Arman Tsarukyan has revealed who he believes will win the lightweight championship showdown between titleholder Charles Oliveira and No.1 contender Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7.
During an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda MMA, Tsarukyan suggested that Oliveira's combination of striking and grappling will give him the upper hand against Gaethje.
The rising 155-pound contender added that he underestimated 'Do Bronx' in the Dustin Poirier bout last December, a mistake he says he won't make twice.
"I don't know why but I think Charles Oliveira will win. And because last fight he showed he's strong, you know? He has improved his striking, grappling and freestyle wrestling. He smashed, very easy, Dustin Poirier. I thought Poirier can win him. But he could not."
Catch Tsarukyan in conversation with Sportskeeda MMA's James Lynch below:
Oliveira claimed the lightweight belt with a TKO victory over Michael Chandler at UFC 262 last May. He made his first successful defense by submitting Poirier using a rear-naked choke at UFC 269.
Gaethje, on the other hand, returned to the octagon after more than a year away at UFC 268 last November. He beat Chandler inside Madison Square Garden via unanimous decision.
Arman Tsarukyan is set to take on Joel Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 202 later this month
Meanwhile, another lightweight contender, Arman Tsarukyan, is scheduled to square off against the unranked Joel Alvarez at UFC Fight Night: Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev on February 26.
A win for either fighter would put them in a position to possibly face a top-10 fighter next. Dariush and Makhachev will be squaring off in the main event for what most expect to be a title eliminator at 155 pounds.
Tsarukyan has also signed a new four-bout contract with the UFC and has won his last four outings since losing to Makhachev at UFC Fight Night: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Oleynik in April 2019.
His upcoming opponent Alvarez has also won four straight since suffering a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Damir Ismagulov at UFC Fight Night: Jan Blachowicz vs. Thiago Santos two years ago.