Top ranked UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev expects former 155-pound champion Charles Oliveira to be a fairly easy fight when they hook ‘em up for the vacant division title in the UFC 280 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this October in Abu Dhabi.
The no-longer-bitter Justin Gaethje with the dissenting opinion:
“I’m 100-percent confident that Islam will not dominate Charles,” Gaethje told reporters at UFC 278. “I think Charles is gonna move forward. Islam’s gonna try (to wrestle) and eventually, he might be successful. And if he is, he’ll win. But I don’t see him tiring (Oliveira) out. Even if he takes him down for the first two rounds, I don’t see Charles getting submitted, and I don’t see him being too exhausted to continue to fight the fight that he needs to fight.”
Gaethje (23-4) knows a thing or two about trading shots with Oliveira.
“The Highlight” went head-to-head with “Do Bronx” in the UFC 274 headliner last May. Despite his first-round destruction of Gaethje, the 32 year-old Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) was stripped of his lightweight strap after a controversial scale fail the day before.
“My last fight, Charles was brilliant,” Gaethje continued. “And he hurt me often, he hurt me early. Ten seconds in, I was really hurt, and probably four times after that. I felt something I never felt in the cage. It’s a feeling I’ve never felt. Usually, you get hit, you call it a buzz, call it a flash. This is more like my tongue just went on a super powerful battery and it just… my entire body was crazy. It was perfect shots, perfect time, one or the other.”
Makhachev (22-1) has only been stopped once in his professional career.