For UFC fans, the highly anticipated bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev at UFC 280 on October 22 is now dominating their thoughts. The clash will take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, with Oliveira and Makhachev headlining an all-round exciting card. But is Charles Oliveira likely to win back his UFC lightweight title or is his Russian opponent capable of seeing off the formidable Brazilian?
For starters, Charles Oliveira’s ability in the Octagon cannot be questioned after several mightily impressive performances in recent times, most notably in a successful title defense against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in December 2021, alongside a string of devastating showings that have resulted in many experts rating the professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner as one of the best fighters of his generation.
Although Oliveira failed to make weight before beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 and was subsequently stripped of the title he’s now aiming to take back, his skillset cannot be underestimated heading into arguably his biggest test to date. Despite Makhachev’s undoubted ability, Oliveira is the hottest fighter in the world right now, winning his last 11 fights in a row and without a loss to his name since 2017. Despite this, though, many UFC fight odds favour Oliveira’s dangerous opponent, although there is no doubting just how tough this fight is to call given the serious weapons both fighters possess.
Makhachev has Khabib’s input
A Dagestani fighter with a fearsome reputation, Islam Makhachev is a longtime teammate and friend of one of the greatest fighters to grace a UFC arena in Khabib Nurmagomedov. With both Islam and Khabib growing up together in the Republic of Dagestan and forming a tight bond during their forays into the fighting world, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s input could enable Makhachev to find another gear against Charles Oliveira. Now coaching the rising star, both Khabib and the 30-year-old trained under Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib’s father, and are frequently compared to each other given the similarities in terms of their fighting style and all-round approach in the Octagon. Islam Makhachev could hardly have a better coach helping him rack up the wins either, something that will surely stand him in good stead heading into his biggest challenge yet.
Makhachev hasn’t won against anyone in the top 10
Although many experts and fans alike are favouring Islam Makhachev in this one, the emerging fighter hasn’t actually beaten anyone in the top 10 yet and doesn’t have anywhere near the same amount of cage experience as his opponent does. Charles Oliveira, on the other hand, has fought an array of top-level fighters in his quest for supremacy and has certainly gone to war against a much higher caliber of opponents. With many favouring the Brazilian’s skills ahead of the rising Russian’s, it could be a tough night for fans of Islam Makhachev, although this fight could really go either way given the undoubted talent both fighters possess and the weapons they have in their arsenal.
An unmissable event
While most people are backing their favourite for the main event, other fans of the UFC are assessing the supplementary matchups at UFC 280, too. Other intriguing fights on the night include Aljamain Sterling coming up against T.J. Dillashaw in a bantamweight title bout and Petr Yan taking on another fighter aiming for stardom in Sean O’Malley, although the focus is certainly on the lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev. Like many other battles on the fight card, nobody can call this one, making it an unmissable event overall.