Coach Alireza Noei Believes Charles Oliveira Will Not Be Taken Down at UFC 280

While Islam Makhachev is the most accurate takedown artist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division, not everyone believes he is guaranteed to take his next opponent down.

In August, Chute Boxe head coach Diego Lima revealed to Sherdog that ex-UFC champ Charles Oliveira had a secret weapon in his training camp. The Iranian wrestler known as Alireza Noei had joined the team some years before, with the singular goal of helping fighters in the camp train their wrestling. Noei specifically devoted a great deal of focus on Oliveira, especially ahead of the Brazilian’s October meeting with Makhachev, and Noei believes that Oliveira’s chops on top and bottom are exceptional.

“We have been working together for the last four years and I’m really impressed by how he has evolved,” Noei admitted to Sherdog. “Even for myself, who always competed in high level wrestling, [it] is hard to take him down. He is good both attacking and defending.”

Many critics noted that while Oliveira’s jiu-jitsu is off-the-charts, he could be susceptible to getting controlled on the mat should a submission not materialize. For example, specialized techniques honed at American Kickboxing Academy – the gym in which Makhachev trains – could be particularly effective against the grappling ace. When asked about maneuvers like knee control and the fabled “Dagestani handcuff,” Noei promised that they are drilling those types of exchanges and they will not work on Oliveira.

“We are working in all techniques, but I really don’t think Islam will take him down,” the wrestling coach, living in Brazil since 2015 with rapidly improving Portuguese, boasted. “In case he takes Charles down, it will not be so easy to stabilize [him] like other opponents he faced.”

Based on the skills that Oliveira presents, and the hard training that “Do Bronx” is undergoing with the wrestler, Noei had no doubt who would get their hand raised at UFC 280. He was not, however, ready to call for a specific kind of victory. Noei instead chose two distinct possibilities.

“Charles submitting [Makhachev] in the second round, or winning via decision,” Noei concluded with the utmost of confidence.

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