It’s been a pretty long time coming, but the fans will finally get to see Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev battling it out in the octagon. The pair of elite athletes and UFC veterans have been circling each other for some time due to them both being unstoppable forces in the Lightweight division. Oliveira has been the reigning champion of the division since the undefeated king Khabib Nurmagomedov retired on top of the world, a title he earned after a tough fight against Michael Chandler that he was able to finish in the second round.
Oliveira has been winning ever since and he would still be the UFC Lightweight world champion if not for the fact that he missed weight ahead of his second title-defence at UFC 274. Although he defeated Justin Gaethje in incredibly short order by submitting him in the first round, he wasn’t eligible to retain the title due to missing the division’s weight-limit. During Oliveira’s time at the top of the division, Islam Makhachev has been grinding his way up the rankings and defeating everyone that the UFC has seen fit to put in front of him.
Makhachev hasn’t lost a fight since the end of 2015, winning ten fights in a row against increasingly difficult opposition. As it stands Makhachev’s winning streak is only one behind Oliveira’s, who has won an incredible eleven fights since 2017 and finished all but one of his opponents. As one of the primary training partners of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev represents the closest that Oliveira can get to dethroning the Hall of Famer himself.
As for the fight itself; Makhachev’s main weapon is his elite-level wrestling and this will be tough to put to good use against Oliveira, who is an elite BJJ black belt with incredible skill fighting off his back. Oliveira has been using his skills in the UFC for years, racking up the most submission wins in the promotion’s history thanks to his experience competing in Jiu-Jitsu prior. Should Oliveira manage to win back his title and defeat Makhachev, that could actually open up the opportunity for him to fight Nurmagomedov himself as he has publicly stated that part of the reason he left was to give Makhachev the chance to claim the belt and training partners have said that Oliveira is the only fighter that could light a fire under him to return to MMA.
The full UFC 280 event, including Charles Oliveira taking on Islam Makhachev for the vacant UFC Lightweight World Championship, will be available to watch live on October 22nd on UFC FightPass, click here to subscribe and watch.