October 22nd can’t come fast enough for MMA fans, as a fight between the best lightweights in the world has finally been set in stone. Former champion (technically) Charles Oliveira (33-8) will attempt to reclaim his belt against a man many consider to be his biggest threat in Islam Makhachev (22-1).
If not for missing weight, this would be Charles’s 3rd title defence which would have tied him with Khabib’s reign as champ. The Brazilian fighter is currently on an 11-fight win streak and has looked unstoppable even when facing adversity in his title fights.
As for Islam, he extended his win streak to 10 last February when he defeated Bobby Green by TKO. The #4 ranked lightweight has long been in the shadow of Khabib, but with this opportunity, he finally has the opportunity to change the narrative.
Both fighters are finishing machines. For Charles, he is known as the most dominant BJJ fighter of his era, as he currently holds the UFC record for most submissions with 16 and has 21 overall. His striking is no longer something to scoff at, as he has developed a set of hands that have helped him fend off and even hurt some of the game’s most prolific strikers.
In his career, Charles has 9 career KO/TKO victories. But it is his toughness that has surprised everyone as he was once considered a fighter that would give in the second things got rough, he has weathered many storms and is a better fighter for it.
While Islam is one of the most dominant wrestlers and Sambo fighters in the game, he is no stranger to finishes and has scored 10 career submissions along with 4 KO/TKO stoppages. While these stats might not pop out like Charles, it doesn’t change the fact that Islam is more than capable of producing a highlight reel KO (just watch his win over Gleison Tibau).
But much like Khabib, striking and BJJ is just part of the game for Islam, his style and game plan often frustrate fans and opponents alike, but one look at his record and you see why he fights as he does. Islam is a mauler of the scariest kind and if he TKO’s or submits you, consider it a gift.
Often in MMA the phrase “striker vs grappler” gets used quite a bit, even striker vs striker gets a lot of attention from fans due to the potential of a KO. But this fight is intriguing beyond belief. We have one of the most successful and crafty submission artists of all time taking on a man that specializes in rag dolling you to the ground and keeping you there.
My guess is this fight comes down to who has the best endurance as well as having the edge in striking, I don’t feel as if this will go the full 5 nor will it be a full-blown grappling match, Charles will have his moments as will Islam, but I think someone will get caught by a strike mid-way through the 3rd.