Michael Chandler is surprised that Charles Oliveira is the betting underdog against Islam Makhachev.
Oliveira and Makhachev are set to headline UFC 280 for the vacant lightweight title in one of the most anticipated lightweight title fights in quite some time. The Brazilian is coming off a submission win over Justin Gaethje but missed weight and was stripped of his belt. Prior to that, he submitted Dustin Poirier and knocked out Michael Chandler to establish himself as 155’s new kingpin. Makhachev, meanwhile, hasn’t fought a top-10 opponent yet which is why Chandler is surprised that the Russian is listed as the betting favorite.
“Charles has the upper hand, in my opinion,” Chandler told MMA Junkie. “I think it’s crazy that he’s an underdog, but I do think Islam has the tools to be able to win. So we’ll see what happens on Oct. 22. I’ll be watching that very intensely, and I hope to face the winner. You definitely can’t say that Islam is unproven, but you definitely can say – I think there’s a certain mystique, there’s this certain correlation that we want to make between Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and Islam, and then you have (coach) Javier Mendez coming out and saying that Islam is better than Khabib. You’ve got Khabib saying that Islam is better than Khabib. You’ve got this big hype machine coming up.”
As Michael Chandler says, he will be paying close attention to the Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev title fight. With ‘Iron’ set to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 281, he hopes that a convincing win will get him another title shot and claims he doesn’t have a preference for who he would fight.
“For me, who would I rather face? I think it’s 50-50,” Chandler said. “I think if it’s Charles, I would love to be able to get the rematch. I think I was so close to winning the title against Charles. I think that we have tape on each other. We have highlight reels of each other fighting each other. Both of us had our highs and lows in that fight. And I also would love to, if Islam does beat Charles, I would love to be the guy that stops the hype train of Islam if he does win.”
Who do you think will win at UFC 280, Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev?