Jump to content

UFC 280: Oliveira vs Makhachev - Oct 22 🇦🇪


Who wins and how?   

15 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

  • Paid Members

Alright this is still just over 2 months away but it’s shaping up to be one of the best cards of the year. We should probably get talking about it. We’re off to Abu Dhabi for this beast of a card…


Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev - Vacant UFC Lightweight Title

Aljamain Sterling© vs TJ Dillashaw - Bantamweight Title

Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley 

Beneil Dariush vs Mateusz Gamrot

Katlyn Chookagian vs Manon Fiorot  

Belal Muhammad vs Sean Brady

Makhmud Muradov vs Caio Borralho

Volkan Oezdemir vs Nikita Krylov 

Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Armen Petrosyan vs AJ Dobson

Muhammad Mokaev vs Malcolm Gordon

Lina Lansberg vs Karol Rosa


Right. First off I’ve almost completely guessed the bout order there. Obviously, going by the poster we know what the top 3 fights are. The rest will fall into place over the coming weeks. We’re too far out to be worrying about bout orders. These days they’re still changing right up to the day of the show sometimes. What a card though. Hopefully with it being in Abu Dhabi, it’ll be on at a UK friendly time but we’ll see.

I apologise in advance for how long this post has turned out 🤣 I’ve been typing it in bits and pieces over the last week or so and it’s longer than I expected. Can’t be arsed to edit but hopefully someone reads it.



Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev is going down. For the vacant Lightweight title. I think a lot of people have forgot that Oliveira actually lost his title on the scales before the Gaethje fight in May. He officially came in slightly over the 155lb limit but there was a lot of controversy over the whole thing with other fighters on the card saying there was weird shit going on with the scales. Fuck knows? The main thing for me is, this is the fight I wanted to see at Lightweight, it’s happening and the title will no longer be vacant when it’s over. The mess is getting cleared up and one of these two will leave Abu Dhabi as the champion. I haven’t done this for a while but I’m gonna go right back to the beginning of this one.


Oliveira was born in October 1989 and grew up in a skint family in a favela in São Paulo, Brazil. His dad worked in a slaughterhouse, his mum was a cleaner. Young Charles’ first love when it came to sports was football. And like many kids growing up poor, he dreamed of becoming a pro when he got older, to do what he loved and better his family’s situation. But at 7 years old he developed a heart murmur and rheumatic fever, suffered badly with his ankle and his parents were told he might never walk again. Let alone do sports at a professional level.

“I was hospitalised for two years and doctors told my mom I couldn’t do sports anymore. I loved soccer at the time, I had no idea what combat sports were, but stayed two years in the hospital. It sucked because I couldn’t leave. My parents had to work so I basically stayed there by myself all morning. It was hard to get used to it.” - Charles Oliveira

He was finally released from the hospital at 11 years old but still wasn’t in good health and had to have regular injections. He was told to avoid strenuous physical activity, so football was still off the table. This lead him to the “gentle art”, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Reading up on Oliveira’s story, it reminds me a lot of how Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira got into BJJ, and later MMA, after he was ran over by a truck as a kid. BJJ was the perfect way to gradually get them both active again after the trauma their body had been through at such a young age. Within just months of being cleared from the hospital and starting BJJ training, Oliveira had already won 2 medals doing it. The doctors advised against it but Oliveira continued and stopped taking his injections at 18.

“I would rather die than continue like this and not do the things I love.” - Charles Oliveira

When Oliveira was just 16, Ericson Cardoso, who was training Oliveira in BJJ, was invited to train at the Chute Boxe gym in Curitiba for a few days. This would’ve been about 2005, right at the height of Chute Boxe’s peak during the Pride era. Young Charles went along for the ride but was kept away from mixing it up with the likes of Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua. He was gutted but that was definitely for the best back then! But according to Cardoso, even back then he “earned everyone’s attention, you could tell he was different”. In 2007, just after his 18th birthday, Oliveira competed in his first amateur MMA bout in Rio. He won by armbar in just 15 seconds. And that was that. His pro career began in 2008.


Makhachev was born in September 1991. He had a tough upbringing himself but his was in Dagestan, Russia. He didn’t have the health problems Oliveira had but from everything I’ve seen of the Dagestan fighters, nothing was given to those guys easily. When I was 15 I was watching Steve Austin terrorise Vince McMahon on WWF TV, or pissing about on GTA on PlayStation. When Makhachev was 15, he was carrying bags of rocks up mountains and running in snow. Made of different stuff. Him and Khabib were childhood friends, even next door neighbours for a time, and that would ultimately lead him on a path towards MMA.


