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UFC 280 Staff Picks: Oliveira vs. Makhachev

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UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev is almost here which means it’s time for our official Overtime Heroics-UFC 280 Staff Picks! Our writers and editors have all picked their winners for the main card, and it’s round 10 of our yearlong competition to see who comes out on top!

UFC 280 Main Card

UFC 280 is scheduled for October 22nd, 2022, at Etihad Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Which of these fighters tops your UFC Pound for Pound list?

Volkanovski

Volkanovski

Nunes

Nunes

Adesanya

Adesanya

Usman

Usman

UCF 280 Co-Main Event- (C) Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw

Justin Gibbons: Personally, my pick is for Aljamain Sterling because he always seems to improve after each fight. With his story of growing up-you know the hunger is truly made for championship moments. Sterling overcame some harsh criticism on how he won the title, but it didn’t seem right that Petr Yan broke the rules and Sterling was the villain. T.J. Dillashaw will be a tough matchup for Sterling, but I feel he could be the one to grind out a hard-fought decision. Sterling via. Decision

Cooper Burke: Aljamain Sterling’s grappling is second to none in the division, having submitted the likes of Cory Sandhagen. If he can neutralize a ring-rusty Dillashaw’s heavy offensive wrestling and avoid getting clipped by a man widely regarded to have the most pop at 135-he has a good shot at retaining the title. Sterling via. Decision

Tom Kowalsky: Aljo has looked great since the neck surgery, gas tank is there, and he appears to be relaxed and pain free. T.J. has taken another long period of time off and won’t have the grappling advantage here. He may be able to win the striking exchanges but when Aljo forces the scramble, especially when T.J. switches stances or spins following a missed low kick, I expect the human backpack to hold. Sterling via. Decision

Austin Marr: Sterling just hasn’t won me over yet, his disastrous performance against Yan in the first fight still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that I just can’t seem to shake, even after his improved performance in the rematch. Dillashaw is taking this fight after a long lay-off (nearly 15 months) but it’s smart to keep in mind that he had a nearly three-year layoff from January 2019 to July 2021 due to suspension and still defeated elite talent-Cory Sandhagen. That is impressive. Dillashaw may be the better wrestler just not better overall grappler, but I don’t think it’s to the degree that he’s outmatched. Sterling’s striking is sloppy at times while Dillashaw has some of the best striking and footwork in the game and I think he clips Sterling here and puts him away. Dillashaw via. TKO

UCF 280 Main Event- Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev

Cooper Burke: I expect Oliveira to shine in a stage which he has not shied away from for the longest time. Although Makhachev has a suffocating ground game, Oliveira is deadly with submissions-having the most ever. This is going to discourage a lot of offensive grappling from Makhachev, and if he tries to lean on it, it could go sideways early. Expect both men to try and fight smart and lean on their strengths later on in the fight. Oliveira should prove to regain his title after the weight mishap, and order will be restored at 155. Oliveira via. KO

Justin Gibbons: It’s hard for me to pick against Oliveira at the moment. The men he has defeated are very commendable, handing Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier losses with pure domination and to dismantle Justin Gaethje the way he did with the title not on the line, confirms how dangerous Oliveira is right now. I think being stripped of his title ignited a fire and it will be interesting to see if Islam Makhachev can figure out and try to overcome the unstoppable Charles Oliveira. Oliveira via. Submission

Tom Kowalsky: Charles Oliveira hits like a February night wind in Boston, made Justin Gaethje’s tongue go numb. He’s also durable, and his ground game is disgusting. Islam Makhachev has a sloppy stand-up game but is fantastic at controlling guys once he gets them down. However, when going against fighters who have been preparing for him, I.e., not fighting him on short notice, he doesn’t look as dominant. Charles has had the far tougher competition, more dangerous stand-up and can finish from the bottom or top on the ground. Got to go with the Brazilian to get it done here. Oliveira via. Submission

Austin Marr: I’m sorry, Oliveira may have the most submission wins in the promotion’s history, but I just don’t see it being an extreme factor against the likes of Makhacev’s smothering wrestling. Unless Oliveira gets the back in scrambles or this fight stay’s standing for a majority of the fight-I think Makhachev’s “Khabib Level” pressure and wrestling neutralizes Oliveira’s best weapon. Oliveira is for sure the better jiu-jitsu guy and has the better stand-up, but this fight is more than likely going to hit the mat a lot, probably from a Makhachev takedown as well. Oliveira’s tends to be far more aggressive than patient on the ground which I see working against him here. Oliveira is not defensively minded and with his pursuit of submissions he’s going to leave himself open to shots that other Makhachev opponents defend, Makhachev secures the legs with triangle traps and eventually finds the finish because I don’t think he fears “Do Bronx’s” ground game. Makhachev via. TKO

UCF 280: Main Card Picks

WriterOliveira
vs.
Makhachev
Sterling
vs.
Dillashaw
Yan
vs.
O’Malley
Dariush
vs.
Gamrot
Chookagian
vs.
Fiorot
Austin
Marr

(22-15)
MakhachevDillashawYanGamrotFiorot
Cooper
Burke

(11-7)
OliveiraSterlingYanDariushFiorot
Tom
Kowalsky

(14-9)
OliveiraSterlingYanGamrotFiorot
Justin
Gibbons

(7-11)
OliveiraSterlingYanDariushFiorot

How do you think our UFC 280 Staff Picks play out? Let us know in the comments!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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Austin Marr was first introduced to MMA by his father when his father enrolled Austin into Catch Wrestling and MMA classes at the age of eleven in 2007, since then Austin’s passion for the sport grows daily. Austin first started covering the sport in 2018-writing articles and creating video content.