Back in the middle of the seventh month, the UFC confirmed to us that the match will be held, which is probably the best match that the promotion can realistically offer this year. Of course, Jon Jones in the heavyweight division and the return of Conor McGregor is special league when it comes to big matches, but that's exactly why we emphasize that we're talking about real options here.
A lightweight title matchup between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira seemed like a very real option for a while. The Brazilian is on an 11-fight winning streak, while the Dagestani is at 10. Back at the end of the second month, Makhachev was scheduled to fight Beneil Dariush for the role of the next challenger, but Dariush canceled the match and Bobby Green stepped in as a replacement.
Makhachev easily defeated an unranked opponent, and Dana White pointed out that it cannot be a victory that will give him a "title shot". In the fifth month, Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje squared off for the UFC lightweight title.
Oliveira dropped the scales by 0.23 kg and lost his belt. Only Justin Gaethje was in contention for the title, but did not win it, as Oliveira finished him in the first round. Then White admitted that many, including Joe Rogan, were pressuring him to pair Makhachev with Oliveira.
In the middle of the seventh month, we finally received official confirmation - Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira will headline the UFC 280 event in Abu Dhabi, and the winner will become the new UFC lightweight champion.
Charles Oliveira v Islam Makhachev
Both fighters, as already stated, are enjoying incredible winning streaks, and fans have been debating and debating for months about whose fighting style will prevail. Islam Makhachev is a physical and fitness "beast", and his wrestling and control on the ground are impeccable.
This Dagestani almost never puts himself in danger and comes out of almost every match unscathed. Emphasis on "almost everyone" because in 2015 he was knocked out by Adriano Martins in the first round. This was followed by the great winning streak of Islam Makhachev, who will try and literally succeed Khabib Nurmagomedov this weekend.
Khabib retired in the tenth month of 2020, and if Makhach becomes champion, the prediction, or rather the plan of Khabib's late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, will come true. Charles Oliveira, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Islam Makhachev when it comes to his approach to fighting and the attractiveness of the matches he provides.
While Makhachev is often criticized for being boring, when in fact he is just too dominant, Oliveira's matches are pure chaos. The Brazilian has defeated Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje in his last three appearances, and in almost every one of those matches, there was a segment where he found himself in certain problems, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller.
From the first second, Oliveira accentuates the chaos in the cage, but the combination of great experience, self-confidence, and expertise in all segments of MMA makes him incredibly dangerous in such chaos. Whether we will again hear the phrase "Champion name and it's Charles Oliveira" on Saturday at around 11:00 p.m.
or whether Khabib's father's plan will come true in full, it is truly difficult to say. An incredibly exciting and interesting match awaits us, without a doubt the biggest MMA match in 2022. Fans have to be patient for a few more days, and on Saturday we will all enjoy this spectacle. That is what we can say with certainty.