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Islam Makhachev Early Favorite Over Charles Oliveira in UFC 280 Title Fight

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Nearly a month out from the UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, Russia’s Islam Makhachev is the favorite to beat Charles Oliveira in the event’s headline bout. With both fighters coming into the clash riding significant winning streaks, and the UFC lightweight championship on the line, this matchup is a mouth-watering prospect. 

Oliveira vs. Makhachev: The Tale of the Tape So Far

Slated for October 22, the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi will play host to UFC 280, where Oliveira and Makhachev will clash in the main event. 

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Heading into this fight, the vacant UFC lightweight belt is up for grabs. After failing to make weight ahead of his most recent fight against Justin Gathje in May 2022, Oliveira was forced to vacate the belt he won in 2021.

With a record of 33-8-0, Oliveira heads into this clash on an 11 UFC fight winning streak. The Brazilian made his debut at this level in 2015 and went 3-3-0 over his first six fights, before claiming the next 11 consecutively. At 32 years old, Oliveira is in his prime as a submission specialist, coming from a strong jiu-jitsu background.

Makhachev, on the other hand, heads into this fight holding a 22-1-0 record, also on a winning streak. Since losing his second UFC fight, Makhachev has been unbeaten, putting together ten wins in a row. His strong wrestling approach is a contrasting style to Oliveira’s and could cause problems for the Brazilian. 

Excellent Opportunity to Bet on Oliveira as the Underdog

Surprisingly, Makhachev is the early favorite in this matchup.

The Russian is a -180 favorite, compared to Oliveira’s odds of +140. These odds indicate that bookmakers see Makhachev’s wrestling-heavy style as an effective antidote to the submission game of Oliveira, which has seen the Brazilian string together 11 wins in a row. However, this is the biggest test of Makhachev’s career, with the 30-year-old only having fought two Top 15 opponents to date.

Meanwhile, Oliveira has successfully navigated wins over the No.2 and No.3 lightweights in the world, defeating Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier in the last year.

Such odds present an excellent betting opportunity ahead of UFC 280. For those new to UFC betting, bookmaker Betphilly has great tips to get you started betting. As an example, an attractive betting option here is to bet against the favorite Makhachev and chase a higher return in the event that Oliveria comes away with a win.

What Other Lightweights Are Saying Ahead of UFC 280

Looking at what other lightweight fighters in the UFC are saying about this match-up, it seems opinions are divided.

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Rafael Fiziev, the UFC’s No.7 lightweight, has stated that he believes this match is 60-40 in favor of Makhachev, saying, “I think he has more ground game. He’s like, more stronger. I think it’s more his game, like Khabib’s style. He wrestles with Khabib every day, brother.”

However, Paddy Pimblett, the latest rising star in UFC highlight reels, has come out saying he suspects Oliveira will win, declaring, “I think Charles is gonna have too much for him… He’s [been] through a much higher caliber of opponents… And I just think he’s got too many tools in his arsenal for Islam to deal with.”

Only time will tell whether Fiziev or Pimblett has the last laugh on this one, with the bout due to take place on 22 October at UFC 280.

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