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Gilbert Burns: Charles Oliveira ‘on a different level,’ can beat Islam Makhachev

Burns explains what could make a difference in a potential fight between Oliveira and Makhachev. 

Gilbert Burns is confident Charles Oliveira can beat Islam Makhachev.

Burns knows a fight between Oliveira and Makhachev would be intriguing, but still sees ‘Do Bronx’ emerging victorious for several reasons. ‘Durinho’ told Helen Yee that after seeing how Oliveira fought against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, there is no doubt in his mind that he can survive whatever Makhachev tries to do in the Octagon.

“He looked great,” said Burns. “For sure, he got knocked down. I saw a couple of guys say, ‘Oh he got knocked down, he got dropped [and] he lost before’ but that was before. What happens is a couple guys have a record built, they have a lot of easy fights and they come with a lot of fights and undefeated, but this guy was in the fire since he was so young. He was in the UFC fighting the best guys. For sure, he got a couple of losses, but Charles Oliveira right now in 2022? Wow.

“And I’m a fan of the division,” continued Burns. “If it were me, if Burns was the matchmaker, I would make Islam and Oliveira, for sure. And that’s a fight that’s very intriguing. I still believe Oliveira can get a win because the striking, the pressure that he does, the jiu-jitsu. People say, ‘Oh, but the sambo’ and yeah, I got it but Oliveira is huge for the division… I think he’s on a different level.”

Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight championship after coming in .5 pounds over the limit for his fight against Gaethje. Because he won — a first-round rear-naked choke — the UFC announced that he would fight in a No. 1 contender for his next outing. An opponent has not been named, but Makhachev (and his mentor former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov) has been campaigning for the opportunity. Though originally expected to fight a returning Beneil Dariush, nothing is official yet, and UFC president Dana White has hinted at scheduling Oliveira vs. Makhachev instead.

Makhachev has dominated his opponents since rebounding from a first-round knockout loss to Adriano Martins at UFC 192 in his promotional debut. The 30-year-old has finished his past four opponents, including Dan Hooker and Bobby Green at UFC 267 and UFC Vegas 49, respectively.

If Oliveira vs. Makhachev is indeed booked, the Brazilian told the UFC he would like to fight in Brazil by December.