The UFC Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski has shared his thoughts on the upcoming title fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev at UFC 280 via his YouTube channel.
He explained the reasoning behind his pick in-depth:
“Charles is the underdog as the champion, and I can see why. . . A lot of people think that’s disrespectful. I don’t think it is. I think people are looking at Islam being able to control him.”
“Charles (is a) very good grappler, very good finisher. Striking, he’s gonna be a lot better, he’s gonna be a lot more dangerous on the feet.”
“Islam and Khabib, don’t make many mistakes. They don’t take unnecessary risks on the feet. Their goal is to get them to the ground. Get a clinch, get a hold of them, and they approach it as safely as they can. So that’s why I feel like he might not take too much damage when he goes and controls Charles.”
“This is where it gets interesting as well. Charles is gonna be dangerous because of the fact that I don’t think he’ll be scared if it goes to the ground. I think he will threaten him with submissions off the get-go. I think he’s gonna let his hands go which makes him dangerous on the feet too, but obviously vulnerable for the takedown.”
He ended by saying that no disrespect is meant to Charles, but stylistically, he sees Islam beating him. He also gave picks for 3 other main card fights.
Dariush vs. Gamrot Volkanovski’s pick: Mateusz Gamrot
While he believes Dariush will have the striking advantage, Gamrot’s physicality and strength in the clinch and grappling will be too much.
Yan vs. O’Malley Volkanovski’s pick: Petr Yan
Volkanovski and Yan have spent a great deal of time as training partners and Alex believes that Yan will be too good everywhere for Sean O’Malley to handle him, but the fact that the fight is 3 rounds favors the ‘Suga Show.’
Sterling vs. Dillashaw Volkanovski’s pick: TJ Dillashaw
The champ was surprised to hear that Dillashaw was an underdog in this fight. He believes his style matches up well against someone like Sterling and that he’ll be able to thwart most of his attacks during the fight.