Next weekend, Makhachev faces Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title in the main event of UFC 280, in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year. The bout is a long time coming for Makhachev, who many tabbed as the next lightweight champion when Nurmagomedov retired in 2020. And when Makhachev steps into the cage next weekend, Nurmagomedov expects him to dominate.
“I think Islam is more skilled than Oliveira,” Nurmagomedov said in an interview with UFC Russia (h/t MMA Junkie). “Secondly, his experience as an amateur fighter. Also, he’s at his peak. Islam is at his peak. Islam isn’t 23, 26 or 27. He’s 30. A week after the fight, he’ll be 31. It’s the best time for any athlete. It’s a time when your mental and physical state should be in synergy. Sometimes your mental state is high, but your physical state is going down.
“Or when you’re 27 and at your physical peak, but mentally you’re not there yet, because you’re just 27, not 31. And Islam is at his peak. I think Islam is better overall. Of course, there are some potential dangers that we’re working on where Islam needs to be careful. Other than that, Islam should roll over him.”
Nurmagomedov is not the only one who thinks Makhachev will get his hand raised at UFC 280, with sports books installing Makhachev as a -180 favorite, implying a 64.3 percent win probability. But even though Khabib believes Makhachev should have little trouble with Oliveira, that doesn’t mean they are looking past the former champion. When asked what comes next for Makhachev once he’s won the title, Khabib was quick to rebuff the idea of overlooking “Do Bronx.”
“Islam will be fighting the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter for the UFC title,” Nurmagomedov said. “That’s his life goal. Only a dumb person can think about what’s next. Islam has a target, a date, an opponent, a location... there’s no reason to get distracted.”
UFC 280 takes place Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Mike Beltran made it home.
After being in 2 different hospitals for approximately 2 weeks for diverticulitis, I’m finally home at CASA BELTRÁN. God bless my Mom who of course had to come over and cook for her mijo. Nothing like the unconditional love ❤️ of a Mother. SI SE PUEDE CON MADRES MEXICANAS. pic.twitter.com/QzFCBLSGAe— Mike Beltran (@RefMikeBeltran) October 11, 2022
These kids are the real fighters ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/YbhCS539GZ— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) October 13, 2022
Chael and Tito.
Tito— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) October 12, 2022
When you text from your Pay-As-You-Go 7–11 cel phone your message loses a bit of potency
We're brothers were happy and we're singing and we're colored...give me a high five pic.twitter.com/WO8xDLr7jn— Terrance ‘T Wrecks’ McKinney (@twrecks155) October 12, 2022
I’m with Khabib. I think Islam rolls over Charles. But I’ve also thought that about Charles last two fights, and I was extremely not correct. Eight days to go.
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