A new UFC lightweight champion will be crowned at the conclusion of Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev. UFC officially announced the pairing during the main card of UFC Fight Night on July 16. Oliveira vs. Makhachev headlines UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 22.
Oliveira had been campaigning for a fight against “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. Meanwhile, retired champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was adamant that is teammate Makhachev was next in line. Many consider Oliveira vs. Makhachev as the closet thing to a dream match between Oliveira and Nurmagomedov.
Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) was promised a UFC lightweight title shot after defeating Justin Gaethje via first-round submission. “Do Bronx” entered fight week as champion but was stripped after a controversial weight miss. Oliveira has emerged as the most dangerous offensive threat in a stacked lightweight division. His 11-fight win streak includes victories over Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee. Oliveira holds the UFC records for most finishes (19), most submission wins (16), most post-fight bonuses (18, tied with Donald Cerrone) and most Performance of the Night bonuses (12).
Makhachev (22-1) is considered by many as the second coming of Nurmagomedov. A second-round TKO of Bobby Green marked his 10th consecutive win and his fourth consecutive finish following submissions wins against Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises and Drew Dober. Makhachev was previously scheduled to face Beneil Dariush in what many considered to be a title eliminator, but Dariush was injured and replaced by Green.