Makhachev most recently defeated Bobby Green after originally being scheduled to face Beneil Dariush back in February. After allegedly turning down a short-notice fight with Rafael dos Anjos, UFC President Dana White has hinted that he’ll have to fight in a re-booked matchup with Dariush before getting a lightweight title shot.
During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Trocacao Franca podcast, Maia explained why he feels Oliveira has a significant advantage against Makhachev in a hypothetical clash.
“If there’s a man to beat that type of fighter, it’s Charles, because Charles has [a good] guard [game],” Maia said. “You have to have [a good] guard to beat someone like that, enough guard to at least survive but also be offensive, to be dangerous there. Charles has that. Charles is a dangerous fight for that type of fighter. Not to mention he’s dangerous as hell on the feet.”
Oliveira has recently downplayed Makhachev’s wrestling prowess, despite being a top protégé of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nevertheless, Makhachev also has an underrated stand-up game that he has showcased at times in the Octagon.
In a recent tweet, Makhachev hit back at Maia’s evaluation.
“I remember the guy who bet his house and lost in my fight vs Hooker,” Makhachev replied to the interview. “Don’t do the same mistake [Demian Maia] save your money.”
Oliveira was stripped of his title after failing to make weight ahead of his UFC 274 clash with Justin Gaethje. He is now the top contender at 155lbs and could potentially face Makhachev for the now-vacant belt.
The UFC and White have seemed intrigued by a potential matchup between Oliveira and Makhachev. While some fight fans give Oliveira a shot to hand Makhachev his first loss, Makhachev is as confident as can be ahead of a potential title shot.
Who wins in the potential Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira matchup?