MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz has backed both Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush to dominate and finish No. 1-ranked lightweight Charles Oliveira in a title fight.
Abdelaziz manages both fighters at Dominance MMA and thinks Makhachev in particular has the skills to make “Do Bronx” look like an amateur.
The former MMA fighter and BJJ black belt under Renzo Gracie would like to see either Makhachev or Dariush go on to fight Oliveira for the vacant lightweight championship rather than have both his clients face off in a number one contender's bout.
“One of these guys need to fight for the title,” Abdelaziz told MMA Junkie in a recent interview. “When the UFC booked them to fight for the title, I was all for it. No. 1 contender match, they come back in July, Beneil was not ready. Now they have to make a decision. Of course I’m gonna make a case for every one of them because I’m not gonna favor anybody.”
“UFC doesn’t even have a champion. There’s no division. How you’re gonna have a No. 1 contender and Charles Oliveira is the No. 1 contender?”
“I believe both will finish him. I think Islam gonna submit him. I think Beneil can submit him too. Beneil can knock him out and submit him. I think Islam definitely can submit him and dominate him. Islam can make him look like an amateur, one hundred percent. Beneil is a little bit crazy, he likes to fight. He’s more gonna get maybe wild with him, catch him, put him to sleep.”
He added: “When you see the odds come out Islam is -450. Beneil would be favorite too, I think he should be favorite. At the end of the day, I love both guys, Beneil and Islam. If the UFC make a decision, they can’t make wrong. If they go with Beneil, I’m OK with it. If they go with Islam, I’m good with it.”
Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight title after missing weight by half a pound at UFC 274. The Brazilian, who holds multiple UFC records including the most submissions (16) and the most finishes (19) in the promotion’s history, went on to submit Justin Gaethje in the second round. He is currently #1 in the UFC lightweight rankings with Makhachev and Dariush not far behind him at #4 and #6 respectively.