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MIAMI – Gilbert Burns, who knows a thing or two about jiu-jitsu, likes what he’s seeing from Charles Oliveira.
The UFC welterweight contender, and former lightweight, is taken away by what he’s seeing from Oliveira at the championship level at 155 pounds.
Oliveira, who was stripped from his title by missing weight by half a pound for his title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 earlier this month, is on an impressive 11-fight winning streak. That run includes wins over top-tier talent such as Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Kevin Lee, and many others.
Like many, Burns is impressed by what he’s seeing from the fellow Brazilian.
“It’s so good, so technical, so beautiful,” Burns told MMA Junkie. “You see the techniques, whenever you see the techniques, you stop and look and the details are so sharp, the momentum.
“The guillotine, he almost got a guillotine and then whenever he knocked Justin down he went to a scramble and then a reversed triangle – almost got it. Whenever he saw he was losing the position, he was already on the back. And I know Justin Gaethje put in a lot of work. He brought in Jorge Santiago, who’s one of Kamaru (Usman)’s trainers. He’s very high level. I trained with Jorge a couple of times. I know Jorge put a tremendous time working with Justin and the guy put him out in one minute.
“He did the same thing with Dustin Poirier; almost broke Tony Ferguson’s arm, no one does Tony like that. Tony lost a couple of times, but not on the grappling. The guy is super technical, a lot of submissions – guillotines, leg locks, armbars. Whenever he takes your back, he’s so long, that that body triangle. He’s on a different level.”
Over the last years, Oliveira has proven to be a handful for many lightweights. Due to the stripping of his belt and victory over Gaethje, “Do Brox” is now considered the No. 1 contender in the division and he’s expected to fight another lightweight contender for the vacant title at 155 pounds.
The name that’s stood out the most among fans and pundits has been Khabib Nurmagomedov’s pupil – Islam Makhachev. The Dagestani fighter is unbeaten in his last 10 fights. Makhachev is regarded by many as the heir of Nurmagomedov given their similar styles in their dominant grappling.
Burns very much respects Makhachev, but he still thinks Oliveira would have the upper hand in a potential matchup.
“Islam is a high-level grappler as well,” Burns said. “I heard from Luke Rockhold and a few other guys as well that he’s pretty good. I’m still going to put all my money on Oliveira. I think Oliveira got it.”
Not only does Burns think that Olivera can defeat Makhachev, but he also sees the Brazilian as having a good chance of submitting him.
“I think he can (submit him) because of the striking, because of the combination,” Burns explained. “The grappling and ground and pound from Islam is better than Oliveira’s, but Oliveira with the combined striking, the clinch, and the submission attempts, it’s different. I think that’s what makes him the best.
“Not just the jiu-jitsu. It’s the length (too). Those guys that are skinny and super bony, any kick, people have no idea, any kick that he throws hurts and Oliveira kicks a lot. You saw what Justin said after the fight? First thing he said after he stood up: ‘You hit hard as fck.’ And for Justin to say that, he was in the war with Michael Chandler and he said, ‘Bro, you hit so hard.’ So that guy hits hard, he’s bony with crazy grappling, with crazy clinch. I have Oliveira all day.”
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