“Islam lived next door, and we used to meet at the training. We went to the same school, trained at the same gym. Since childhood, we have known each other, almost 20 years.” - Khabib Nurmagomedov

Naturally they both trained under Khabib’s old man, Abdulmanap. So Makhachev’s background was heavily on the grappling side, with Sambo and Wrestling being his main strengths. He turned professional just before turning 19 in 2010 and would flit between MMA and Combat Sambo for a while after that. Eventually, Islam and Khabib would both end up joining the American Kickboxing Academy in California. A gym that had seen the likes of Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck etc become fixtures and have a lot of success. And that was it, he was off and running.

2008: Like I said, Oliveira makes his pro MMA debut for a promotion called Predador FC in March. It’s at Welterweight and he’s not fucking about. First night as a pro and he’s straight in a one night tournament. He wins 3 fights in one night and finishes all 3 opponents to win Predador’s Grand Prix.



What a first day on the job! He drops to Lightweight and fights 3 more times before the year is out, again 2 on the same night, and all were KO/TKO stoppages. So a very successful first year for ‘Do Bronx’. He only competed on 3 dates and he’s already 6-0 with 6 finishes. Mad bastard.

2009: Another 4 fights in the books. Takes his first fight outside of Brazil in April, submitting some sod called Dom Stanco on a Ring Of Combat show in Sopranos country New Jersey. In September he’s back in Brazil submitting Alexandre Bezzera, who’d go on to fight in Bellator for a bit, as well as LFA and PFL. Then a week later, he finally gets taken to the scorecards but remains unbeaten, taking a split decision victory.

2010: A notable year in the timeline with both men having significant breakthroughs. Oliveira fights 5 times. He again fights twice in one night in February, getting a couple of quick finishes on a Warriors Challenge card. And then the call comes. In August he makes his UFC debut at just 20 years old. It’s on a ‘UFC on Versus’ Fight Night card (remember them?) against Darren Elkins.


And Oliveira makes short work of him. 41 seconds is all it took, Rogan sounded like he was rubbing one out on the commentary and Oliveira got himself a Submission Of The Night bonus for his troubles. From there he had a quick turnaround and was matched up against Efrain Escudero, who wasn’t too far removed from winning TUF and still had some high expectations on him. Charles subbed him in the third round and got himself another SOTN bonus. A real life changing year for Oliveira. Just in bonuses he picked up $80K his first two trips to the Octagon. The year would end on a downer for him though, in December he suffered the first defeat of his career when Jim Miller caught him in a kneebar less than 2 minutes into their fight.


Meanwhile, on the very same night as Oliveira subbed Elkins in his UFC debut - Aug 1st 2010 - a young Makhachev was making his MMA debut in Russia for a promotion called Tsumada Fighting Championship. He beat some jabroni called Magomed Bekbolatov by unanimous decision. As 2010 concludes, Oliveira’s record sits at 14-1, Makhachev’s just getting going at 1-0.

2011: The loss to Miller seems to have knocked the wheels out from under ‘Do Bronx’. More bad results for him here. In June he takes on Nik Lentz and it ends in controversy. I remember it being a really fun fight but then in the second round…


Charles blasted him with that illegal knee, the ref failed to act on it and let the fight continue and it directly led to Oliveira ending it with a choke. Originally it was declared a submission win for Oliveira but common sense prevailed and it was overturned to a No Contest. They would meet again down the road. But 2011 was a write off for the Brazilian. He followed up the dodgy Lentz fight by getting stopped in a round by Donald Cerrone in August. After such a promising start to his UFC career, it was starting to go tits up already. Over in Russia, Makhachev was getting the ball rolling and trying to gain experience. He fights 5 times and goes 5-0 with 4 finishes.

2012: Oliveira gets 3 fights in and he’s back to winning ways early in the year. He drops to Featherweight and in January he takes on Eric Wisely on FOX. And pulls off a nasty calf slicer first round finish.


What a way to get back on track! He follows that up with a guillotine submission over TUF winner Jonathan Brookins in June. But then it all goes wrong again. He’s matched up with Cub Swanson at UFC 152 in September and Oliveira misses weight and then gets knocked out in the first round the following night. Disaster. Makhachev fights just once, submitting some fucker by armbar in 3 minutes.

2013: More bad times for Charlie Olives. They were really doing him zero favours here with the matchmaking. Coming off getting laid out by Swanson, they chuck him in with Frankie Edgar at UFC 162 in July. He loses a decision but the bitter pill was probably sweetened a little bit by the FOTN bonus.



I completely forgot this fight even happened. I’ll have to give it another look when I get some spare time because I vaguely remember it being awesome. It fell on the same night that Chris Weidman ended Anderson Silva’s reign so it got forgotten quickly but it was a hell of a fight as I recall. But that was Oliveira’s only fight in 2013 and it was another L. They’re starting to pile up now.

Makhachev starts fighting regularly for M-1 now and fights twice this year, winning decisions in both. He beats Mansour Barnaoui in April, which is the first notable win on his record.


