Can Charles Oliveira stop Islam Makhachev’s relentless wrestling at UFC 280? For Alireza Noei, the man behind Chute Boxe’s wrestling training since 2015, he won’t only excel defensively, but score takedowns on Makhachev, too.
“Charles has heavy hands so he has an advantage,” Noei said on this week’s Trocação Franca podcast. “[Makhachev] isn’t afraid to fight off his back because he has evolved a lot. I have a friend that trains at AKA and he said Islam has great jiu-jitsu. He will definitely try to use his wrestling to take Charles down and hold him, control and win rounds, but Charles has trained enough wrestling to break Islam’s game.”
Asked how Oliveira would “break” Makhachev inside the octagon, Noei explained “Charles won’t get taken down, and he will take Islam down.”
“When [Makhachev] goes down, his head will be messed up,” he said. “If the opportunity comes, Charles will take him down. Charles’ wrestling has evolved a lot. Watch his fight with Tony Ferguson, he took him down a lot. He will take Islam down.”
Noei, a professional MMA fighter himself with a record of 7-2 after coming up short in his attempt to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, gives Makhachev credit for his success in MMA — but expects Oliveira to “shock the world” on Saturday night.
“If Charles takes him down, 80 percent [chance] he catches him,” Noei said. “But I think Charles either knocks him out or taps him in the third round, or wins a decision after five rounds. … This fight will be a shock for everybody.”
Alexander Volkanovski could be next in line for the winner of Oliveira vs. Makhachev, moving up from lightweight after nearly cleaning out the featherweight division as champion. Noei doesn’t see him as a huge threat, though, after watching “do Bronx” finish Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Kevin Lee over the past few years.
“He’s the 145 champion and he’s great, heavy hands, but someone with good wrestling takes him down,” Noei said. “Chad Mendes took him down in their fight, [but] he fought well when he went down. Charles fighting him, the first heavy hand that lands – Charles drops him and catches him.
“Easy for Charles. Very easy for Charles. He has weak wrestling. If this fight gets booked, he wins in the first round.”