United Arab Emirates — ABU DHABI Islam Makhachev’s regaining of the lightweight title seemed destined to happen ever since Khabib Nurmagomedov, a two-time undefeated champion, withdrew from mixed martial arts two years ago. This happened on Saturday.
At UFC 280 inside the Etihad Arena, Makhachev (23-1) defeated Charles Oliveira (33-9) to win the 155-pound title. At 3:16 in the second round, an arm triangle choke was used to end the fight. Oliveira was dropped with a right hand and then surrendered to the choke after having his 11-fight winning streak broken.
In a manner, Makhachev’s work has just begun. Alex Volkanovski, the current UFC featherweight champion and widely regarded No. 1 pound-for-pound champion are predicted to be his next opponent. Volkanovski (25-1) has declared his intention to increase his weight after his fourth title defense in July.
It is almost clear that UFC 284 will host the champion vs. champion match in February. The pay-per-view tournament will take place on February 12 at Perth, Australia’s RAC Arena, Volkanovski’s homeland.
It marks Makhachev’s fifth straight victory by submission, and the most recent came against the fighter with the most wins by submission in UFC history.
“I always ask God why he always gives me more than what I ask,” Makhachev said. “I knew this wouldn’t be an easy fight. This guy always pushes.”