Islam Makhachev has just etched his name into the history books by submitting Charles Oliveira at UFC 280, winning the vacant Lightweight world championship. The fight has been an incredibly long time in the making, as both men have been dominating the division for the last few years. In fact, Oliveira had won eleven fights in a row dating back as far as 2017 and Makhachev was riding a ten-fight winning streak that started all the way back in 2015. This was not just a worthy main event, but it was without a doubt the most intriguing fight that the Lightweight division has been able to produce since Makhachev’s friend and teammate-turned-coach Khabib Nurmagomedov defended the title against Conor McGregor.
Oliveira was the UFC Lightweight world champion at one point, but he was stripped of the title when he failed to make weight for his last title-defence before this fight against Justin Gaethje. He made short work of Gaethje and submitted him in the very first round of the fight. This was due to be the second defence of the title that he won by knocking out Michael Chandler, a title that was only vacant at the time because Khabib Nurmagomedov chose to retire from professional MMA.
Makhachev meanwhile was busy battling his way through a constant stream of incredibly tough opponents in order to get to a title-shot in the first place. He finished several tough Lightweight veterans like Dan Hooker and Bobby Green, along with impressive victories over other elite grapplers like Davi Ramos. When the cage door closed on Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira, most fans would have had an incredibly tough time picking a winner between the two. In the end, Makhachev almost made it look easy.
Somewhat surprisingly, the pair of veteran grapplers actually spent a large portion of the fight striking instead. That’s where Makhachev started to gain the upper hand and eventually forced Oliveira to pull guard as a result. Makhachev employed plenty of grounded strikes and constant top pressure to win the first round, even landing a takedown against the cage after Oliveira stood back up. In the second round Makhachev landed a huge right hand that floored his opponent, and he pounced on the opportunity to lock up an arm-triangle choke and force the finish.
The full UFC 280 event replay, including Islam Makhachev submitting Charles Oliveira to win the UFC Lightweight world title, is available to watch on UFC FightPass, click here to subscribe and watch.