Barnaoui wasn’t that experienced himself at this point but he’d already gone the distance with Kevin Lee. Since the loss to Makhachev he’s gone onto win belts in BAMMA, M-1, KSW and Road FC. Fought Gamrot in 2016 and he’s now 19-4 and is gonna headline the Bellator card in Italy a week after this show. He’s a guy I thought the UFC would’ve gone all out to sign this year, especially as he’s French and they’ve got that Paris card coming up. Anyway, yeah, a solid early win for Makhachev in hindsight.

2014: A much better year for Oliveira. 3 more fights, 3 more wins. He submits Andy Ogle in February and Hatsu Hioki in June. Picks up POTN bonuses for both. Then in December, he takes a points win off Jeremy Stephens in another fight that sounds ace but I can’t remember. Again though, Oliveira missed weight for that Stephens fight. I was a big fan of his back at this time but he really was so inconsistent and all over the place with the losses and weight misses. You could see he had the skills but it was so frustrating watching him struggle to put everything together and find steady success in the right weight class. Even here, a year where he’s gone 3-0, he’s managed to put a dampener on it right at the end of the year by missing weight.


Makhachev with Nurmagomedov Sr and Jr there. He’s still in M-1 and gets two more fights under his belt, in June and September, winning both by submission. Something about these performances got him noticed in the US…

2015: Oliveira with another 3 fights and the weirdness continues. Him and Nik Lentz rematch in May on a card in Brazil. They had to run this one back after all the controversy with the illegal knee the first time.



This time Oliveira got the third round submission and it was controversy free. A ‘clean finish’ in pro wrestling terms. A cracking fight as well. I remember absolutely loving this one. Dana must’ve loved it as much as me because he gave them both FOTN plus Oliveira also bagged a POTN bonus! $100K on top of his purse, a submission win and he cleared up the issue of the first Lentz fight. Perfect 2015 so far for Oliveira, right?


Max Holloway vs Charles Oliveira happened. Well, kind of. This is one of those fights that I think a lot of people forget even went down. These days it’d be a dream fight, back then they were just two young guys trying to rise up the ranks and make a name for themselves. It was in Saskatoon, Canada for some reason. Sadly it was all over before it ever really got started. Less than 2 minutes in, Oliveira somehow injured his oesophagus and that was it. Fight was a wrap and they’ve never crossed paths since. I was gutted. Maybe we’ll see a rematch at some point. Oliveira returned in December and did end the year on a positive, well sort of. He subbed Myles Jury in a round on FOX but…you guessed it, missed weight again 😏 


Makhachev signs with the UFC and makes his first Octagon appearance in May at UFC 187. He takes on Leo Kuntz (HA!) on the Fight Pass prelims and gets the rear naked choke finish in the second round. In his second outing in October though, disaster strikes…


Makhachev gets slept just 1:46 into the first round by Adriano Martins, who was a decent fighter at the time but it’s a shocking loss looking back with 2022 eyes. The first loss of Makhachev’s career (and to this day, still his only loss) and it was a brutal one. As we enter 2016, Oliveira is 21-5-0-1, Makhachev’s 12-1.

2016: Man, the bad times for Oliveira around this period of his career were even more frequent than I remembered. He goes 0-2 this year. Gets submitted by Anthony Pettis in August and Ricardo Lamas in November. Both via guillotine. Oh, and he missed weight AGAIN for the Lamas fight. Jesus wept. I remember that Pettis fight being a lot of fun, hazy on the Lamas one. But regardless, you’d have been forgiven at this point for thinking Oliveira was just gonna fizzle out and wind up arsing about on Jungle Fights cards in Brazil the rest of his days. The main two knocks on him at this time were always 1) the weight missing and 2) that he had a tendency to fold if a fight got rough. Makhachev gets popped by USADA for something called meldonium. They lift the suspension in the summer but he only fights once, taking a decision off Chris Wade (whoever that is) in September.

2017: In a desperate attempt at a fresh start, and he fucking needs one, Oliveira sacks off 145 and moves up to Lightweight for the new year. About time. You’d think with all those issues cutting down to 145 he’d have made this decision sooner. He gets off to a strong start in his return to 155, submitting Will Brooks in 2 minutes at UFC 210 in New York. Got himself another POTN bonus as well. Christ. Oliveira must’ve made way more in bonuses than he made on his actual purse his first decade in the UFC. But true to form, his success is fleeting. He takes on Paul Felder in December and gets battered to a TKO stoppage.


I know I saw this fight at the time but my memory is really fuzzy on it. The talk has always been that this was one of those examples of him not liking how it was going and mentally checking out. That might be unfair but it’s the narrative I always associate this loss with. I might have to go back and watch a few of these Oliveira fights before this card actually. I saw them all at the time but remember very little of them, and a bunch of them sound like they’d be worth a revisit. Whatever, a 1-1 year for Charles. Again, Makhachev only sees action once, he beats Oliveira’s old pal Nik Lentz by unanimous decision in Brooklyn.

2018: Following the bad loss against Felder, Oliveira stays at 155 and, something about him around this time just clicks into place. He fights 3 times this year, there’s no controversy with the weight, no illegal knees thrown and he goes 3-0 with 3 submissions. He guillotines Clay Guida in Chicago in June, returns home to São Paulo and RNCs Christos Giagos in September, then to cap the year off…


In December he avenges that 2010 loss to Jim Miller, strangling him just 1:15 into their rematch. He got POTN bonuses for all 3 wins as well. Talk about a return to form! Makhachev has his best year in the UFC to date. Only fights twice but he wins both decisively and finally strings a couple of finishes together.


That’s him knocking out Gleison Tibau at UFC 220 in January. They’d positioned this as the Fight Pass opener, jerking the curtain, and it’s probably because Makhachev had been so inactive prior, and even when he was active, he was winning these forgettable decisions. So they buried this down on Fight Pass and gave him tough gatekeeper Tibau. To the surprise of everyone, Makhachev knocked him out in just 57 seconds. He followed that with a first round armbar finish over Kajan Johnson in July.

2019: Once again it’s 3 wins and 3 finishes for Charles. He anaconda chokes David Teymur in February then knocks out Nik Lentz in their third and final fight in May…



Seriously, with Oliveira’s rise and Lentz fading out of the sport, it’s easy to forget what a belting trilogy they had. Really fun series of fights that had a bit of everything. If you missed them and you’ve got Fight Pass and some time to kill, there are worse ways to spend an hour. But yeah, Oliveira ends the year with a first round knockout over Jared Gordon and that’s his 2019 wrapped up. A second strong year in a row, he’s now on a 6 fight winning streak, all finishes, and it’s really starting to feel like he’s turned the corner. The question now was how he’d fare when he stepped back up to that level he’d struggled with in the past.

Makhachev fights twice. One of them being a fight I’ve bummed on here for years.


Makhachev vs Arman Tsarukyan went down in April in Russia and it was fucking class. I did a full review of the fight somewhere on here recently, think it was the Makhachev vs Green thread a few months ago, if you want the full breakdown. One of my favourite grappling based fights. It was Tsarukyan’s UFC debut but just watching it, it was one of those fights between two young rising contenders where you get the feeling they’ll meet again with higher stakes somewhere down the line.


Such a good fight. Makhachev won the decision but both came out of it looking like they’d already be a problem for most of the division. Makhachev then beat Davi Ramos on the Khabib vs Poirier undercard in September. A win that gets downplayed and dismissed now because Ramos went on to lose 3 straight but he’s a BJJ world champion, an all around beast grappler and built like a tank. Considering Makhachev’s main asset has always been his grappling, throwing him in with someone who’s more accomplished at his main strength than he is was a tricky test on paper. Makhachev won fairly comfortably from my vague recollection of it. So heading into 2020, Oliveira’s 28-8-0-1, Makhachev’s at 18-1.

2020: The UFC returns to Brazil and Oliveira gets to headline against Kevin Lee.


This was March. Right as the madness of COVID was really kicking into high gear. And this card ended up being the first of many to be held ‘behind closed doors’ with no fans in attendance as a result.


Oliveira got the armbar finish in the third round. It was a really strong and complete performance from him and there was something about this win that really felt like he was finally on the right track. After all the ups and downs, it felt like his skill set was more on point than ever but now he was also not hampered by the weight cut, his confidence was high and he was just that right balance of still being young but having a wealth of experience. He was ready for one of the top names but you know the score at 155. Getting one of those ‘made men’ to fight anyone but a fellow big name is almost impossible. And while Oliveira had shown himself to be beatable in the past, on this kind of form the top guys were probably looking at him as a case of the risk outweighing the reward. At this time as well, Khabib vs Ferguson was set (😢) so Oliveira wasn’t likely to get a look in. Finally a bit of luck went his way though. Well, good for him, bad for us. Khabib vs Ferguson got cancelled for the 574th time. Ferguson wound up facing Justin Gaethje in May, Gaethje beat the prime out of him and that was that. The Khabib vs Ferguson dream fight was dead and buried for good. The window to make that fight when it would’ve been worth making was closed. So Tony was desperate and looking to get back in the mix. He agreed to fight Oliveira in December.


