The highly anticipated UFC 280 is almost upon us, with the event due to start on Saturday, Oct 22nd at the sell-out 18,000-seat Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
An exciting card packed with brilliant fights awaits fans who are eager to see Oliveira vs. Makhachev compete for the vacant UFC lightweight belt, as well as an impressive undercard that sees Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley amongst others.
UFC 280 Fight Card
Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title
UFC Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw
135 lbs.: Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley
170 lbs.: Sean Brady vs. Belal Muhammad
155 lbs.: Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot
125 lbs.: Muhammad Mokaev vs. Malcolm Gordon
115 lbs.: Amanda Lemos vs. Marina Rodriguez
145 lbs.: Lucas Almeida vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
125 lbs.: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot
185 lbs.: Caio Borralho vs. Makhmud Muradov
205 lbs.: Nikita Krylov vs. Volkan Oezdemir
170 lbs.: Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev
Lightweight Title Bout
Oliveira (33-8-0, 1 NC) vs. Makhachev (22-1-0)
The main event is for the vacant lightweight title, as the former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira takes on the favourite in the latest UFC betting odds, Islam Makhachev. Stripped of the title for missing weight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, the Brazilian is keen to take back his crown. But he faces a stiff task in the shape of the Russian Makhachev, a protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov, in what is, without doubt, his toughest fight yet.
Oliveira, who recently earned the ESPY for MMA fighter of the year, has won 11 bouts in a row, including the past 10 by way of finish. He also holds multiple UFC records, notably, the most submission wins in the organization’s history and most finishes. His knockdown average per 15 minutes is an impressive 0.51, compared to his opponents’ 0.27. His knockout percentage and strikes landed per minute are all superior too.
Makhachev defends an impressive 22-1 record and brings a 10-fight winning streak to the fight. Incredibly, the Russian has been the favourite in every fight of his UFC career and boasts 4 by knockouts, 10 submissions and 8 decisions.
Without a doubt, this is a match-up of the two best fighters in the division right now and while Makhachev may lack the power and skills to KO Oliveira, his defence and grappling skills are far superior, making this a fight that will most likely be won or lost on the canvas.
Bantamweight Title Bout
Aljamain Sterling (21-3-0) Vs. TJ Dillashaw (18-4-0)
The second big fight at UFC 280, is for the Bantamweight title, between two well-matched Americans, with defending champion Aljamain Sterling taking on TJ Dillashaw. Sterling won the title in controversial fashion back in March 2021, when defending champion Petr Yan became the first to lose his belt through a disqualification, due to an illegal knee ruling. The rematch was a narrow, spilt decision in Sterling’s favour, but he’ll be eager to stamp his authority on the division and prove himself a worthy champion with a decisive victory, and put to bed any doubts about his legitimacy as a champion.
Dillashaw, the former reigning bantamweight champion, was forced to give up his title due to a two-year suspension after a positive drugs test in 2019. Returning in July 2021, he defeated Cory Sandhagen, but suffered a knee injury, meaning this is only his second fight back since his enforced lay off.
Now 36, Dillashaw will have the chance to make UFC history, by becoming the first three-time bantamweight champion ever. But with little to go on by way of form, the fight is too close to call, however Dillashaw’s knockout percentage and Takedown defence look significant.
Petr Yan (16-3-0) vs Sean O’Malley (15-1-0)
Sean O’Malley is facing a major step-up in competition in this bout against former bantamweight champion Petr Yan. The Russian is currently ranked as the No. 1 contender at 135 pounds, making him the highest ranked fighter O’Malley has ever faced.
(Petr Yan fight highlights)
Yan’s last fight saw him lose his title to Aljamain Sterling in a split-decision at UFC 273, and he will be keen to regain his authority in the division and earn himself a crack at the winner of the bout between Sterling and Dillashaw.
At 5 feet 7 inches, Yan gives away 5 inches in arms reach and 2 inches in leg reach to his taller opponent, who stands at 5 feet 11. The American’s KO stats and average fight time are also superior to the Russians, making him the marginal favourite for this fight.
With a total of ten fights on the card and two titles on the line, plus an exciting women’s matchup in the shape of Katlyn Chookagian vs Manon Fiorot, UFC 280 promises to be another exhilarating event full of great fighting action.