Charles Oliveira picks UFC champ Islam Makhachev to beat Dustin Poirier, Arman Tsarukyan

Charles Oliveira expects Islam Makhachev to remain UFC lightweight champion against Dustin Poirier — and, potentially, Arman Tsarukyan.

Makhachev is slated to face Poirier in the main event of UFC 302 on Saturday, and Oliveira doesn’t favor “The Diamond” in a five-round clash. Poirier has only lost four times since moving up to lightweight in 2015, three of those being championship bouts against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje (for the BMF title), and Oliveira.

“Every striker that faces Islam is going to be the same thing, [Makhachev] will take you down and have bigger chances at winning,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “But we’re talking about MMA, and one hand, one strike that lands can definitely get you the victory.

“Dustin Poirier has shown that in his last fight, he’s shown that many times already. He has heavy hands and hits hard, so he definitely can knock him out, but I think Islam remains as champion.”

Oliveira, who holds a submission win over Poirier back when he was the 155-pound champion and is coming off of a close split decision loss to Tsarukyan at UFC 300, doesn’t see Tsarukyan as a big threat to Makhachev “because Islam is evolving on the feet and is dangerous on the ground with submissions.”

“Arman is a guy that takes you down and holds you there the entire time,” Oliveira said. “No way. It’s not a fight he can win.”

“Of course, I’ve just said this and I can’t backtrack, we’re talking about MMA and it’s very unpredictable,” he continued. “A guy closes his eyes and throws a hand that lands, you’re knocked out. He throws a kick that lands, you shoot for a takedown and end up in a submission. MMA is unpredictable, but I think Islam is way more experienced, has more focus, more hunger, and is much stronger than Arman.”

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