UFC 280: 2 Titles on the Line

UFC 280 is shaping up to be one of the best cards of this year, with the vacant lightweight belt and the bantamweight belt on the line

Nathan Montoya, Editor of News


On the weekend of October 22nd, the UFC will hold their UFC 280 event in Abu Dhabi, where The former lightweight champion, #1 ranked Charles “do Bronx” Olivera, is fighting #4 ranked lightweight Islam Makachev for the vacant title. Olivera never lost the title directly, winning his first and (technically) only title defense against #2 ranked Dustin Poirer, and beating #3 ranked Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. Unfortunately, due to being ½ lb over 155, he was stripped of his title in his fight against Gathje, and therefore only he was allowed to fight for the title. This didn’t affect Olivera’s ability, however, winning in the third minute of the first round via submission. This win marked his 11th consecutive win in the UFC and showed just how skilled he truly is, champion or not. His BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) skills are some of the best ever seen, shown off by the fact he has the most finishes and submissions in the entire UFC, with 19 submissions, and 16 finishes.

Islam Makachev is his opponent, being ranked #4 in the lightweight division, and the favorite to win the title and on a 10-fight win streak of his own. Makachev is no pushover, however, fighting out of Dagestan with amazing wrestling due to being trained by former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Only having 1 loss in his entire professional career, Makachev looks to add Olivera’s name to those he has beaten, and take the title for himself. In their fight, Oliveria will be looking to regain the vacant title. 

There’s even more excitement on this card, as the 135lb division belt is also up for contention. Bantamweight champion Aljamain “The Funkmaster” Sterling looks to defend his belt proper against the #2 ranked contender TJ Dillashaw.  Sterling won the belt controversially at UFC 254 over the former champion Petr Yan, when an illegal knee to the chin disqualified Yan. A rematch took place a year later between the two, and while their first fight was dominated by Yan, the rematch was Sterling’s fight. He exploited Yan’s weaknesses and beat him via a split decision at UFC 274, cementing him as the champion of the division, and the favorite to win his next title defense.

His opponent is TJ “Killashaw” Dillashaw, the former bantamweight champion who lost the belt to the former flyweight champion Henry Cejudo in a double champ fight, where the winner would have the belts in both divisions. Dillashaw lost via TKO within the first minute of the fight and took a break from the octagon for over two years when he fought and beat Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Night. Dillashaw first won the belt against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217, by knocking him out within the second round, and defended it in their rematch at UFC 227. However, Dillashaw is taking another run at the title, hoping to regain it by beating Sterling.

Another noteworthy fight is going to be the former bantamweight champion #1 ranked Petr “No Mercy” Yan fighting #12 “Sugar” Sean O’Malley, where in this fight Yan will have everything to lose, and O’Malley will have everything to gain. O’Malley blew up in popularity due to his exciting knockout in the Dana White’s Contender series, which earned him a UFC contract, his rather bizarre appearance, sporting bright pink hair, and face tattoos, and his personality. Yan. who earned his nickname through his vicious fighting style and the way he fights his opponents, has much more to lose in this fight since if he, someone who used to be a champion loses to someone ranked much lower than him, that could make him seem as if he’s washed up, or losing his skill, despite only being 29 years old. On the other hand, O’Malley has much more to gain here, since if he can beat someone ranked as the #1 contender, he could be seen as an even more incredibly skilled fighter, and possibly earn a title shot against the winner of Sterling v Dillashaw.

UFC 280 looks to keep viewers on edge throughout the night, leaving them wondering who the new lightweight champion will be, if Sterling can earn another title defense or if Dillashaw can regain his title, and if O’Malley has what it takes to beat somebody of Yan’s caliber.