Makhachev No 3 in UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings following win over Oliveira in Abu Dhabi

New UFC lightweight champion has set his sights on top-ranked Alexander Volkanovski for his next challenge

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Islam Makhachev has entered the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings at No 3 following his title victory against Charles Oliveira in Abu Dhabi at the weekend.

The Dagestani, 31, became lightweight champion at UFC 280 at Etihad Arena on Saturday night, when he defeated former belt-holder Oliveira by second-round submission.

The victory, secured by arm triangle choke, ensured Makhachev became champion in his first title bout, and in the process lifted his win streak to 11.

The loss represented Oliveira’s first defeat in 12 UFC bouts. The Brazilian was the promotion’s pound-for-pound No 3 heading into Abu Dhabi. He drops to No 7.

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, whom Makhachev called out following his triumph, remains No 1, with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya still at No 2.

Speaking on Saturday immediately following his win, Makhachev said: “I have new target: I have to be No 1 pound-for-pound champion. That’s why I have to go to Australia and beat this guy.

“Volkanovski’s tough; he has good skills. But he’s small for this division. He wants to jump to 155 [lbs]? Let’s do this. But this weight class is not his level.”

Meanwhile, Sean O’Malley has vaulted 10 places in the UFC’s official bantamweight rankings after his contentious, split-decision victory against Petr Yan at Etihad Arena.

O’Malley, one of the most popular athletes in the sport, is set to compete next for the bantamweight title, held by Aljamain Sterling, who successfully defended his belt in Abu Dhabi with a second-round TKO of TJ Dillashaw.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 7:54 AM
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