The uncrowned champion will get the opportunity to reclaim the title he lost on the scales in his last outing against Justin Gaethje in May at UFC 274. He will face Makhachev in the main event of UFC 280 this Saturday at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Oliveira goes into the bout on an impressive 11-fight win streak looking to snap Makhachev’s ten-fight winning run.
Tensions were heating up during the build-up, with Makhachev’s camp taking shots at ‘do Bronx.’ Former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev’s friend and teammate, stated that Oliveira would not show up for the match.
At the pre-fight press conference, Oliveira was asked about facing another opponent in their backyard. The 33-year-old Brazilian’s response drew a big reaction out of Makhachev, who claimed to have requested company president Dana White to book their fight for UFC 283, the promotion’s return to the nation.
“I’m home. I like to be in places like this. I always invite them to come to my house but they never come to my house. So, I knock on people’s doors and go to theirs,” Oliveira said.
“When they announced the fight in Brazil, I asked Dana. I told him, ‘please, my team is ready. Let’s go. I want to make this in Brazil.’ We ask about Brazil many times. If you don’t know this, ask Dana,” responded Makhachev. “This guy always wants the money fight but doesn’t speak English. Nobody understands you.”
Oliveira disputed Makhachev’s claims, suggesting he never wanted to back up his word.
“Why didn’t this fight happen? It was not meant to happen in Brazil. You guys are just bulls***ting all the time,” said Oliveira. “Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m here. Stay calm.”
Makhachev Claimed Oliveira Was Ducking Him
Before Oliveira got paired up with Makhachev, he was rallying to welcome back former two-division champion Conor McGregor to competition in what would be a big money fight. Makhachev took issue with the ommission of his name and implied his adversary did not want to face him.
“You tried to avoid this fight for how many months? You don’t say my name. I never heard you say my name. Conor, Nate Diaz, or someone but never said Islam,” Makhachev said.
‘do Bronx’ fired right back at Makhachev for alleging he was ducking him.
“I didn’t have any reason to say your name. The name of the champion is Charles Oliveira,” said ‘do Bronx.’ “In no moment did you ever want this fight to be in Brazil. You never mentioned Brazil. Don’t worry, daddy’s here.”
“It’s going to be a pleasure to fight you,” he added. “You’re a great champion. We’re making history. Don’t worry, let’s make it happen.”
Makhachev Believes He’s the Better Grappler
When asked if he was worried about the ground game of Oliveira, the most lethal finisher in the history of UFC, Makhachev responded to the contrary.
“Honestly, my style is bad for him because he always pressures his opponents as nobody tried to take him down. All these guys, his last few opponents, are scared of his ground game but I don’t care about his ground game. He tried to do something but when someone with good defense, like his fight with Paul Felder. When he tried to choke him, Felder defended a couple of times and this guy gave up. That’s why I don’t care about his grappling. ”