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UFC 280 Fight Analysis and Best Bets: Chares Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev
The time has finally come. We are now only five days away from the biggest UFC card of the year–and since it’s so big, I figured I’d break down some of the biggest fights on the card individually, rather than all at once. That’s right, there’s no all-encompassing best bets story this week–you’ll be getting complete fight breakdowns for all the significant bouts going down on Saturday. That way, you can see why I chose the picks I did–and, maybe, you can make some picks of your own.
Here we’ll be focusing on the main event of the evening–a clash between lightweight beasts Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev. Oliveira, who was the most recent lightweight champion, was forced to lose his belt after not making weight at UFC 274. Even though he defeated Justin Gaethje by submission in the first round, he was stripped of the title–so, this bout against Islam Makhachev will be for all the marbles.
Charles Oliveira Breakdown
If Oliveira manages to win on Saturday, it will be his twelfth victory in a row. In this streak, he’s beaten some of the best lightweights out there: Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chander, Tony Ferguson, Jim Miller, Clay Guida, and Nik Lentz have all been on the losing side of things against Oliveira since the streak began back in 2018.
Oliveira got his first crack at the title in 2021, when he won the vacant title against Michael Chandler. Oliveira was dropped early in that fight and narrowly made it to the second round– however, Oliveira came out swinging and knocked Chandler out in just 19 seconds in the second round. He followed that up by defeating Dustin Poirier, who was coming off of two Conor McGregor victories of his own, by submission in the third round. Then, he made quick work of Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, submitting him via rear-naked choke in the first round.
Oliveira is one of those rare fighters that has it all–he can knock you out, he can take you down, and he can choke you out. There’s no good way to approach a fight against Oliveira–and he seems to only be getting better with every performance.
Oliveira has only been taken down by two of his last eight opponents (Nik Lentz and Kevin Lee) and has proven his ability to stand and bang with the best of ‘em. He’ll pose a hard match for Makhachev, who is the slight betting favorite (-180 according to DraftKings Sportsbook).
Islam Makhachev Breakdown
Islam Makhachev has been one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC since 2016. He’s currently on a 10-fight win streak, and has finished six opponents in that stretch. He’s currently on a four-fight finish streak, and each of his last two fights didn’t make it out of the first round.
Makhachev overwhelms his opponents with his smothering wrestling, and usually, when he takes you down, you stay there. He’s got some of the best ground-and-pound in all of the UFC, and has the uncanny ability to choke out his opponents from seemingly any guard.
The only weakness that Makhachev may have is his striking. His only loss in MMA came via KO/TKO, and that was over seven years ago. It was a fight where he tried to stay standing, which evidently was a mistake.
Oliveira vs Makhachev Best Bets and Prediction
As things currently stand, Makhachev is the favorite in this fight at -180. Oliveira is sitting at +155, and the over/under is currently set at 2.5 rounds.
Ever since this fight was announced, I’ve gone back and forth on who I think has it. On one hand, Makhachev has been incredibly dominant in each of his last ten fights, and is the best wrestler the division has seen since Khabib. On the other hand, though, we have Oliveira–who has been a brick wall for contenders since 2018.
I think Makhachev will come out of the gates strong and will land an early takedown on Oliveira. However, I think Oliveira has the bottom game to make it tough for Makhachev to transition with ease. Oliveira is a BJJ expert, which is a wrestlers worst nightmare.
As the fight goes on, I think Oliveira’s striking will wear Islam down. Eventually, I think it will be too overwhelming, and Makhachev will succumb.
Prediction: Charles Oliveira to win (+155) and OVER 2.5 Rounds (+130)