At UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Rodriguez, the promotion announced that Charles Oliveira will fight Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on October 22.
Many were outraged when 'do Bronx' lost his belt during the weigh-ins of UFC 274 ahead of his fight against Justin Gaethje. Daniel Cormier recently even called it "one of the most egregious mistakes the commissions have made in a long time." However, the fact is that the 155lbs UFC title is vacant, and Charles Oliveira is the No.1 contender.
Dana White won the hearts of fans when he announced that Oliveira would get his pay-per-view share from UFC 274 despite being stripped of the title. Even though the division is technically without a champion, it looks like the Brazilian will earn a pay-per-view share from his fight at UFC 280. During the post-fight press conference at UFC Long Island, the promotional president was asked if 'do Bronx' would earn pay-per-view points from the fight against Makhachev, to which he said:
"Yeah, yeah, I think he does. I mean, he's the champ, but technically he's not the champ."
When asked why the UFC decided to make this fight, Dana White said:
"We tried to make that other, the Dariush fight, [he] broke his ankle... that fight [Oliveira vs. Makhachev] makes sense in Abu Dhabi. Everybody wanted to do it, I think everybody wanted to see it, so here we are."
Watch the segment at 2:00 of the video below:
Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev, the second coming of Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov?
Often referred to as the most jinxed fight in UFC history, Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov was a grappling chess match that fans had been looking forward to for a long time. However, the fight was booked and fell through an unimaginable five times. Following Numagomedov's retirement after his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, fans had to swallow a bitter pill and come to terms with the fact that 'The Eagle' vs. 'El Cucuy' was never going to happen.
For many, including Khabib Nurmagomedov himself, Oliveira vs. Makhachev could be the closest thing to Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov. Charles Oliveira's forward pressure and grappling prowess, along with his Muay Thai and striking, are reminiscent of a prime Tony Ferguson, perhaps with fewer elbows.
Islam Makhachev has grown up training alongside Khabib Nurmagomedov under the guidance of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani has a style centered around his chain wrestling, similar to the former champion. However, the big difference between the two is that Makhachev has been knocked out once in his career, which is the only loss on his record.
It will be tough for Charles Oliveira to finish Islam Makhachev or win a decision against the Dagestani, but MMA is arguably the most unpredictable sport in the world.
Watch Khabib Nurmagomedov compare Oliveira vs. Makhachev to his booking against Tony Ferguson below: