- Alexander Volkanovski predicts Islam Makhachev will beat Charles Oliveira at UFC 280
- “The Great” is certain the Russian fighter will finish the fight on the ground
Ahead of his first title shot at UFC 280 against Charles Oliveira, Islam Makhachev shut down naysayers insisting he hasn’t fought a top guy in his division. Makhachev’s mentor and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov backed him up and predicted he’s gonna ride Oliveira “like a horse” come fight night.
While Nurmagomedov’s UFC 280 prediction was expected and quite bold, reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski surprisingly feels kind of the same way.
Volk roots for Islam
Speaking to BT Sport, Volkanovski pointed out that though it’s gonna be a “big test” for Makhachev, the Russian fighter will prove that he’s “not all hype.”
“I’ll probably have to lean towards Islam,” Volkanovski said. “Obviously, it’s a tough fight, anything can happen. This is a big test for Islam but Islam’s not all hype. I know you’re going to get people that might say ‘he hasn’t fought guys like Charles.’ Yeah it’s true but he could fight. We know that. I think he would be ready for it.”
It would end on the ground
Volk didn’t wait to be asked to break it down. As per the UFC’s pound-for-pound king, he sees Makhachev doing his thing on Oliveira and would find his way to finish the fight off on the ground no matter what.
“To break it down more in the technical sort… Obviously, Charles is very dangerous but the grappling approach that Islam is gonna do is gonna be more controlling and he’s going to want to grab a hold of you, bring you down, put you in a position on the floor where he is full control… Not go falling into guards, letting you have room to move your hips and lock up triangles, arm bars… He wants to grab a hold of you as you’re going down, take away everything from you,” Volkanovski added. “Even in striking. Obviously, Charles is a much better striker when you talk about finishes and landing but Islam’s approach to even striking is purely based around his game… ‘How do I set up this takedown, grab a hold of him, and just have his way with them.”
Makhachev is coming in off a flawless 10-fight win streak. On the other hand, Oliveira won his last 11 fights, including the first-round submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 to earn a shot at reclaiming his lightweight title.
UFC 280 MMA event will take place on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.