Chael Sonnen Believes Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev Will Be ‘Battle Between Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo’

Chael Sonnen says fans should be ready for a battle on the ground where position will be the deciding factor between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev at UFC 280

Charles Oliveira
Courtesy of Chael Sonnen on YouTube and @EPSNMMA on Twitter

Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira meets No. 4 ranked Islam Makhachev in the main event of UFC 280 to crown a new king of the lightweight division.

‘Do Bronx’ was stripped of the title following his failure to make the 155-pound weight limit for his UFC 274 bout with Justin Gaethje. After putting away ‘The Highlight’ with a first-round rear-naked choke, Oliveira will get the opportunity to reclaim the title he never technically lost. Standing in his way will be Islam Makhachev, the protege of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov. Makhachev is currently riding a 10-fight win streak with six finishes among them and earned his shot at the title with a first-round knockout of Bobby Green in February. 

One of the more interesting aspects of the impending UFC 280 headliner is that it will bring together two of the absolute best in the worlds of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Sambo. Speaking on the match-up is three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen who shared his take on the clash of styles fans will be treated to on October 22nd.

“This is a massive battle between Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo,” Sonnen said. “And Sambo isn’t coming out and trying to get credit ahead of time because their guy is a three-to-one dog… And Jiu-Jitsu isn’t even mentioning it, because they’re not sure that their guy’s techniques work. You have two sides that are scared.

“We’re going to see Jiu-Jitsu versus Sambo, period. We haven’t seen this matchup before.

“These boys are going to the ground. We know this ahead of time, but Sambo isn’t coming out saying: ‘Keep your eye on us,’ and Jiu-Jitsu isn’t willing to risk what’s at stake here.”

Position Will Be Key in Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev

Continuing to share his thoughts on the lightweight showdown at UFC 280, Sonnen believes that position will be everything when determining the winner between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev. With both fighters more than proficient on the ground, every move could mean instant victory or sudden defeat. 

“If, from his back, from a guard position, Charles could finish Islam, it would be absolutely amazing. But there’s nothing historically that would make you think that…

“Can Islam pass his guard? If he does, very bad. Can Islam pound him and put Charles on the defense? If so, very bad… These are the kinds of things that are at stake.”

‘Do Bronx’ is the most prolific submission specialist in UFC history with a record-holding 16 submission victories inside the Octagon and 21 wins via submission overall. Of course, Makhachev is no slouch in the submission game, holding 10 wins by way of submission over 22 career victories.

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