Alex Oliveira (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

One to Watch: UFC 261 – Randy Brown vs. Alex Oliveira

Michael Owens Staff Writer

UFC 261 is a big event in the company’s recent history. It boasts three title fights, and the event marks the return of crowd attendance for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

In addition to the championship affairs at the top of the bill, an action-packed welterweight contest takes place on the preliminary card. Randy Brown and Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira are two fan-favorite fighters in the division, and they will relish the return of supporters as they do battle.

Brown, who hails from Jamaica, joined the UFC ranks after an appearance on Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight. He knocked out Robert Plotkin via a first-round knee and secured his place in the company as a 6-0 prospect. Brown now has six wins inside the Octagon while also facing the likes of Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad in losing efforts during his UFC tenure.


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Brown hit the best form of his career in 2019 with back-to-back finishes over the ever-tough Bryan Barberana and Warlley Alves. His streak was snapped by Luque in August, but Brown showed durability and heart through the contest. He is comfortable fighting in all aspects of MMA. With good striking from the outside, as well as clinch work and top position when on the ground, “Rude Boy” will oblige in all areas.

Oliveira has been a fan-favorite for many years. Since signing with the UFC in 2015, “Cowboy” has fought 19 times for the company. His “Fight of the Night” showings against Mike Perry and Yancy Meideros were memorable affairs and “Fight of the Year” contenders.

Oliveira had an active 2020 in which he took part in three bouts. He scored decision wins over Max Griffin and Peter Sobotta before he was submitted by the highly touted Shavkat Rakmanhov. The Brazillian has a come-forward, pressuring style, and he is also happy to grapple. In his UFC campaign, Oliveira has scored finishes over Carlos Condit, Tim Means and Will Brooks.

Whilst experience favors “Cowboy,” Brown has the edge in youth and athleticism. Moreover, with both men coming into this fight off the back of a loss, there is extra impetus to stake their claim in the loaded welterweight division. Brown seeks to prove that he is an elite competitor and secure a win over the biggest name of his career, whilst Oliveira hopes to show that his best days are not behind him.

In what will surely be a momentous occasion, the UFC 261 prelim headliner between Brown and Oliveira cannot be missed. Both men bring an action-packed style, and with six performance bonuses between them, we are likely to see an all-out war. This is an essential appetizer to the UFC 261 main card, and it is most certainly one to watch.