Tristar head coach Firas Zahabi, the mastermind behind welterweight G.O.A.T. Georges St-Pierre, believes he has identified a chink in the armor of UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira that Justin Gaethje could look to exploit in their upcoming lightweight title fight at UFC 274.
Zahabi has noticed a tendency for Oliveira to fade as the fight goes on and claims therein lies Gaethje’s path to victory, predicting a potential win for Gaethje if the former WSOF lightweight champ can drag his opponent into the championship rounds.
“I love the heart of Justin Gaethje and I think that’s the only chink in Oliveira’s armor is that he’s been in hard fights in the past,” Zahabi said on his YouTube channel (h/t Sportskeeda). “Not in the recent past [but] in the past where you kind of saw there was a kink in his armor [and] he kind of slowed down a little bit and let the fight get away from him. I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for Gaethje to win the last few rounds so that’s how I see it.”
Defeating Oliveria is much easier said than done, however, as the Brazilian is undefeated in his last ten fights and hasn’t been finished since 2017 when he suffered a TKO loss to UFC fighter turned commentator Paul Felder.
Zahabi understands just how dangerous Oliveria can be both on the feet and the ground, and, with 15 UFC submission victories to his name (the most in UFC history), ‘Do Bronx’ is more than capable of latching onto a submission and finishing the fight at any time.
“I would be surprised if he [Oliveira] flatlines him, like he knocks him out cold, not impossible but wouldn’t surprise me if he hurts him and jumps on his back and finishes him with a choke or finishes him with a triangle or a guillotine, you know. You knock a guy down and you wrap up his neck, it’s over,” Zahabi said.
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje takes place next month, May 7, at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.