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Demian Maia ‘not a betting guy’ but would put money on Charles Oliveira to beat Islam Makhachev

Demian Maia believes Charles Oliveira is the ‘man to beat’ Islam Makhachev.

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Demian Maia believes Charles Oliveira matches up well with Islam Makhachev and has the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to nullify the Russian’s Sambo wrestling.

Maia not only believes Oliveira has the tools to defeat Makhachev but that the uncrowned UFC lightweight champion is also capable of beating Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev’s longtime coach and mentor.

During a recent interview with Guilherme Cruz on the Trocação Franca podcast, Maia, a BJJ specialist with 14 submission victories, explained why ‘Do Bronx’ has the perfect style to defeat both Makhachev and Nurmagomedov in the UFC.

“If there’s a man to beat that type of fighter, it’s Charles, because Charles has [a good] guard [game],” Maia said of Oliveira, who holds the record for the most submissions in UFC history at 16. “You have to have [a good] guard to beat someone like that, enough guard to at least survive but also be offensive, to be dangerous there. Charles has that. Charles is a dangerous fight for that type of fighter. Not to mention he’s dangerous as hell on the feet.”

“It’s kind of the same strategy when I fought Ben Askren,” Maia added. “I was taken down and was working right away. You can go for a sweep or a submission during the takedown. Not that you can’t be off your back, but you don’t wanna be there early, when you opponent has too much energy to hold you and steal rounds.

“I had this drill back when I fought Ben Askren, he’d take me down and I would go for the ankle, a triangle, a sweep, you know? I still do these drills to this day. But I think you have to be the type of fighter Charles is to be someone like that. If you don’t have jiu-jitsu, you don’t beat these guys.”

Maia is no betting man but believes Oliveira should be the clear favorite over Makhachev and wouldn’t hesitate to put his money on Oliveira when the time comes.

“I would put [my money]” on Oliveira to win if he gets paired up against Makhachev next. “I’m not a betting guy, but I would,” he said.

Oliveira and Makhachev will collide for the vacant lightweight title at a TBA UFC event later this year.