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City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman sees Charles Oliveira as a bigger threat to UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski than Islam Makhachev
With Volkanovski (24-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) expressing interest in a move back up to 155 pounds, Bareman has broken down what a potential matchup with both former champion Oliveira and Makhachev would look like for his fighter. Bareman explains that while Makhachev (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) is a specialist, Oliveira’s (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC) overall skillet makes him more dangerous.
“Definitely Oliveira’s the more difficult matchup in my opinion,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “Again, it just depends. Oliveira has a more well-rounded skillset, so there’s more to deal with. I mean, Islam’s got good stand-up, but that just depends on who you are looking in, I guess. But yeah, I just think Oliveira would be a more well-rounded skill set for Volk to deal with.
“Whereas Islam, perhaps we could narrow a couple of things down and concentrate on those few things. Which is easier said than done, because just like in much the fashion of Khabib, Islam excels. He may only do one or two aspects of the sport really, really well, but he does them at the highest level. So, that’s the difficulty.”
Volkanovski, who’s competed as high as welterweight in his professional MMA career, teased a move to lightweight after his dominant win over Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273. Should he decide to make that jump down the line, Bareman thinks Volkanovski would be more than capable of competing at the weight class above.
“Every single person, doesn’t matter who you are, what experience you have, he grabs you, and you feel something different,” Bareman said. “It’s a different feeling from anything that I’ve ever felt from someone of that stature, and I think the lightweight guys still feel that. Look, I got middleweights and light heavyweights that feel it.
“They’re like, ‘F*cking hell.’ They’re really surprised when Alex grabs them, and you’re talking about guys like two or three divisions up from him. Lightweight’s only one division above him. So, I think you’d see the same Alex, just that strength and that raw (physicality) that he brings.”
Volkanovski returns to action for a trilogy title fight against Max Holloway on July 2 at UFC 276. Volkanovski will look to make it three consecutive wins over Holloway in their series.
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