Khabib Nurmagomedov explained why Islam Makhachev will have a harder time in the rematch against Charles Oliveira

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says the promotion’s current champion Islam Makhachev will have a harder time in his return fight against Brazilian fighter Charles Oliveira.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s prodigy Islam Makhachev is set to make his first lightweight title defense against Charles Oliveira at UFC 294, which will be the promotion’s annual card in Abu Dhabi in October.

The rematch will take place almost exactly a year from when Makhachev dominantly dethroned Oliveira at UFC 280 via second-round submission.

Nurmagomedov has a surprising prediction for the UFC 294 rematch between Makhachev and Oliveira. Though ‘The Eagle’ was supremely confident about his prodigy’s dominance ahead of the first fight, he expects the rematch to play out slightly differently. The former UFC lightweight king believes it will be a tough outing for both fighters in general but tougher than the first outing for Makhachev as ‘do Bronx’ has nothing left to lose. Khabib Nurmagomedov recently said in an interview with Gorilla Fighting:

“Will the rematch be more difficult than the first fight? Yes, it’s more difficult. For Islam there will be more risk. Oliveira has nothing to lose, he has already lost. If in the first fight he had any concerns and so on, now he doesn’t. I don’t think it will be an easy fight for both of them. For Islam, the second fight will be harder than the first. This is my purely personal opinion.”

Catch Nurmagomedov’s comments below:

Khabib Nurmagomedov had a starkly different stance ahead of the first meeting between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveria was on an 11-fight win streak, including 2 title fights (3 essentially), with his last loss dating back to 2017 when he took on Islam Makhachev at UFC 280.

While Islam Makhachev was on a 10-fight win streak of his own, many didn’t believe Khabib Nurmagomedov when he predicted his prodigy to absolutely walk through ‘do Bronx’. Almost doing Makhachev’s share of trash talk for him, ‘The Eagle’ told UFC Russia leading up to the fight:

“Or when you’re 27 and at your physical peak, but mentally you’re not there yet, because you’re just 27, not 31. And Islam is at his peak. I think Islam is better overall. Of course, there are some potential dangers that we’re working on where Islam needs to be careful. Other than that, Islam should roll over him.”

Considering how Khabib Nurmagomedov’s last prediction played out and the fact that he is one of the best minds to have ever competed in the sport, we shouldn’t be surprised if the UFC 294 prediction is accurate as well.

Catch Nurmagomedov’s comments below:

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