UFC 280: Makhachev is Royce Gracie 2.0

Islam Makhachev and Bobby Green, UFC Vegas 49
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 26: (R-L) Islam Makhachev of Russia battles Bobby Green in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ahead of UFC 280, while MMA pundits are fascinated by Charles Oliveira’s BJJ, it is very clear that Islam Mkahachev is the best grappler of all time. He is Royce Gracie 2.0

Before we talk about Islam’s submission game, let’s discuss why he and Royce are similar in terms of striking. Both fighters have barely been touched in their career. Makhachev absorbs 0.84 strikes per minute, while Royce only absorbed 1.13 strikes per minute throughout his illustrious career. The reason why Islam is a better version of Royce is that his striking efficiency speaks for itself. Makhachev lands 2.27 strikes per minute, while Gracie only landed 0.88 strikes per minute. Both fighters are as elusive as they come and, on the ground, have shown wizardly unparalleled to any other UFC and non-UFC fighter in history. 

This week I proposed that Islam is a better grappler than Gordon Ryan and a better wrestler than Bo Nickal. I’m surprised by the backlash my tweet has received. Gordon won some good competitions in the BJJ circuit, and Bo has decent wins in DWCS. But the best grapplers, wrestlers, and strikers compete in the UFC, so until they fight in the UFC, it’s tough to know how good or bad they are. 

With a submission win over Do Bronx, Islam will solidify his status as the best grappler of all time. I believe he will dominate Charles in every fight aspect, especially grappling. Makhachev will look to make a point of how superior his submission game is to Oliveira’s. Charles is a good BJJ artist, but most of his submission wins came against fighters with a sub-par ground game. It’s Makhachev time. 

Official UFC 280 Prediction: Islam Makhachev by Rear-Naked Choke in Round 3