Bad, bad mistake. Tony somehow survived that shit, he was willing to let his arm snap in half rather than tap. But when it was over, Oliveira had won the decision and he’d completely dominated Ferguson in a way that was a bit of an eye opener. By beating one of the top ‘names’ at 155, Oliveira had become a ‘name’ himself. Then you become more of an appealing fight for the other top guys. That’s the only way into that top bracket it seems. But if he’d been unable to follow up on the Ferguson win he’d have likely slid back down the pecking order quick. It’s a weird division really. You only become a made man by beating a made man. But getting one of them to sign to fight you initially and give you that opportunity is a tough task. Going into 2021 though, things were finally looking promising for Oliveira. For Makhachev, 2020 was a complete washout. Between travel restrictions, COVID and staph infection, he never fought at all. A couple of attempts at the Dos Anjos fight went down the pan and that was that.

2021: Oliveira’s big year. Just before he beat Ferguson in December, the champ Khabib had submitted Justin Gaethje then surprised everyone by retiring. With the belt now vacant, it was Oliveira’s time to swoop in.


Him and Michael Chandler squared off at UFC 262 in May to crown a new champion. I still don’t think Chandler warranted being in a title fight here. He had one win in the UFC at this point. But whatever. The fight itself was fantastic. Chandler had him in all kinds of bother early on and looked close to finishing it in the first round. Olives comes out in round 2…



I was over the moon with this. I’d been a fan from very early in his career but I never could’ve imagined he’d ever hold UFC gold. It just didn’t seem to be on the cards for him and especially when you look back at those few rough years he had at the end of his Featherweight run. He just seemed destined to always be an exciting but flawed ‘also ran’ that never quite put it all together. But here he was, the UFC champ in the deepest division in the game. Granted, you can make the argument it only happened because Khabib stepped away when he did. But what can you do? He can only fight who’s there and he’s been getting it done for a while now.



The scenes of him returning to where he grew up, as champion of the world, were incredible. I love seeing that stuff and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy than Oliveira. I don’t know if we’ve talked about it on here but he’s got his own children’s charity in Brazil and, even before the title win, he’s been going back to his hometown and donating food to the poor for a while, as seen in the second pic there above. A good guy in a sport sadly filled with cretins. So it’s been great to see him reach the top of the sport and start getting those bigger paydays. In December he made his first defence of the title…


Oliveira vs Dustin Poirier was the fight that should’ve been made originally to crown the new champ, in my opinion. I can’t remember why it wasn’t made at the time but that was the fight. I think Poirier vs Nate was actually being talked about at the time but obviously nothing came of it. Like the Chandler fight, Oliveira had to weather quite a storm here, gutted through a rough opening round but once again came through with the victory and the title still intact.


Awesome stuff. Another thrill ride of a fight and Oliveira got it done again. Pulling another win from the jaws of defeat somehow. As for Makhachev, after a load of stops and starts and spending the whole of 2020 on the bench, Makhachev finally gets the breakthrough year he’s been waiting for.



He goes 3-0 with 3 submissions. Beats Drew Dober by arm triangle in March, chokes Thiago Moises in July, and then pisses straight through Dan Hooker with a kimura in October. The Hooker win was a bit of a step up on paper but he was still missing those signature wins against the top boys at 155. Still, by far the best year of his career to date. Not only was he more active than usual, he beat 3 good fighters and dominated and finished all of them impressively. Yet he’s ‘boring’ if you read social media.

2022: Final destination. As this year kicked off, the title picture at Lightweight was all up in the air. You had Gaethje, Makhachev, Dariush all in the mix plus the never ending silly talk of Conor McGregor coming back to an immediate title shot. Thankfully that died down and the top contenders got matched up. It’d be Oliveira vs Gaethje for the title in May and before that, we’d get Makhachev vs Dariush in a 5 round main event in February. Presumably as a title eliminator. Problem was, Dariush pulled out just 2 weeks out.


It wasn’t ideal but with options limited so close to the show, Bobby Green stepped in on short notice. Green was a veteran, popular and was coming off a couple of good wins where he’d looked really sharp. He’d also just fought 2 weeks earlier so he was still in shape. Makhachev just rolled over him though. Took about 3 minutes. It’s funny but I remember going into the fight, I saw loads of people predicting Green was gonna win, how his striking was too good for Islam etc. Once Makhachev beat him though, now it’s a shit win apparently and a ‘favourable matchup’ for the Russian.


UFC 274 arrived and Oliveira and Gaethje did exactly what you expected they’d do. Just went out there and fully committed to trying to decapitate each other. It only lasted 3:22 but it was just barmy from start to finish. About as exciting as a 3 minute fight gets. I had a bad feeling Gaethje was gonna be too tough and too heavy handed for Oliveira and that his reign was about to end. And as has become the theme with Oliveira’s title fights, he was taking some digs along the way.


