If there was any doubt about former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira’s popularity in Brazil, there isn’t following UFC 283.
This past weekend, the MMA leader returned to South America for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with a pay-per-view card in Rio de Janeiro.
Throughout fight week and at the event itself, a host of notable Brazilian names were present, from former champions and legends like Fabricio Werdum and Royce Gracie to current roster members such as Mackenzie Dern, Renato Moicano, and Caio Borralho.
But it’s safe to say one man drew the most fanfare during fight week.
Since the last Brazil-held event, which saw Oliveira submit Kevin Lee in an empty arena, “Do Bronx” has risen to greatness in the lightweight division, winning the gold and subsequently finishing Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
While he may have lost the title to Islam Makhachev last October, Oliveira’s legacy as one of the all-time best at 155 pounds has cemented his place in Brazilian MMA history. And although he didn’t make the walk for a fight in front of his home fans at UFC 283, Oliveira wasn’t short on support there.
In a video captured by Newton Santos in a Rio de Janeiro mall prior to Saturday’s PPV, Oliveira can be seen getting swarmed by fans as he’s escorted past shops by security guards.
Oliveira Watches Compatriots Fight On Home Soil
Although he wasn’t keen on making a quick turnaround after UFC 280 to feature on this past weekend’s card, Oliveira certainly wasn’t going to miss the action, and like many Brazilians fighters, had a close view to the action inside the Jeunesse Arena.
From his premium seat, Oliveira witnessed a number of his compatriots have their hand raised. As well as names like the Bonfim brothers, who both debuted with spectacular finishes during the preliminary card, notable contenders Johnny Walker, Jéssica Andrade, and Gilbert Burns secured standout victories on the main card.
And while the headlining bouts saw both Deiveson Figueiredo and Glover Teixeira left without gold in their possession, “Do Bronx” enjoyed the card nonetheless.
He’ll no doubt be looking to enter the cage the next time the MMA leader heads south to a nation responsible for producing some of the very best that the sport has ever seen — a bracket that firmly includes Oliveira.
What do you make of the fanfare for Charles Oliveira in his home country?