Islam Makhachev earned one of the best victories this year after he defeated former UFC lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira in the second round of their fixture at UFC 280. Makhachev overpowered Oliveira three minutes into the second round, forcing his opponent to tap out. With the win, Makhachev claimed the vacant UFC lightweight title. The title was made vacant when Oliveira was forced to surrender the belt after failing to make weight ahead of UFC 274.
The fight was dominated by Makhachev, who now has 23 wins from 24 fights. Oliveira struggled around Makhachev, who was always quick to take things to the ground. It was three minutes into the second round that things took an interesting turn. Makhachev dropped Oliveira, then quickly got on him to choke him, forcing De Bronx to tap out in defeat, for the fourth time in his career.
Oliveira’s defeat, his first in over 10 fights and 9th overall, came as a surprise. After he defeated Justin Gaethje in May, Oliveira extended his record for most submissions in the UFC, which currently stands at 16. This is why it seemed a bit ironic that his defeat should be through a submission. Oliveira had entered the fight hoping to regain his lost lightweight title but went home defeated.
After the match, Makhachev, trained by former UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, said that winning the lightweight title was something he had been praying for all his life. He said: “I prayed so hard for this moment all my life. Since I was a kid, I have been praying for this. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy fight. I knew he would be wary of my wrestling skills, so I knew he couldn’t push too much.”
On his part, Oliveira expressed disappointment at losing, but promised to return better and reclaim his lost title.