After a controversial first fight, Tim Means is set to rematch Alex Oliveira this Saturday at UFC Fortaleza. The two battled it out back in December at UFC 207 when 3 minutes into the fight, Means landed two knees to a grounded Oliveira.
The knees had Oliveira badly hurt when referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in. It appeared that the knees landed were illegal which then led to minutes of controversial discussion. Joe Rogan and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, were adamant that the knees were legal while a confused Means stood in the middle of the octagon.
“The position we were in when I threw the knee I saw his hands up I think he was trying to stand up,” Means explained. “I thought it was a legal strike and I saw him trying to block the knees. He thought he could be there too otherwise he wouldn’t have been trying to defend my knees so there’s still a big grey area in that rule.”
After minutes of discussion, a visibly hurt Oliveira was unable to continue and the fight was ruled a no contest due to accidental and illegal knees. A baffled and angry Means was devastated by the decision, not because of the intent but by the lack of explanation regarding the rules.
“They were right though, it should have been a DQ if we’re going by what that rule said but they didn’t break it down like that and they ruled it accidental because the way they broke the rule down,” Means said.
Before the stoppage occurred, the two fighters were engaging in a very exciting and action packed battle. Once they clinched, Means was able to drag Oliveira down and started taking control of the fight. Shortly after, he landed the knees and the fight came to a close. The arena was showered with boos as many, including Means, felt that Oliveira may have been looking for a way out.
“I thought he definitely milked it and I’m going to be the bull that breaks the cowboy in Brazil,” Means said. “You know, I didn’t see his initial reaction. When I first stood up and turned around I thought the fight was over. My coaches were pissed off they thought he milked it and even some of the media thought he milked it. I went and re-watched it and sure enough he stood up to protest the stoppage.”
“He realizes that he called a timeout when he flopped and started holding onto his face. They carried him out on a stretcher and he comes into the green room laughing it up, high fiving people, taking photos. I remember when I got a concussion I couldn’t even look into a bright room but this dude’s laughing it up. He couldn’t walk, he was falling over his face but moments later he’s laughing it up in the back.”
After the first fight, Oliveira’s team appealed the result as they wanted the fight changed from a no contest to a DQ win for Alex. Although Means admits that it should have been a DQ if the rules are being followed, he wasn’t thrilled with the approach that Oliveira’s team had taken.
“You got his manager hugging me and patting me on my shoulder saying shit like I don’t care who wins and I’m here for everybody and when I’m in the other room they’re talking a different story saying I’m a cheater so they’re giving me two different sides of who they are,” Means explained. “I’m one guy and I wear who I am on my sleeve, I don’t have two faces to me. All the respect to his team but he’s not in my league and I want to make that apparent.”
Oliveira will get his wish as he is set to rematch Means this Saturday in his home country of Brazil. Despite fighting in enemy territory, Means is excited to leave no doubt and move on.
“I want to close the chapter on Alex Oliveira,” Means said. “For some reason they think he’s in my league and I’m going to exploit that on Saturday. I think his manager wanted it more than he did so they wanted in his hometown and I’m the wrong guy to bring to a homecoming party.”
With a new four fight deal inked, Means is not looking past Oliveira but is ready to avenge his losses to top contenders Neil Magny, Matt Brown and Jorge Masvidal. Fully focused on Fortaleza, he is looking to put his fight ending mistake in the past and move into the welterweight ranks.
“I messed up, I thought it was legal so he gets to call it wherever he wants it but he just shouldn’t have called it in front of his family.”
Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means will open up the FS1 main card Saturday March 11th in Fortaleza, Brazil.