Needn’t have worried though. One thing that was really noticeable about this one was Oliveira’s power. He’s always had good striking. Even early in his UFC run when he was thought of as pretty much just a ‘BJJ guy’, he had underrated Muay Thai. But he’d never been known as a powerful or particularly hurtful striker until more recently. And in this fight especially, he seemed to have some real venom in his hands. Even Gaethje was overheard after the fight telling him “you hit hard as fuck”. For someone like Gaethje to say that, it tells you all you need to know. He seems like one of those guys who’s deceptively powerful. Not a one shot KO machine or anything but he must have more of a sting to them than guys realise until they’re in there with him. I mean, in his last 3 fights alone, you look at the fighters he’s hurt - Chandler, Poirier, Gaethje - these fuckers are notorious for getting into wars and this ‘BJJ guy’ who was told he’d never walk again had them wobbling all over the place.

Of course, Oliveira had that weigh in controversy before the Gaethje fight though. So he’s going into this one beltless. Still, I was chuffed to see this announcement in July…


I’ve waffled on and on. I apologise. But if you didn’t already pick up on it, I’m a bit excited about this fight. I’ve seen it compared to the Khabib vs Ferguson fight that got away a few times. It’s not quite the same because it doesn’t have the history and Makhachev obviously hasn’t done anywhere near what Khabib has so far to make it that big of a deal. But in terms of just the styles, I can see the similarities. Seen all kinds of bitching about Makhachev getting the shot here. Bollocks to that. What’s a better option right now? Or a more interesting fight style-wise? McGregor not only doesn’t deserve it (1-3 at 155 and hasn’t won at 155 in nearly 6 years) but I don’t think he’s in any state to come back any time soon judging by the stuff I’ve seen recently. What else is there? Do people really just wanna see endless rematches with Chandler, Poirier and Gaethje? Let’s get some new blood in there. Makhachev not having beat top contenders isn’t the best but Chandler had literally only beat Dan Hooker when he got his shot and nobody really moaned about that. Gaethje got his shot in May coming off one win. And it’s not like Makhachev’s been ducking the top guys. He’s been scheduled to fight RDA a few times but it fell apart on both sides, was supposed to fight Dariush but Dariush pulled out. People will whinge about him not beating a top ranked guy but will then tell you the rankings don’t mean anything when it suits their argument. Makhachev’s coming off 10 straight wins at Lightweight, has finished 6 of them, has finished his last 4, we’ve had a lot worse than that get title shots. And this is a fascinating matchup! I genuinely don’t get how anyone can complain about getting to see this, and while both are probably in or close to their primes! We’ve never seen Oliveira face someone with the suffocating wrestling and top control of Makhachev. And we’ve never seen Makhachev in with someone who’s as dangerous on the ground and on the feet as Oliveira. It’s perfect matchmaking. Yet people wanna see re-runs or the played out McGregor schtick? I really don’t get it. This is gonna be quality.



Aljamain Sterling vs TJ Dillashaw is some co-main event. Easily could’ve been a headliner in its own right. I’ve made no secret that I don’t think TJ should be getting this title shot right now. I stand by my opinion that Aljo vs Aldo was the fight to make. And I’d have done Dillashaw vs Petr Yan. But at the same time, it’s hard to complain when you’re getting a fight of this quality.


Sterling is on top of the world right now. He had probably the single weirdest start to a title reign I’ve ever seen with that whole mess with Yan and his naughty knee in the first fight. The fallout from that was ridiculous as well and really brought out some of the worst traits in MMA fans. I’ll never understand how Aljo became the villain in that whole thing. Yan threw a blatantly illegal knee, Sterling couldn’t continue, Yan gets disqualified, Sterling becomes champ on a technicality. It’s not ideal but if there’s someone to blame in that scenario, it’s fucking Yan isn’t it? Not Sterling. Yet he had to put up with every sod and their Nan calling him a fraud and a bitch for a solid year after that. Accusing him of faking being hurt to get the win on a DQ, accusing him of faking the neck injury which kept him out of action for a bit. Just goofy shite. This was a guy who ran through Cory Sandhagen in 90 seconds before the Yan fight yet people were acting like he was a joke who just lucked into being champ and had no business in there with Yan. The buildup to Sterling vs Yan 2 in April was one of the worst but turned into one of my favourites in hindsight.



Contrary to the overwhelming opinion going in, Sterling didn’t get steamrolled by Yan in the rematch. It was a close fight and I think on first watch I might’ve had Yan just edging it. But I really wasn’t sure and Yan really didn’t do enough in the later rounds to have much grounds to gripe about the decision. But the change of general opinion after this fight was crazy. After giving Aljo both barrels for a whole year, everyone seemed to switch up overnight, delete their Yan avatars and start speaking better about Sterling as if none of the last 12 months happened 🤣 If you ever wanted an example of how fairweather, fickle and glory hunting MMA fans can be, this was one of the most blatant and shameless examples of it. Regardless, Sterling has been really fucking good for a long time. I honestly thought he’d have serious problems with the Yan rematch. Partly because of how the first fight was going before the dodgy knee, partly because he was coming back from the neck injury. But he made some adjustments, fought a smarter fight and pretty much just shut Yan down at times. It was a completely different fight to their first, not as exciting but a necessary change and he got the job done and finally got that bit of closure to legitimise himself as the proper champ.


