Eric Albarracin Offers Advice to Charles Oliveira Camp Ahead of UFC 280

Eric Albarracin has plenty to keep him occupied these days.

The wrestling coach of Deiveson Figueiredo, Henry Cejudo, Patricio and Patricky Freire is currently splitting time between Natal, Brazil, at the Pitbull Brothers camp and Fight Ready in Arizona. The currently priority is the helping the Freire brothers prepare for upcoming title defenses.

Albarracin is well aware of the Dagestan vs. Brazil rivalry that seem to be brewing in MMA these days, thanks in large part to the upcoming UFC lightweight title bout between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira. Meanwhile, the undefeated Usman Nurmagomedov recently took to Twitter to call for a showdown with Patricky Freire, who withdrew from a scheduled title defense against Sidney Outlaw last month due to injury. His next fight has not been announced by Bellator MMA.

“Khabib was 29-0, Makhachev is 22-1, Usman is 15-0, there is no doubt their game plans are working, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have holes to be exploited in their game,” Albarracin told Sherdog.com.

This is not the first time the wrestling coach has considered Dagestan to be an athletic rival.

“When I lived in the American Olympic training center, our goal was to beat Dagestan for the next 20 years,” he said. “We joined all the team trainers in a meeting, we studied many of their vídeos, all their techniques, and we brought some retired fighters that wanted to live in the USA. Our main trainer was Sergei Belaglazov, a two-time Russian Olympic champion and we got great results after that, too.”

Albarracin would not be opposed to Chute Boxe and the Pitbull Brothers “uniting forces” to help strengthen their cause against the Dagestani fighters.

“The most important thing is not to try to beat them in their game. We are better strikers and on the ground, we must open our minds to make a strategy to beat them, because until now we have to recognize nobody did,” he said.

Albarracin believes living in California is an advantage for Makhachev.

“At [American Kickboxing Academy], he is able to train with the best BJJ and ADCC champions, in addition to wrestlers and great strikers,” Albarracin said. “Unfortunately in Brazil we don’t have a wrestling world champion in the region. The big disadvantage Oliveira could have is to feel that style for the first time only in the Octagon. If Charles doesn't have sparring and trainers familiar with the Khabib and Makhachev style, they must to look for it."

Albarracin advised Oliveira’s coach, Diego Lima, to seek help from surrounding countries in preparation for the UFC 280 main event.

“Dagestan is very small, about the same size as Copacabana or Natal — everybody knows each other there,” Albarracin said. “He should look for some top guy in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan, which are also wrestling powers. That's what I did when Deiveson fought Moreno last time. I brought a guy who was nicknamed ‘Mini Khabib,’ but he didn’t even know who Khabib was. Charles will have to adapt himself to that style.”


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