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Here are our best UFC picks for Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Visit Betway for all the latest UFC odds

Oliveira vs Makhachev odds

The vacant lightweight belt is up for grabs at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi as former champ Charles Oliveira faces off against the surging Islam Makhachev.

Oliveira should really still be holding the belt after beating Justin Gaethje in his last fight at UFC 274, but he was stripped of the championship after missing weight by 0.5lb.

That was the first time in UFC history that a title has been vacated due to a champion missing weight, although the whole event was shrouded in controversy as multiple fighters claimed there were issues with the weigh-in scales.

Oliveira’s first-round submission of Gaethje took his current win streak to 11 fights, while extending his UFC records for most finishes (19) and most submissions (16).

Despite his recent domination of the lightweight division, ‘Do Bronx’ heads to Abu Dhabi as the underdog to reclaim his belt.

His opponent is on an impressive win streak of his own, with Makhachev entering UFC 280 on the back of 10 straight victories.

The 31-year-old Russian has more than earned his first title shot, and will start the fight as the favourite on Saturday.

Oliveira vs Makhachev prediction

As far as matchups go, you won’t get many better than this in the UFC.

These are two of the best grapplers you’ll ever see, and both are at the absolute pinnacle of their game coming into this fight.

Neither fighter will be afraid to take this fight to the ground, and that could create brilliant exchanges on the mat over the course of five rounds.

Oliveira will look to use his jiu-jitsu to force a submission, while Makhachev will try to wear his opponent down with his suffocating sambo style.

One likely outcome, though, is that their grappling skills cancel each other out, with the fight instead being decided on the feet.

Should that happen, Oliveira has the clear edge with his 3.5-inch reach advantage, impressive chin, and much-improved striking.

Makhachev is not a bad striker by any means, but he doesn’t have as broad a skillset as his opponent, and will need to get inside to deal damage.

Even if he does manage to land some heavy shots, Oliveira has proven time and again his ability to absorb strikes – he recovered from knockdowns in each of his last three fights before securing the finish.

The other big factor to consider here is experience.

Oliveira is one of the longest-tenured UFC fighters around, having fought 30 times for the promotion, and his current win streak has encompassed some of the biggest names in the lightweight division, including Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson and Gaethje.

Makhachev is only two years younger than Oliveira but has 19 fewer career fights to his name, with just 12 fights in the UFC. While he holds wins over some high-level opponents such as Dan Hooker and Bobby Green, he is yet to face anyone close to the calibre of Oliveira.

This is also Oliveira’s fourth straight title fight, so he will be well aware of the pressures involved, while Makhachev will never have experienced anything like this before.

Oliveira’s advantages on the feet, world-class submission skills and vast experience, along with his attractive price, make him the fighter to back here.

It’s hard to pick an outcome, with a finish very possible on the feet or ground, so sticking with the money line makes sense.

Oliveira to win