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Having fought both Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush, Thiago Moises names Charles Oliveira’s toughest challenge

UFC Fight Night: Makhachev v Moises Weigh-in
Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Who could be a tougher challenge for uncrowned UFC lightweight king Charles Oliveira between top-ranked 155-pounders Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush?

UFC Vegas 57’s Thiago Moises has shared the cage with both, and he has some thoughts.

Set to return to the octagon Saturday against Christos Giagos in Las Vegas, Moises explained to MMA Fighting why he believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege is a “more complicated” matchup for Oliveira in the future.

“Dariush uses his jiu-jitsu more and that would be good for Charles, who has enough jiu-jitsu to grapple with him,” Moises said. “Makhachev has better wrestling, but he does more of an anti-game on the ground. If he can get [Oliveira] to the ground, he won’t grapple with Charles, I think he’ll just hold him there until time runs out. He’s a very smart fighter, so I believe it would be more difficult.”

Moises lost a decision to Dariush in his octagon debut back in 2018. He was on a three-fight win streak over Michael Johnson, Bobby Green, and Alexander Hernandez when he was booked against Makhachev for a five-round main event in 2021. Moises lost that bout via fourth-round submission.

“I think that a fight [between Makhachev] and Oliveira is 50-50,” he said. “Charles has great chances of submitting him or maybe even knocking him out, because Charles is doing great on the feet, but I also see Islam taking this fight to a decision and doing his thing of getting to a position and holding there and not giving him any opening. He doesn’t do anything, but doesn’t let you do anything either.”

“I think Islam is very tough,” he continued, “but he’s no superhuman. He has flaws, he gets tired as well, and I don’t think he’s like Khabib.”

Moises is aiming to get back on track after losing to Makhachev and Joel Alvarez in his most recent bouts in 2021. He called Giagos “a very experienced and well-rounded opponent,” but made it clear that his goal is to dominate the fight.

“I’ve seen his fights and his rhythm drops a lot from the second to third rounds,” Moises said, “So my goal is to knock him out or submit him in the end of the fight.”

This time, Moises said, he will stick to his game plan and not make similar mistakes to the ones he made against Alvarez, when he lost via first-round TKO.

“I’m using [my past losses] in a positive way, to get there hungrier to win this fight,” he said. “I could have grappled more against Joel Alvarez because he’s very tall. It was hard to trade with him.

“I wasn’t feeling comfortable to trade on the feet, but wasn’t seeing many dangers either. But then I got punched in the eye and lost my eyesight, and that’s when the fight changed its course. If I had followed my strategy and taken him down early, the result would have been different.”

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