Paulo Filho: Charles Oliveira Bad Stylistic Matchup for Makhachev, Nurmagomedov

Called the best middleweight in the world by Anderson Silva in 2006 and referred to by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as his toughest ground training partner during the Brazilian Top Team era, Paulo Filho has been retired from MMA since 2018.

However, he still continues to follow the sport, and he was an interested observer in the UFC 274 headlining bout between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, which “Do Bronx” won via first-round submission.

"The ground level Charles has reached in MMA is something really special,” Filho told Sherdog.com. “The way he moves and reaches submission positions against such high-level opponents is really beautiful to see. It looks like he is playing. I truly don’t see anyone in the division taking this title from him now.”

The only advice the Carlson Gracie black belt has for Oliveira is to take the amount of time of necessary to rest his body before stepping into his next bout, which will be for the now vacant lightweight crown.

"He is coming from four wars against top contenders like [Tony] Ferguson, [Michael] Chandler, [Dustin] Poirier and [Jutin] Gaethje,” Filho said. “If I were him I would recover from those wars full of concussions and [weight cuts] and return at 100% around November or December.”

Filho also agreed with Oliveira´s request for Islam Makhachev to have at least one more fight before being scheduled to face the Brazilian with the belt on the line.  

"Which Top 5 contender has Makhachev faced? I have to agree with Charles when he asked the UFC to give [Makhachev] at least one real challenge before fighting for the belt,” Filho said. “But If I were him I wouldn't wait more than seven months. He has the champion aura right now.”

According to the former WEC champion, Makhachev is a more difficult matchup for Oliveira than retired former lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov would have been.

"Anyone who grapples with Charles today will tap,” Filho said. “Only a really top striker who could control him standing up and avoid the ground would have a chance against Charles. He is much superior to Khabib in the stand-up game, and on the ground Khabib would end up tapping, as well as Makhachev.

“But Makhachev at least has better weapons to face Charles standing up. Don't get me wrong, I truly respect Khabib, who is in my opinion still the best lightweight of all-time for his numbers and invincibility. I also consider Makhachev as one of the best guys in the division. I just don’t see Charles as a good stylistic matchup for either.”