The vacant lightweight title will finally get an owner when Charles Oliveira (33-8) takes on Islam Makhachev (22-1) at UFC 280. The thrilling five-round main event is scheduled to take place October 22 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
This is a fight that UFC fans have wanted for a while. Oliveira, the top-ranked lightweight, missed weight before his last fight and forfeited the belt. He’ll now look to reclaim his strap against the terrifying Dagestani wrestler Makhachev, the division’s fourth-ranked fighter.
Sportsbook has expectedly tight Oliveira vs Makhachev odds. The Brazilian comes in as a +160 underdog, with the challenger Makhachev as the -200 favorite.
Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev Betting Odds
Odds as of October 22 at Sportsbook
Using our odds calculator, Islam’s -200 status implies a win probability of 66.67 percent. A $10 bet on Makhachev pays out $15. Oliveira’s +160 odds give him an implied win probability of 38.46 percent. A $10 bet on the underdog pays out $26.
If you’re unsure about betting specifics, check out our How to Bet on UFC guide to get in on all the action. Also, feel free to visit our many UFC betting sites, as well as our main UFC betting news page for all the latest news from inside the Octagon. UFC 280 is one of the best cards of the year, so don’t miss our previews and picks on all the good fights, including Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley and Aljamain Sterling vs TJ Dillashaw.
Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev Betting Analysis
Oliveira, despite the scale mishap at UFC 274, still carries the aura of a champion. “Do Bronx” has faced a wicked gauntlet of opponents over his 11-fight win streak and come out on top. The 32-year-old hasn’t had much respect from oddsmakers during this stretch either, as he was pegged a narrow favorite vs Justin Gaethje (-170) and Michael Chandler (-130), while fighting as the underdog vs Dustin Poirier (+135) and Tony Ferguson (+140).
Makhachev, on the other hand, is on a 10-fight win streak of his own, having won his last four fights by brutal stoppage (3 SUB, 1 KO/TKO). During that finish streak, the tightest odds he saw were -400 (vs Drew Dober). Sportsbooks love him, and for good reason. Islam has been hailed as the second coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov. We’ll see how he does in his first title shot.
Oliveira vs Makhachev Preview: How Do You Beat Islam?
Makhachev has one UFC loss, all the way back in 2015 vs an opponent named Adriano Martins. That fight ended terribly for Islam, who exchanged some mild strikes with the Brazilian before Martins exploded with a counter left hand that knocked Makhachev out.
That was years ago, and Islam has only improved since then, but Oliveira’s aggressive style tends to induce some wild striking duels. This is where we see a staunch advantage for Charles. Since Oliveira is an excellent grappler and unafraid of being taken down, he’ll throw with authority. If Makhachev wants to bang in the middle of the cage, he’s still dangerous, but that’s a bad idea (Oliveira has a four-inch reach advantage).
Islam will likely shoot for a takedown off the bat, but the longer the fight stays on the feet, the better Oliveira’s chances are. He’ll push forward using overhand punches, his underrated left hook, as well as knees and elbows.
A High-Class Grappling Match
Very rarely do fight fans get world-class grappling matchups, let alone in a title fight with massive stakes. Oliveira and Makhachev are two of the best ground artists at 155 pounds. Do Bronx has the most submission wins in UFC history (16), while Islam has five sub victories of his own.
This fight will likely come down to two factors: how well Oliveira fights off his back and how creatively the Brazilian uses his jiu-jitsu.
Islam, like his mentor Khabib, is a vicious top-mount fighter. He’s methodical, he’s heavy and he’ll have no problem smothering Oliveira as he works to pass guard and lock down a D’arce choke or a kimura. Oliveira has fought in the UFC for ages, but he does have three submission losses (two rear-naked chokes and a leg bar).
So how will Oliveira fight from the bottom? It’s highly unlikely he submits Makhachev, so he’ll have to pivot to defensive jiu-jitsu. Charles will need to keep his guard closed and stop Makhachev from stepping over him. There’s a route to victory if Oliveira tries to tire out Makhachev, who has never gone five rounds. Of course, Oliveira’s long limbs give him an advantage, and we expect him to throw up a submission attempt or two just for fun.
Oliveira vs Makhachev Betting Pick
This is a fantastic fight. It’s a hard one to pick but a gloriously entertaining match between two of the hottest fighters on the planet.
It’s very hard to bet against Charles, who seems to defy the odds with each passing fight, but Makhachev is a specimen. The Russian truly is Khabib 2.0 but with even better striking. We expect him to take the Brazilian to the ground, where the fight will be decided inside the distance.
Pick: Makhachev by submission (+200); OVER 2.5 Rounds (+115)
Who is favored in the Oliveira vs Makhachev fight?
Islam Makhachev is the -165 favorite in his lightweight title fight vs Charles Oliveira (+135).
When do Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev fight?
The lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira headlines UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi on October 22.