Friday, December 2, 2022

Oliveira Answers If Makhachev Is His “Toughest Fight So Far”

UFC lightweight Charles Oliveira has assessed whether or not upcoming opponent Islam Makhachev represents his toughest opponent to date.

Next weekend, two of the best active 155lbers on the planet will collide inside the Octagon. Headlining a stacked UFC 280 pay-per-view on October 22 will be a vacant title fight between former champion Oliveira and rising Dagestani Makhachev.

For “Do Bronx,” the Abu Dhabi-held showdown represents the chance for him to right a wrong from earlier this year, having lost the belt through a weight miss prior to his victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 274.

On the other side of the matchup, Makhachev will be looking to realize his potential and follow in the footsteps of his friend and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has long touted him as the rightful successor to his reign.

After defeating Michael Chandler to win the gold last May at UFC 262, Oliveira went on to defend the belt against Dustin Poirier seven months later. Like in those two contests, the Brazilian once again recovered from an early knockdown last time out before submitting Gaethje.

Despite proving his doubters wrong up until now, many have long labeled the smothering wrestling game of Makhachev as the biggest threat to his place at the lightweight mountaintop.

The man himself, though, has dismissed that notion.

“No, not really,” Oliveira told ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto when asked if his upcoming collision with Makhachev marks his toughest fight yet.

When questioned on how he sees the October 22 headliner playing out, Oliveira simply said, “I’m gonna shock the world, yet again.”

Makhachev vs. Oliveira: One Streak Must End

Both men have appeared supremely confident in the buildup to their long-awaited clash, but only one man will be proved right come fight night, and only one will exit the Octagon with their double-digit win streak still intact.

Oliveira heads to Abu Dhabi riding an 11-fight winning run, marking the second-longest in UFC lightweight history. Since a loss to Paul Felder in 2017, which left him 10-8-1 under the promotional banner, “Do Bronx” has developed from a mid-tier member of the roster to a fighter who’s beginning to stake his claim for divisional GOAT status.

Among his consecutive wins, the Brazilian has added finishes of Chandler, Poirier, Gaethje, Clay Guida, Kevin Lee, and Jim Miller to his record-breaking stoppage résumé. If he’s to add Makhachev to that list, he’ll have to bring the Russian’s own lengthy streak to an end at 10.

Since a knockout loss to Adriano Moraes in 2015 blemished his professional record for the first and only time, Makhachev has climbed the ladder with a level of dominance instilled in him by Khabib and the elite AKA team.

Among his scalps, the Dagestani 31-year-old has defeated Nik Lentz, Arman Tsarukyan, Drew Dober, Thiago Moisés, and Dan Hooker. In his most recent outing, Makhachev quickly finished short-notice opponent Bobby Green in the UFC Vegas 49 main event.

A lot has been made about the pair’s win streaks and the comparisons between them. While Oliveira has downplayed the Russian, suggesting that he hasn’t secured any victories worthy of a shot at gold, Makhachev has made note of the damage the Brazilian’s taken against his recent opponents.

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