Makhachev predicts routine third-round win against Oliveira at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi

Two in-form lightweights clash for vacant belt in headline bout at UFC 280 on October 22

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Islam Makhachev has provided a quick rundown of how he’s going to defeat Charles Oliveira and become UFC champion in Abu Dhabi next month – and he believes he needs only three rounds to get the job done.

The Dagestani, who rides a 10-fight win streak, meets Oliveira in the headline bout at UFC 280 at Etihad Arena on October 22, when the pair battle for the vacant lightweight crown.

Oliveira, winner of his past 11 UFC bouts, is the division’s most recent champion but had to vacate the belt in May when he missed weight before his slated defence against Justin Gaethje.

The Brazilian, 32, sits still at the top of the lightweight rankings, with Makhachev, 30, at No 4. That said, Makhachev is viewed by many as favourite going into his first title fight in Abu Dhabi — he has competed twice already in the capital — something that appears to sit quite comfortably with him.

On Wednesday night, Makhachev’s Twitter account responded to a promo for UFC 280 with: “First round warm-up, second round drag him to deep water, third round get business done, Inshallah. Can’t wait for Oct 22.”

Oliveira-Makhachev is one of two title fights at UFC 280, with bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling taking on former belt-holder TJ Dillashaw. The card, which thus far has 10 fights officially announced by the UFC, also features a clash between standout bantamweights Petr Yan and Sean O’ Malley.

UFC 280, the promotion’s return to the emirate for the first time since last October, is part of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week.

Updated: September 15, 2022, 6:05 AM