Opinion: Despite Alexander Volkanovski Giving Islam Makhachev His Toughest Fight, Charles Oliveira Has the Best Chance of Beating Dagestani Champ at UFC 294

Published 10/03/2023, 8:41 AM EDT

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We are less than three weeks away from UFC 294 where fans will get to witness a rematch between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title. There are a lot of people who believe that the champion will retain his title in Abu Dhabi. However, we have a few reasons to believe that ‘Do Bronx’ has the chance to defeat the Dagestan native on October 21st.

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The last time Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev met inside the Octagon, things did not go in the Brazilian’s favor. Moreover, his performance was rather underwhelming. Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s protégé finished him off with an arm-triangle choke in the second round to win the vacant lightweight strap. However, things can be much different this time. Let us take a look at why ‘Do Bronx’ might edge past Makhachev.

Charles Oliveira has the most submission wins

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Grappling is one of the most important techniques of MMA. Learning to submit to an opponent gives a fighter a lot of advantages in controlling a fight. This is something that Islam Makhachev is known for because of his prowess in wrestling, especially combat sambo. However, it is Charles Oliveira who holds the record for the most wins by submission in the history of the UFC.

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Since Islam Makhachev made his UFC debut in 2015, he has only been able to earn wins by submission moves on 6 occasions. His most recent submission win came against none other than Charles Oliveira. However, when it comes to ‘Do Bronx’, he’s on another level with his submission game. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Oliveira currently holds the record for the most submission wins with 16.

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‘Do Bronx’ also has the most finishes in UFC history

Charles Oliveira is a unique fighter, to say the least. He’s not only an excellent grappler but is the best finisher in the game too. While Islam Makhachev has an amazing record of 12-1 in the UFC, he has a 75 percent finishing rate with 9 finishes in Dana White‘s promotion. However, Charles Oliveira has more than two times the finishes that the reigning lightweight champion has.

Oliveira started fighting under the UFC banner five years earlier than Islam Makhachev. So, understandably, he will have more fights under his belt than the Dagestan native. However, his skills are second to none. He has a record of 20 finishes in the UFC, which is the most in the promotion.

The record of most finishes is a testament to the level of skill he possesses. Moreover, fellow lightweight fighter Dustin Poirier recently mentioned that he believes that ‘Do Bronx’ did not show his best version when he first fought Makhachev at UFC 280.

Dustin Poirier says Charles Oliveira did not show his “true potential” at UFC 280

‘The Diamond’ and ‘Do Bronx’ are not strangers to each other. They’ve fought each other once where Charles Oliveira came out on top with a submission win. As such, Dustin Poirier, during the pre-fight pressers before UFC 291, gave his take on the Brazilian’s chances against Islam Makhachev in their rematch. He claimed that Oliveira did not show how much he was capable of when he first fought Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protégé last year.

“I’m a 100 percent sure that Charles did not show his true potential in the fight [UFC 280]. I know from experience that the guy is good,” said Poirier. He also added that Oliveira did not perform to his fullest capabilities, and that is something that he’s done in his previous fights. Dustin Poirier added, “I thought he really underperformed, and we’ve seen him do that in the past.” Not only has Oliveira shown his weaknesses, but Joe Rogan believes Makhachev also showcased some weaknesses of his own.

Joe Rogan mentioned how Alexander Volkanovski exposed the holes in Islam Makhachev’s game

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The UFC 284 main event fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev was the latter’s toughest test to date. Of course, it was one of the best head-to-head contests, but Joe Rogan claimed that the aura of invincibility surrounding Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protégé diminished. Moreover, the fight also ended in a controversial manner with judges ruling the fight in favor of Islam Makhachev. However, many people, including Rogan, had ‘The Great’ winning the fight.

“In my mind, he [Volkanovski] won that fight. I think He did more damage [than Makhachev], he imposed his skill sets [On Makhachev]… it at least gives an air of vulnerability to Islam where before that, most people were like, ‘This guy’s unstoppable,” Rogan said during the latest edition of the ‘JRE MMA Show’.

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Charles Oliveira can legitimately see himself edging past Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 due to the aforementioned reasons. However, the reigning champion understands the weight of carrying Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legacy. Similarly, he might also be wary of the mistakes he made in his last fight, which could make the fight in Abu Dhabi more interesting. We will have to wait till October 21st to find that out.

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Written by:

Himanga Mahanta

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Himanga Mahanta is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He has a passion for combat sports and a deep understanding of the intricacies of MMA. With his expertise and extensive knowledge, Himanga provides in-depth coverage of UFC events and fighters, bringing his readers closer to the action and the athletes they admire.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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