UFC 294: Alexander Volkanovski gives the edge to bitter rival Islam Makhachev against Charles Oliveira

Alexander Volkanovski has weighed in on the ground skills of Islam Makhachev preluding their title fight in the main event of UFC 294. The featherweight champion also offered a unique perspective on the grappling abilities of two high-level lightweight fighters in the UFC.

Charles Oliveira has the record of most finishes and most submissions in UFC history and Makhachev submitted the Brazilian in their first encounter at UFC 280.

Volk pick Islam over Charles Oliveira

The stage is set for a UFC 294 headliner by Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev on October 21 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Their previous encounter at UFC 280 saw Makhachev drop Oliveira with a right hook and follow him to the ground, ultimately making the all-time submission leader tap multiple times.

Alexander Volkanovski on his YouTube channel said that Makhachev surpasses Oliveira as an MMA grappler. Moreover, he asserted that Makhachev would even beat him in a jiu-jitsu match. Volk faced Makhachev in a lightweight title fight at UFC 284 and the Russian’s grappling prowess was evident in the bout as the Aussie fighter suffered a unanimous decision loss.

Alexander Volkanovski
Image via Eurosport

The Great is confident in Makhachev’s superiority in pure grappling, controlling, and dictating the pace of a fight. Volk also gave props to Oliveira’s clean and crisp submission techniques in jiu-jitsu. However, the featherweight champion believes that Makhachev’s overall grappling skills outshine those of Do Bronx.

Volkanovski emphasized the importance for the Brazilian to create openings by potentially pressuring Makhachev, highlighting the significance of engaging in stand-up exchanges where Oliveira is presumed to be superior. However, the Australian also believes that the Russian lightweight champion has an underrated striking game.

Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveira head-to-head

The UFC has set the stage for a much-awaited rematch scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi on October 2 which features a showdown between the UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, and former lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira.

Islam Makhachev
Image via Marca

The highly anticipated clash follows their last meeting at UFC 280 in the previous October, where Makhachev claimed the vacant lightweight title. Since that encounter, both fighters had great wins. Makhachev defended his title against featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 whereas Oliveira finished top-ranked Beneil Dariush at UFC 289 in Vancouver.

Makhachev has a solid striking game combined with exceptional wrestling skills. He has a high success rate in significant strike attempts and takedowns. In their previous encounter, Makhachev effectively controlled both stand-up exchanges and the ground game. Oliveira found success when pressing forward on the feet, forcing Makhachev to retreat. Oliveira’s strategy is likely to involve establishing range and applying constant pressure.

Rematches in MMA often favor the victor. For instance, Leon Edwards‘ late-round knockout victory over Kamaru Usman was followed by a unanimous decision victory in the rematch. Moreover, Grasso retained the title in the Shevchenko rematch at Noche UFC.

Do you think Charles Oliveira reclaims the lightweight title from Islam Makhachev? Will Alexander Volkanovski win the rematch over Islam Makhachev? comment below!


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