Oliveira Picks Makhachev Over Poirier and Tsarukyan

“Oliveira Confident in Makhachev’s Title Defense”

Charles Oliveira has expressed his confidence in Islam Makhachev’s ability to defend his UFC lightweight title against both Dustin Poirier and Arman Tsarukyan.

Makhachev’s Upcoming Challenge Against Poirier

Makhachev is set to face Poirier in the main event of UFC 302 on Saturday. Oliveira, who has fought both men, does not favor “The Diamond” in a five-round bout. Poirier has only lost four times since moving up to lightweight in 2015, with three of those losses coming in championship bouts against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje (for the BMF title), and Oliveira himself.

“Every striker that faces Islam is going to experience the same thing: Makhachev will take you down and have bigger chances of winning,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “But we’re talking about MMA, and one hand, one strike that lands can definitely get you the victory.

“Dustin Poirier has shown that in his last fight, he’s shown that many times already. He has heavy hands and hits hard, so he definitely can knock him out, but I think Islam remains as champion.”

Evaluating Tsarukyan’s Chances

Oliveira, who holds a submission win over Poirier and is coming off a close split decision loss to Tsarukyan at UFC 300, doesn’t see Tsarukyan as a significant threat to Makhachev. “Islam is evolving on the feet and is dangerous on the ground with submissions,” Oliveira explained.

“Arman is a guy that takes you down and holds you there the entire time,” Oliveira said. “No way. It’s not a fight he can win.”

“Of course, I’ve just said this and I can’t backtrack, we’re talking about MMA and it’s very unpredictable,” he continued. “A guy closes his eyes and throws a hand that lands, you’re knocked out. He throws a kick that lands, you shoot for a takedown and end up in a submission. MMA is unpredictable, but I think Islam is way more experienced, has more focus, more hunger, and is much stronger than Arman.”


Makhachev’s Training and Experience

Makhachev’s ability to adapt and improve both in striking and ground game is a crucial factor in his success. His training in Dagestan and close collaboration with Khabib Nurmagomedov have provided him with a solid foundation in both wrestling and submissions.

Poirier, known for his powerful striking and endurance, has had impressive victories over big names like Conor McGregor and Max Holloway, showcasing his capacity to perform at the highest level.

After the fight against Poirier, Makhachev’s next significant challenge could be Arman Tsarukyan, a young and hungry fighter rapidly climbing the ranks. However, according to Oliveira, Tsarukyan has a long way to go to match Makhachev’s experience and skill.

Oliveira concludes that although MMA is unpredictable, all signs point to Islam Makhachev retaining his title against both Poirier and Tsarukyan.

UFC 302 Fight Card (adapted to US times)

Main Card

Islam Makhachev vs. Dustin Poirier – 10:00 PM ET (for the UFC lightweight title)

Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa – 09:00 PM ET (middleweight)

Kevin Holland vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk – 08:00 PM ET (middleweight)

Jailton Almeida vs. Alexandr Romanov – 07:00 PM ET (heavyweight)

Randy Brown vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos – 06:00 PM ET (welterweight)

Preliminary Card

Cesar Almeida vs. Roman Kopylov – 05:00 PM ET (middleweight)

Grant Dawson vs. Joe Solecki – 04:00 PM ET (lightweight)

Phil Rowe vs. Jake Matthews – 03:00 PM ET (welterweight)

Niko Price vs. Alex Morono – 02:00 PM ET (welterweight)

Tatsuro Taira vs. Joshua Van – 01:00 PM ET (flyweight)

Early Preliminaries

Mickey Gall vs. Bassil Hafez – 12:30 PM ET (welterweight)

Ailin Perez vs. Joselyne Edwards – 12:00 PM ET (bantamweight)

Nyamjargal Tumendemberel vs. Andre Lima – 11:30 AM ET (flyweight)

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Arman TsarukyanCharles OliveiraDustin PoirierIslam MakhachevLatest newsMMAUFC 302