Based on the Brazilian’s most recent outing against Dustin Poirier, Makhachev picked Oliveira to defeat ‘The Highlight’.
While in conversation with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Makhachev suggested that Oliveira’s skills on the ground are strong enough to overcome the challenge presented by Gaethje. He further went on to predict that ‘Do Bronx’ will finish the number one contender during their May 7 title bout.
“I think, [Charles Oliveira]. Because I saw his last fight versus [Dustin Poirier], he improved his wrestling. Now he can take down his opponent and finish him there. But [Justin Gaethje] always has problem in the ground. That’s why I think he’s gonna finish him there.”
Charles Oliveira most recently featured in a lightweight title bout against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. The third round of their clash saw Oliveira lock in a tight rear-naked choke, earning him the submission win.
Oliveira’s victory against ‘The Diamond’ improved his winning streak to a mightily-impressive 10. He last suffered a loss at the hands of Paul Felder at UFC 218 way back in December 2019.
Islam Makhachev rates his wrestling as better than Charles Oliveira’s
During the same interaction, Islam Makhachev also commented on his prospects in a fight against Charles Oliveira. He claimed that ‘Do Bronx’ wouldn’t pose too big of a threat to him, especially in the grappling and wrestling department.
While the Dagestani conceded that Oliveira has improved his striking, he argued that the champion’s wrestling was not up to his standard.
“For me, I don’t know. He has good striking now. He’s improved his Muay Thai. But in the ground, in the wrestling, he’s not my level. Because I compete with many, many guys in the gym, like grappling guys, wrestling guys, because I know I saw his fight, many fights he’s grappling not dangerously.”
Check out Islam Makhachev’s interaction with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto below:
In the wake of his most recent triumph at UFC Vegas 49, Makhachev staked his claim for the UFC lightweight throne. During the post-fight octagon interview, Makhachev called upon Dana White to set up a title fight for him.
However, with White’s latest comments, it appears Makhachev will have to get through Beneil Dariush before challenging for gold.