Ahead of UFC 274 next weekend, former middleweight champion, turned promotional color-commentator, Michael Bisping has shared his thoughts on the likely path to victory for main event challenger, Justin Gaethje when he tackles lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira.
Headlining the Phoenix, Arizona card on May 7. – Gaethje, a former interim lightweight champion, looks to go one better in his second attempt at undisputed lightweight spoils – taking on undisputed best, Oliveira.
The Arizona native opened the main card of UFC 268 most recently at Madison Square Garden in a November showdown against common-foe, Michael Chandler – turning in a unanimous decision win in the consensus Fight of the Year to earn his slot as the #1 ranked contender.
Justin Gaethje has landed wins in five of his last six Octagon appearances
For Sao Paulo native, Oliveira, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sensation headlined UFC 269 in December last, stopping common-opponent, another former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier with an eventual third round standing rear-naked choke win.
Sharing his thoughts on how Gaethje could topple the surging Oliveira, snap his division-best 10-fight winning run, and clinch the lightweight title, the above mentioned, Bisping urged Gaethje to avoid any sort of offensive grappling scrambles.
“If he (Justin Gaethje) uses the wrestling, and takes down Charles Oliveira, that could be dangerous,” Michael Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “We know Charles is the best submission practitioner that the UFC has ever seen. But it doesn’t me he (Gaethje) can’t win a fight down there. Just look at the last time Charles Oliveira was beaten, that was against Paul Felder… ultimately, he gassed. Felder got on top and he landed five or six vicious, hard elbows, one after the other, and the referee called it off.”
“But the point remains, that a good wrestler, with a solid base, that isn’t playing that game, can win,” Michael Bisping said. “If you don’t engage in the Jiu-Jitsu game, if you don’t abide by the rules, if you don’t try and pass guard, if you don’t try and go for your own submissions, you don’t create as many openings.”
With that strategy in mind, Bisping, who admitted Gaethje would likely avoid any wrestling offense early in the fight, would also be wise to incorporate leg kicks into his approach.
“Another factor to consider as well: the leg kicks of Justin Gaethje,” Michael Bisping said. “He is one of the best history in the absolute game. A lot power, he throws them with frequency, he will stand in the pocket and throw low kicks all the time… he does it all the time. He has an advantage with the kicks, he has an advantage with the power, and he has an advantage in the wrestling. But Charles Oliveira has an advantage with the Jiu-Jitsu, maybe with the heart, with the experience, maybe the physiological experience coming in as the champion.”