Speaking to Canal Encarada, the Dominance MMA boss weighed in on the highly anticipated title matchup. Abdelaziz asserted that Makhachev will enter the championship fight in Abu Dhabi as a challenger and acknowledged 'do Bronx' as the champion despite being stripped of the title before his last outing:
"Charles Oliveira is the UFC lightweight champion. We are the contender, we just go there to try to challenge the champion to take something very very heavy from him."
Watch Ali Abdelaziz discuss Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev below:
Oliveira has been on a remarkable run lately. The Brazilian is on an impressive 11-fight win streak. However, he lost the title to the scales after missing weight ahead of his fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. While technically he is no longer the titleholder, many in the MMA community consider him the uncrowned lightweight champion.
UFC president Dana White also confirmed earlier this year that Oliveira will get pay-per-view points for his title bout against Makhachev at UFC 280.
Islam Makhachev is a betting favorite to beat Charles Oliveira at UFC 280
Islam Makhachev is brimming with confidence heading into his lightweight title bout against Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. The Dagestani fighter hopes to make light work of the Brazilian and predicted a third-round finish last month.
Despite Oliveira being the UFC record-holder for most finishes and submissions, the Brazilian is the betting underdog going into his upcoming championship bout. Makhachev seemingly has the same aura of invincibility that his teammate-turned-coach Khabib Nurmagomedov had before retirement, which has more than likely influenced the odds.
According to betonline_ag, the Russian opened a sizeable favorite to capture the title. Makhachev opened as a -255 favorite against the former champion, who opened as a +215 underdog.
While both Oliveira and Makhachev are the clear-cut best lightweights on the UFC roster, the point of difference between the duo is the level of opponents they've faced.
Makhachev is coming off wins over Dan Hooker and Bobby Green. Meanwhile, in his last three fights, Oliveira has finished former interim champions Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier, as well as former Bellator titleholder Michael Chandler.