly got the opportunity to fight one of the best fighters in the world and take the MMA world by storm.

In reality he had no business being in the octagon with Cerrone, at least not at this point in his UFC career, yet there he was standing across from the former #1 lightweight contender.

It was the chance of a lifetime for Oliveira and even a loss could be considered a win depending on how the fight went.

If he went into the octagon and fought Cerrone until the end or even put up a good fight he was sure to be considered better than when he came into the fight.

A loss was not going to get him into the rankings but a good loss was sure to make people take notice of the Brazilian.

If he could win though everything was going to change for Oliveira as he was certain to take that win into the rankings and immediately launch into the title conversation.

Of course he was not going to get a title shot but a win against Cerrone was sure to put him in the “ones to watch” category.

It was all up to Oliveira on what he was going to bring to the table against Cerrone as everyone knew what Cerrone was looking to do in the fight.mma-sidebar.fw

The most active fighter in the UFC wanted to get back to winning and get back to winning quickly this time in a new weight class.

He carried a seven fight win streak into his title fight but looked out-matched against dos Anjos in the title fight so he moved up to welterweight to begin a new run.

The only way for him to get back into a title conversation was to win needing to open his new campaign with a statement.

There was plenty to lose for Cerrone and a lot to gain from Oliveira as both fighters dealt with the changes in front of them and came in to fight.

Most were hoping to see a great striking battle between two fighters that have made their way on the feet.

Oliveira seemed to be willing to meet those expectations clinching with Cerrone and dirty boxing before landing some good shots.

Cerrone was not as willing though as he showed off the most underrated part of his game when he took Oliveira to the ground.

From their Cerrone went to work eventually sinking in a triangle choke and finishing the fight early.

For Oliveira it was not the performance he needed to be noticed in the UFC.

His stand-up was good but not good enough and he was completely thrown off when Cerrone went to the ground.

He will reset and look to get back to winning in what could be a long road to being in any conversation in the division.

Cerrone started his welterweight stint successfully with a win and is sure to get into the rankings as he continues to add wins to his record.

He won’t be fighting for a title soon but a few more wins against better competition could put him in the conversation for the welterweight title.

The changes were a big deal in this fight and will continue to be but they will always provide more chances for more fighters whether they can take advantage or not.

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