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Justin Gaethje: Islam Makhachev ‘will not dominate’ Charles Oliveira at UFC 280

Justin Gaethje doesn’t have an official pick for the UFC 280 main event between Charles Oliveria and Islam Makhachev, but he doesn’t believe Makhachev is going to run over Oliveira in any way.

Gaethje was in attendance for Saturday’s UFC 278 event in Salt Lake City and was asked to give his thoughts on the fight between Makhachev, and his most recent opponent.

“I’m 100 percent confident that Islam will not dominate Charles, and that’s about it,” Gaethje told reporters backstage at UFC 278.

“I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just the way that I feel. The last time [I fought], I stepped in there with [Oliveira], there’s no way. It’s going to be a great fight. I wish I was there, I wish it wasn’t in Abu Dhabi so I can be there, but we’re all in for a treat.”

“The Highlight” just underwent successful nose surgery following his UFC 274 first-round stoppage loss to Oliveira in May in his second opportunity to become the undisputed lightweight champion. Gaethje’s timeline for a return is still up in the air, but he’ll be paying attention to the rest of the division.

While he might not be in attendance for UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, he expects Oliveira to be in tremendous condition from start to finish.

“I think Charles is going to move forward, Islam is going to try, and eventually, he might be successful,” Gaethje said. “If he is, he’ll win, but I don’t see him tiring him out. Even if he takes him down for the first two rounds, I don’t see Charles getting submitted, and I don’t see him being too exhausted to continue the fight that he needs to fight.

“It’s just what I think. Chance, luck, [but I have] no idea.”

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