In the Clinch: Oliveira, Makhachev Eye Vacant Lightweight Title, UFC 280 – Former champion and current No. 1 Charles Oliveira (33-8-0, 1NC), 33, and No. 4 Islam Makhachev (22-1-0), 31, will battle Saturday in Abu Dhabi in what is one of the most intriguing lightweight title bouts in some time.
Oliveira comes in as the underdog cyborg where he seems to thrive and hasn’t lost since UFC 218 in December 2017, a span of 11 bouts. He’s beaten names like Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and Michael Chandler.
The tragic weight miss against Gaethje at UFC 274 in May cost Oliveira the title, but one could argue may help crown him as the lightweight GOAT if he can get by Makhachev.
Groomed by who many consider to be the current lightweight GOAT, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has steamrolled over almost every opponent in the octagon since a TKO loss to Adriano Martins at UFC 192 in October 2015.
Using his patented grappling to set up four consecutive different finishes in his last four fights, Makhachev is deadly when the fight hits the ground, just like his mentor Khabib.
Speaking to reporters at the UFC 280 media day, Makhachev confirmed he will be looking to establish his grappling superiority and finish Oliveira on the ground. This should be no surprise to anyone who has watched Islam in recent bouts.
Oliveira, for his part, said to reporters that he is comfortable wherever the fight goes. And he better be. He is usually a slow starter but being extremely prepared for the takedown and keeping the fight standing would be ideal. If the fight goes to the ground, it will be interesting to see what tricks Oliveira has in store.
May the best man win in Abu Dhabi.
In the Clinch: Oliveira, Makhachev Eye Vacant Lightweight Title, UFC 280 – More Resources
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