Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush face off this Saturday in UFC 289’s co-main event in Vancouver, British Columbia, with eyes on a potential lightweight title shot — and Brazilian MMA stars foresee a challenging match for “do Bronx,” even if they’re all rooting for the former champion.
Charles Oliveira returns to action eight months after losing to Islam Makhachev for the 155-pound belt, which snapped an 11-fight winning streak. Meanwhile, Dariush seeks his long-awaited title opportunity after coming out victorious in his past eight bouts.
Two-time UFC title challenger Demian Maia, who visited Oliveira’s UFC 289 training camp at Chute Boxe Diego Lima this past May, broke down the matchup during a recent appearance on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast.
“Like Charles Oliveira, Beneil is always fighting everybody and beating a lot of tough guys,” Maia said. “Danilo [Marques], a friend of mine that lives [in California] and trains at Kings MMA, said [Dariush] loves jiu-jitsu, has good jiu-jitsu, and he’s also a fan of mine. He comes from a wrestling background so he has both games, and he also fights on the feet, he goes for it.”
Maia feels Dariush could be even better as a fighter if not for one detail: He tends to “get emotional” in fights.
“Sometimes it would be easier for him to just take [his opponent] down and control, but he wants to brawl because the other guy is brawling too,” Maia said. “Charles has the advantage in jiu-jitsu, but Beneil is dangerous too. I think Beneil has the advantage in wrestling, and Charles has the edge on the feet because he’s more technical, he’s longer and bigger. This winner might get decided on the feet.
“It’s an interesting fight,” Maia continued. “Two great fighters, I like both of them a lot. I’m friends with Charles Oliveira and I’m rooting for him, of course, but I like them both a lot.”
Former UFC and WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo also has great things to say about Dariush, who’s a protege of longtime Brazilian coach Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA.
“Charles’ jiu-jitsu is sharper but Dariush’s ground game is tight too,” Aldo said on Trocação Franca. “I’ve always been a fan of Dariush for a long time. I’ve said to Rafael before, ‘That guy that helps you, I see him in the corner and in fights, I think he’s very skilled.’ He deserved to fight for the title already, he always delivers great fights.
“He’s fighting Charles now, and it’s a great opportunity for Charles to rebound as well. I’m rooting for Charles Oliveira, I love him and hope he can get back to the winning tracks and to the belt, but it’s a very tough fight. Dariush doesn’t shy away from fighting on the ground and on the feet, but if I had to bet on someone, it would be on Charles Oliveira. May he win this fight.”
Alex Pereira, who held the UFC middleweight title and now seeks a new beginning at light heavyweight against ex-champion Jan Blachowicz, said on a recent episode of Trocação Franca that he sides with the fellow Brazilian this weekend in Canada.
“Charles Oliveira is a warrior. He has such a beautiful story, had such a difficult life,” Pereira said. “I think this fight was the right move. He’s planning everything right, just like I do. His team seems to be on great terms with the UFC because that’s the right fight to do to fight for the belt next. It’s a tough fight, of course, but he was the champion and he won’t have easy fights now. He’ll fight the best, really. And I’m with him, I’m with Charles. I’m rooting for him.”