Islam Makhachev claims UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira doesn't have 'good wrestling skills'

  • Tom Ward

Islam Makhachev claims UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira doesn’t have ‘good wrestling skills’ but is still going to beat Justin Gaethje anyway.

Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s teammate Makhachev believes he will be next in line for a shot at the Brazilian’s lightweight title with a win over Bobby Green this weekend.

But he doesn’t expect ‘Do Bronx’ to be much of a challenge, adding: ‘I don’t think it’s going to be hard for me’.

Makhachev, though, is well aware of the 32-year-old’s dangerous ability on the ground, after watching him submit Dustin Poirier at UFC 268 in December.

However, he is confident he can hang with him on the mat, having spent many hours rolling with the likes of Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold at American Kickboxing Academy.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Dagestani wrestler Makhachev named the one weakness he can see in Oliveira’s game.

He said: “It’s going to be a good fight because we almost have the same style.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: In this handout image provided by UFC, (R-L) Islam Makhachev works for a submission against Drew Dober in their lightweight fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“He has good grappling skills, he has good striking, and it’s going to be a good fight.

“I don’t think it’s going to be hard for me. I can take him down easy because I know he doesn’t have good wrestling skills. But his grappling skills [are] high level and we will see who is better there.”

Oliveira, 32, will next defend his belt against Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7.

It’s a close matchup on paper, but Makhachev says he doesn’t see it that way.

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He continued: “I think Oliveira is going to beat Justin Gaethje, and [it will be] 11-[fight] win streak versus 10-win streak.

“This is going to be a big fight for all MMA fans.

“I think he’s going to finish him, I think he’s going to strike with him [in the] first round, and after, he’s going to take him down.

“I think he’s going to choke him.”

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