Islam Makhachev is looking past UFC Vegas 49 opponent Bobby Green to a potential lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira, predicting an easy victory against ‘Do Bronx’ because of his superior wrestling and takedowns.
“It’s going to be a good fight because we almost have the same style. He has good grappling skills, he has good striking, and it’s going to be a good fight,” Makhachev said at the UFC Vegas 49 media day. “I don’t think it’s going to be hard for me. I can take him down easy because I know he doesn’t have good wrestling skills. But his grappling skills (are) high level and we will see who is better there.”
Islam Makhachev expects to see Charles Oliveira in a UFC title fight this year and "I don't think it's going to be hard for me." #UFCVegas49 | Full video: https://t.co/6465xgDZGD pic.twitter.com/oUDaVXWBCg— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) February 24, 2022
Oliveira must first get past Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, but Makhachev foresees the Brazilian retaining his lightweight title with relative ease on May 7 and extending his record for the most submission wins in UFC history to 16.
“I think Oliveira is going to beat Justin Gaethje, and (it will be) 11 winning streak vs. 10-win streak,” Makhachev said. “This is going to be a big fight for all MMA fans. I think he’s going to finish him. I think he’s going to strike with him (in the) first round, and after, he’s going to take him down. I think he’s going to choke him.”
Makhachev must first get past Green, who stepped in on short notice for an injured Beneil Dariush, before there’s any talk of him challenging Oliveira for the lightweight title.
UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Green takes place this Saturday, Feb. 26 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.