Oliveira (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC) meets Makhachev (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) for the vacant lightweight title in the UFC 280 headliner Oct. 22 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
In a matchup between two elite grapplers, former UFC dual-champion St-Pierre says Oliveira must not allow Makhachev to pressure him and impose his will with his wrestling. Although Oliveira has the most submission finishes in UFC history, St-Pierre likes his chances more in open space.
“If the fight stays generally in the center of the octagon, that will give the advantage to Oliveira,” St-Pierre said in an interview with The Schmo. “However, if the fight goes mostly toward the fence, near the fence, that will give the advantage to Makhachev.
“The reason for that is, I believe Makhachev can neutralize his opponent’s best ability by using the fence. Oliveira, I believe on the other side, he needs a little bit more space, especially to move his hips to be able to strike and to do some of his favorite submissions. The fight will go down depending on who will be able to implement his game plan.”
Although Oliveira is a former lightweight champion with finishes over Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, he currently a +130 underdog at Tipico Sportsbook, with Makhachev favored at -165.