Dirty Dillashaw is back in the title hunt for the first time in a long time. Like I said, I don’t think he’s earned it myself. If people are gonna whinge about Makhachev getting a shot, look at TJ. He got stopped by Henry Cejudo in 32 seconds in 2019, popped for EPO and got suspended for 2 years, came back in 2021 and barely won the decision against Sandhagen (many had Sandhagen winning), sits out for more than a year after that and now he’s strolling right back into a title shot? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great fighter. One of the best in Bantamweight history. But you can’t dine out on that forever. At some point, it becomes about what you’ve done lately and when you look at what TJ’s done lately, the answer is not much. And all those big wins, ending Cody Garbrandt’s chin, completely destroying Renan Barao’s career etc. It’s all got a grey cloud over it now with the stench of EPO hovering around.

Sterling’s not exactly biting his tongue when it comes to his thoughts on TJ.

“The main thing is, the guy’s a cheating little weasel that’s been doing this for years. On one side of the coin I respect him because, even if you are cheating, you still have to have some type of work ethic and drive to get up in the morning and put in the work and still have the technique to win those fights. So kudos to you for that you get a handclap. But the second side of it, you’ve done it the dirty way, you didn’t really do it on your own merit and your own blood, sweat and tears.”

“I get an opportunity to fight another guy who’s considered one of the greatest of all times in this division so for me to beat a guy like that, it’s a huge feather in my cap. Hopefully I get to strangle him, that’d be the ideal situation. It would be a sweet victory in the sense of ‘oh, he’s not a dangerous fighter’. OK, let’s see how ‘not dangerous’ I am. Last time I checked you got your face punched in by Cory Sandhagen, that did not happen to me. And last I checked Cory Sandhagen had a really tough fight with Petr Yan, that did not happen to me. I’m not trying to do MMA math but I like my odds in this one.” - Aljamain Sterling

So yeah, aside from my slight disappointment that Aldo isn’t getting this shot, I’m looking forward to this fight a lot. Easy babyface vs heel divide as well. I’m fully hoping Aljo wins this one decisively. If TJ’s on though, it won’t be easy. But I don’t know what to make of TJ at this point. He took his lumps in that Sandhagen fight, came out with the W but it was a rough one. And yeah, MMA maths is bollocks but I can’t help thinking when you look at how Sandhagen did against the other top 135ers in Yan and Sterling, then compare that to how he did vs Dillashaw. He had a lot more success against TJ. I don’t know if that was just a styles thing, or TJ’s layoff or what. But that combined with TJ’s USADA controversy and now being out another year with a knee injury, and on top of that he’s 36 years old and been going 12 years. I’m just wondering if his time at the elite level is up anyway. Then add in that Sterling will be in the opposite corner, younger but pretty much just as experienced, has been way more active etc. I might be way off the mark but it just feels like this could be a bad night for PED Dibiase. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.



Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. What an odd bit of matchmaking this is. Pretty much the last opponent I expected them to pick for O’Malley. Goes against the whole M.O. they’ve seemed to have of protecting him as much as possible. Why the sudden change of direction? Has O’Malley criticised Dana publicly or something, complained about fighter pay? Don’t get me wrong, I like it. But it really surprised me when this one got announced. I was fully expecting them to feed poor old Frankie Edgar to Suga next. This was a swerve nobody saw coming.


Of course, Yan’s the former champ, has wins over Jose Aldo, Cory Sandhagen, Urijah Faber, is coming off a close decision loss to the champ Sterling. He’s one of the top players in the Bantamweight ranks currently and an all around vicious little cunt. Given how the Sterling rematch went back in April, I wouldn’t even have been shocked if they’d have gone with Sterling vs Yan 3 next. I’m glad they didn’t but with how close it was and how erect they get over rematches, it seemed like a real possibility. Instead we get this.


O’Malley’s coming off a weird No Contest against Pedro Munhoz in July. He was 15-1 coming in, the lone loss being against Chito Vera in 2020. Since then he’d rattled off 3 stoppage wins over a faded Thomas Almeida, a last minute fill-in Kris Moutinho and a so-so Raulian Paiva. He looked good in the wins but the opposition didn’t tell us all that much and it didn’t seem like he or the UFC had much interest in stepping him up. So I was happy when they made the Munhoz fight. Munhoz didn’t have a great recent win/loss record but he’s experienced, game and durable enough that he’d never been finished in 28 fights against some of the best in the sport. Two years after the Chito loss, finally a proper test. Then the fight started, not a great deal happened, Munhoz was scoring with leg kicks, got poked in the eye and the fight was over. Like the Sterling-Yan 1 aftermath, Munhoz got roundly shat on and called a quitter by the O’Malley fans, who insisted O’Malley was on the verge of ending Munhoz’s life before the unfortunate ending. Bunch of delusional cobblers that. He probably lost the first round if anything.

