UFC champion Charles Oliveira gives his predictions on some pivotal lightweight matchups.
The UFC’s lightweight division remains one of the premier divisions in the sport. With so many talented athletes competing on the roster, every top ten fight is of great importance. Current champ Charles Oliveira is aware of this and has eyes on those who may await him on the horizon. Speaking to Sherdog, Oliveira gave his thoughts on a couple of upcoming bouts that could produce contenders to his throne.
The Brazilian first set his sights on the Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler bout set for UFC 268 in November.
“Both are brawlers with knockout power. Probably Gaethje has better combinations, but Chandler is also very dangerous, it’s pretty much 50-50,” Oliveira said of the clash of top contenders.
Oliveira won his belt after rallying from the brink of the defeat to finish Chandler at UFC 262. While “Do Bronx” has yet to face off against Gaethje, the two have gone back and forth on social media and in interviews.
Another rising contender that’s garnering fans’ attention is Islam Makhachev. The Khabib Nurmagomedov protégé is on many people’s shortlist as a future title contender. But first, the sambo technician has to prove his worth against a former champion in Rafael dos Anjos when the two collide on October 30th at UFC 267. Oliveira doesn’t like the Russian fighter’s chances in that one.
“Makhachev deserves all respect, but he just faced fighters who respected him, always walking backwards and allowing him to impose his game. Dos Anjos has strong hands and a very high level of jiu-jitsu. He will bring different challenges to Makhachev. It’s gonna be a war, but I see RDA winning.”
Charles Oliveira will surely be watching both fights with great interest. The champion is riding a nine-fight win streak and will likely face Dustin Poirier by year’s end. Though many outlets reported that the fight was a done deal, Oliveira stated to Sherdog that it is “still in negotiations.”