Chael Sonnen has explained why the potential fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira is now much more intriguing than it previously was. The consensus is that Makhachev will likely fight Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title at the UFC 281 event in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd.
Makhachev is coming off a dominant first-round TKO win over Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Green in February. Meanwhile, Oliveira is fresh off a spectacular first-round submission victory over former interim UFC lightweight champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 in May. In an edition of Beyond the Fight, Sonnen addressed the rumored Makhachev-Oliveira matchup and stated:
“That [Makhachev versus Oliveira] is a very interesting match, which was not a very interesting match prior to Oliveira versus [Justin] Gaethje. Now, I’m personalizing. That’s for me. But I was not overly interested in Islam versus Oliveira.”
“I felt like I knew the way that one would go. I felt like I could tell you pretty safely that’s going to be as much as a three-and-a-half and no closer to a three-to-one favorite for Islam. The match isn’t going to be overly exciting. It’s going to be pretty dumb.”
‘The Bad Guy’ opined that before the Oliveira-Gaethje fight, he believed the Makhachev-Oliveira matchup would feature a one-sided domination by Makhachev. Sonnen noted that this is why his anticipation for a possible Makhachev-Oliveira fight was low.
Nevertheless, Sonnen suggested that given how impressive Oliveira’s performance was against Gaethje, he now believes that the Brazilian MMA stalwart will be a much tougher fight for Makhachev than initially expected. This, in turn, has spiked his interest in watching Makhachev and ‘Do Bronx’ face off for the vacant lightweight belt later this year.
Watch Chael Sonnen highlight his intrigue in the Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira matchup in the video below:
Michael Bisping foresees Islam Makhachev as the toughest stylistic matchup for Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira was stripped of his UFC lightweight title after missing weight ahead of his fight against Justin Gaethje in May. Regardless, after Oliveira’s win over Gaethje, UFC president Dana White confirmed that ‘Do Bronx’ will fight for the vacant title next.
While it’s believed that Oliveira will face Islam Makhachev in the title matchup, the UFC hasn’t officially announced the fight yet. Taking to his YouTube channel, Michael Bisping recently discussed the fight and hailed Makhachev as the toughest stylistic matchup for Oliveira. Bisping said:
“Dustin Poirier, beat. Justin Gaethje, beat. Here’s the real one. Here’s the problem for Oliveira – Islam Makhachev. He hasn’t fought Islam Makhachev. So, I think that would be stylistically the toughest fight out of all of them.”
Watch Bisping discuss Makhachev vs. Oliveira in the video below: