Alex Oliveira engaged in a bloody, three-round war with Max Griffin to open the UFC 248 main card but the Brazilian “Cowboy” managed to pull out a split decision.
The difference in the fight was ultimately Oliveira’s striking, which produced a huge gash over Griffin’s eye that turned the Octagon canvas red by the time the fight was finished. While it was a back-and-forth battle throughout, Oliveira got the nod with two 29-28 scorecards in his favor with the third judge giving the fight to Griffin with the same 29-28 score.
“I hit him hard, a few times hard,” Oliveira said about his performance, which stopped a three-fight skid in the UFC. “He’s a tough guy.”
After a bloody three-round war, @MaxPainGriffin and Alex Oliveira hug it out— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 8, 2020
Stream #UFC248 on ESPN+ ➡️ https://t.co/bgI1Songf8 pic.twitter.com/TUos13egIj
Oliveira showed off his striking acumen throughout the fight but it was Griffin who landed a clubbing blow in the opening round that put the Brazilian on wobbly legs. Against the advice of her coaches, Griffin then transitioned to a takedown, which helped him maintain control on the ground but it also stifled him from capitalizing on Oliveira when he was momentarily staggered.
With new life in the second round, Oliveira stormed back when he countered a takedown attempt with a perfectly placed uppercut that sliced Griffin open. As blood began pouring down his face, Griffin was shaken as Oliveira continued to connect with the more effective striking combinations.
As time started ticking away into the final round, Oliveira looked to secure the win with a takedown and a series of punches that caused Griffin’s face to be covered in his own blood. Just when it looked like the Brazilian was in control, Griffin managed a reversal to get on top but he couldn’t do nearly as much damage in an effort to swing the judges to his side after 15 minutes.
It was a crucial victory for Oliveira as he avoids a fourth straight loss inside the Octagon, which could have very well brought his UFC career to an end. Instead, he leaves Las Vegas a winner while handing Griffin his second loss in a row overall and dropping him to 1-4 in his past five fights.