Saturday, December 3, 2022

White Names The Only Possible Criticism For Oliveira/Makhachev

UFC President Dana White believes there’s only one question mark surrounding the matchup between elite lightweights Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev.

Today in Abu Dhabi, the MMA leader will put on arguably its most stacked pay-per-view event of 2022 to date. That consensus largely derives from the championship fight that’s set to headline UFC 280.

After months of back and forth, either former champion Oliveira or self-professed ‘destined future titleholder’ Makhachev will leave the Etihad Arena with 155-pound gold in their possession.

As far as main events go, not many have drawn as much attention this year as today’s headlining contest has. And the promotion’s chief thinks that’s for good reason.

White: ‘Oliveira/Makhachev Is About As Good As It Gets’

During a recent interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, White looked ahead to his promotion’s latest PPV offering, and the matchup that sits atop the October 22 card.

The vacant title clash pits two of the longest active UFC win streaks against one another. While Oliveira has revived his career with 11 consecutive triumphs, including over Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje, Makhachev has surged into contention with 10 victories in a row.

The one difference, White says, is the quality of competition both men have faced in their respective winning runs.

“This fight is about as good as it gets, with two absolute studs in their prime,” White said. “You got Oliveira, who’s on an 11-fight win streak, and you got Islam, who’s on a 10-fight win streak. The only thing that you could argue with this one is that Oliveira has fought much better competition in his career. But look at who Islam trains with every day. This guy trains with straight animals every day, including Khabib (Nurmagomedov). So, you gotta put that in there, too.”

In his most recent outing, Makhachev finished unranked veteran Bobby Green in one round following Beneil Dariush’s withdrawal. Prior to that, he’d defeated Thiago Moisés and Dan Hooker, who were ranked #14 and #6 at the time, respectively.

Nevertheless, as White laid out, the Russian and his team have expressed immense confidence about his talents, which he’s drilled in the gym alongside former champion Khabib for years.

Makhachev will look to find the payoff for his hard work today at the expense of Oliveira, who’s repeatedly accused his opponent of arrogance in the buildup.

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