FormerUFClightweight champion Charles Oliveira has given his key toIslam Makhachevvs.Alexander Volkanovski.
Oliveira lost the lightweight title to Makhachev at UFC 280 back in October. He was stripped of the belt ahead of hisUFC 274clash withJustin Gaethjebut went on to defeat Gaethje via first-round submission.
Oliveira could’ve faced Volkanovski had he defeated Makhachev at UFC 280. Instead, Makhachev will begin his second stint as UFC lightweight champion with one of the most highly-anticipated super fights in recent memory.
Oliveiraincluded two showdownswith Volkanovski as a part of his pre-UFC 280 plans. He hinted at a move back down to featherweight to challenge Volkanovski for the 145lb title along with facing him at 155lbs.
While Oliveira respects Volkanovski’s skills, he’s leaning towards Makhachev retaining the title at UFC 284.
Charles Oliveira Analyzes Islam Makhachev Vs. Alexander Volkanovski
During a recent interview with Brazilian podcastSuper Lutas, Oliveira gave his thoughts on the impending Makhachev/Volkanovski clash.
“If Islam is able to close the distance and take him down, there is nothing much left to do,” Oliveira said. “But Volkanovski has great takedown defense and strong hands. If he is able to move and control the distance, he may surprise Islam. It will be a question of who will implement his game plan better.”
Oliveira became the latest victim of Makhachev’s world-class wrestling at UFC 280. However, Volkanovski proved he can work his way out of submission attempts, as he showcased at UFC 266 against Brian Ortega.
Volkanovski will arguably have a massive speed advantage against the bigger Makhachev. Although, it may not matter if Makhachev is able to work in his takedowns.
Oliveira will keep a close eye on the Makhachev/Volkanovski matchup as he works towards a UFC return. By the time he earns another title shot, he may get a rematch against Makhachev.
All quotes fromSherdog.