- Islam Makhachev weighed in on Charles Oliveira’s game ahead of UFC 280
- The Russian explains why he thinks he could beat “do Bronx” on the ground
With less than two weeks to go before UFC 280, Charles Oliveira has been intensely working on his ground game. The Brazilian is arguably the most dangerous jiu-jitsu fighter in the lightweight division and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he utilizes it against Islam Makhachev come fight night.
However, regardless of what Oliveira’s records and highlights show, Makhachev remains unfazed.
Breaking down his upcoming opponent’s game in a recent interview, Makhachev shared an interesting take as to why Oliveira hasn’t been stopped on the ground as of late. Based on the Dagestani fighter’s assessment, nobody has ever tried to “ground-and-pound” the Brazilian on the mat and in the process, they get submitted because they try to match him in grappling.
“His last three or four opponents, they knock him down and nobody goes to grappling,” Makhachev told The National. “Nobody tried to finish him there. Nobody tried to do some ground-and-pound. That’s why nobody from these opponents could stop him.”
Makhachev added that he’s not intimidated by Oliveira’s jiu-jitsu as he’s confident his Sambo and grappling are better. The 31-year-old is not known for his standup game, but he also vowed to give “do Bronx” a “hard time” on the feet.
“But I’m not scared of his jiu-jitsu skills because I have good skills in Sambo and grappling and will give him a hard time in striking,” he added. “That’s why I’m going to knock him down and try to finish him. Because this guy has most finishes in the UFC, my goal is I have to finish him. I’m going to take his record… Charles is very dangerous. He always finishes his opponent, and he’s dangerous in the striking and on the ground. But I believe in my skills. I’m ready for the fight standing up or on the ground – it doesn’t matter.”
Not the toughest opponent either
Ahead of UFC 280, many believe that Oliveira will be Makhachev’s toughest assignment. But for the Russian MMA phenom, the Brazilian presents nothing new to him as he has beaten guys who have “more skills” in the past.
“I don’t think this is the biggest test (of my career),” Makhachev assessed. “Maybe I’ve beat some guy who has more skills. But right now, he’s the champion. And, right now, at this moment in his career, because he has a good win streak – he had many losses before and he finished all his opponents – he feels like nobody can stop him. But Oct. 22, I’m going to come to the cage and stop him there.”
UFC 280 MMA event is set to take place on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.