Sunday, June 16, 2024

UFC 300 results, highlights: Arman Tsarukyan outpoints Charles Oliveira in bloody battle, calls for title shot

Arman Tsarukyan’s path to a lightweight title shot and a rematch with champion Islam Makhachev appears incredibly close to complete. 

Despite a dangerous D’Arce choke attempt in the closing seconds of Round 3, Tsarukyan was able to survive until the final horn to barely outpoint former champion Charles Oliveira via split decision on Saturday in a featured 155-pound bout at UFC 300 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Tsarukyan (35-9) relied on timely takedowns and a patient offensive attack to move one step closer toward avenging a competitive decision loss to Makhachev in his UFC debut back in 2019. The Armenian-Russian, who was born in Georgia, took home a pair of 29-28 scores while the third judge scored it the same for Oliveira. CBS Sports also scored the bout 29-28 for Tsarukyan.

“It was five years ago in my UFC debut on short notice that I gave Makhachev his toughest fight to date,” Tsarukyan said. “I’m going to win if he just gives me that opportunity, that’s it.”

Whether or not Tsarukyan gets the next shot at Makhachev could depend upon timing as veteran Dustin Poirier is fresh off of a breakthrough stoppage win over Benoit Sant-Denis. The next lightweight title challenger could also come from the winner of Saturay’s BMF title bout between Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway. 

Either way, Tsarukyan put on a performance worthy of title consideration as he broke free from a deep guillotine attempt in Round 1 against Oliveira, who holds the UFC record for both submission and stoppage victories. 

Even more importantly, Tsarukyan never lost his poise or gameplan within the natural chaos that Oliveira (34-10, 1 NC) brings to nearly every fight. Tsarukyan worked a key takedown in Round 2 and went on to cut Oliveira’s face with flush elbows. 

“Thank you so much to Oliveira. He is one of the good guys in our division who gave me this opportunity,” Tsarukyan said. “I don’t know why one judge gave it to him but it’s OK. It doesn’t matter because I won and I want to fight for the title next. I’m going to be the youngest champion in the 155-pound division.”

With the fight seemingly up for grabs entering the final round, Tsarukyan secured a late takedown in Round 3 and retained control until a late Oliveira reversal produced a threatening choke in the final seconds. 

“I thought it was going to be all judges going to give it to me but it is what it is,” Tsarukyan said. “I got a win just by taking over the finish and Charles is so tough that I have to work on my skills and come back much stronger.”   

Tsarukyan improved to 9-1 since his loss to Makhachev, which includes a disputed decision defeat to Mateusz Gamrot in 2022. Oliveira, 34, suffered his first defeat since being submitted by Makhachev in their vacant title bout two years ago. 

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