UFC 280: Islam Makhachev overpowers Charles Oliveira to clinch lightweight title

Dagestani submits Charles Oliveira in second round on Saturday night

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Islam Makhachev was crowned the new UFC lightweight champion on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi after submitting Charles Oliveira in the second round in the headline bout at Etihad Arena.

The Dagestani, competing in his first title bout in the UFC, had the upper hand against the former champion on the ground, before locking Oliveira in an arm-triangle choke three minutes 17 seconds in. It represented Oliveira's first defeat in 12.

Makhachev, whose win streak extends to 11, then called out Alexander Volkanovski, with the featherweight champion coming into the octagon to agree to a potential fight in Australia next year.

"I have to say, Abu Dhabi thank you," Makhachev said. "I've prayed so hard for this moment. I knew this was going to be a very tough fight. I felt the love and support, and this is a very special feeling.

“I didn’t feel any pressure [with Khabib as coach]. I’m a professional, this isn’t my first fight. I wanted this so much.”

Speaking afterwards, a crestfallen Oliveira said: "There's nothing much to say. Today he was better than I was, he was able to get his game going, which was to put me down. And there's nothing much else to say. We're fighters, there are days that you're going to be better than other people and days that they will be better than you."

Asked how soon he wanted to get back into the octagon, Oliveira said: "Today, tomorrow, now, I'm ready to fight, it doesn't matter. I'd like to fight as soon as possible. I really don't know who I would choose as an opponent next because you really don't know what the promotion would choose.

"Charles Oliveira is still the No 1 contender in the division, so we are going to go back home, assess the matter and wait a little bit. No one's ever going to hit me as hard as life has hit me. So I've fallen down, I'm going to get up and get this belt back."

Updated: October 23, 2022, 6:05 AM