This matchup came completely out of the blue but I’m all in. Should be all kinds of fun for however long it lasts. And I wouldn’t even fully count O’Malley out. He’s gonna be a lot bigger in there and he hits hard. You can never just dismiss someone like that. Yan really should be winning though. The two times we’ve seen O’Malley in there with legit upper mid/top level opposition, it was Chito and Munhoz. And he didn’t look nearly as much of a threat in there with them as he did against last legs Eddie Wineland and guys of that ilk. On the other side, Yan’s been consistently fighting at a much higher level and been mostly winning. The two recent blemishes are the Aljo fights but that’s a tad misleading because he was handling Aljo before the DQ the first time and there wasn’t much in it between them in the rematch. The main danger for Yan here is he has shown a tendency to switch off and coast at times. I felt like that cost him late in the Aljo rematch. And he got off to a slow start in the Sandhagen fight as well. He can’t be doing that here because I’d say O’Malley’s only real shot is landing something big early on. Really like the fight though. It’s pretty much heel vs heel for me but if I’ve got to choose a side then I’m hoping Yan messes him up.



Beneil Dariush vs Mateusz Gamrot is a belter that’s really flying under the radar on this card. As much as I love it when they stack cards up like this, this is a fight I’d have liked to see headline a Fight Night over 5 rounds. It feels like a potential #1 contenders fight and I like seeing them get 25 minutes to play out if possible. Although, I totally get why it’s on this card. You have to think they’re planning for the worst here. If either Oliveira or Makhachev drop out of the main event, here’s two valid backup options. Granted, it would be a big comedown from the current main event but as replacements go, having these two training to make weight and be in shape and sharp for this specific date isn’t a bad idea, is it? Hopefully it’s not necessary though because I’d really rather see Oliveira vs Makhachev and this fight.


Dariush is a guy who’s been racking up wins for some time now and arguably has as strong a claim to the title shot as Makhachev does. He was supposed to fight Makhachev in February but pulled out with an ankle injury. And going back a bit further, he was even linked to a fight with Oliveira in 2020 but Oliveira withdrew. He’s been in and around that mix for a bit. Just waiting for his chance. He’s 21-4-1 now, a really strong grappler, BJJ black-belt, trained Muay Thai with Chute Boxe original Rafael Cordeiro as well so can definitely handle himself on the feet. He’s on a 7 fight winning streak as well and won a lopsided decision over Tony Ferguson in his last fight in May 2021. The layoff since hasn’t been ideal and his absence seems to have made people forget and not appreciate him, but he’s got the skills to give a lot of guys serious problems. And I’m talking high ranking names too. Hopefully he can stay healthy now and we start seeing everyone fight everyone. He’s got his hands full here though.


Gamrot is on a roll. He’s 21-1-0-1 and after dropping a razor close decision in his UFC debut against Guram Kutateladze, he’s won his last 4 fights in the Octagon. Finished Scott Holtzman, Jeremy Stephens and Carlos Diego Ferreira. Then in June, he took a points win off fellow rising contender Arman Tsarukyan in a great 5 rounder. I think I had Tsarukyan winning myself but it was a tremendous fight and neither came out of it looking any less a future title challenger. One of those fights where both guys stock kind of went up but Gamrot came away with the win so it’s onwards and upwards. This is a big one for him. He’s getting that brush with one of the top Lightweights quicker than many do. Like I say, it’s hard for a relatively new face in the division to bag these fights. But Dariush is ranked #6 currently. Gamrot is at #9. A win here would catapult him right into an almost undeniable spot. Especially with most of the other Top 5ers already having title shots recently. If he can finish a guy like Dariush, he might find himself as the only fresh face in the Top 5. If he doesn’t get a title shot off that, he should at least get a big name which would keep him in the convo.



Katlyn Chookagian vs Manon Fiorot was originally supposed to go down on the Paris card in September but both ended up scratched from the card for different reasons. Shame really because it would’ve been a better fit on that card with Fiorot being one of the more promising French fighters on the roster. Oh well. Maybe it’s a blessing because no doubt Chookagian will be looking to make this as dull and unenjoyable as possible. To be fair to her, I did like her fight with Amanda Ribas in May. I just didn’t like the result. I’ve said it before, Chookagian isn’t a shit fighter, she’s just shit to watch. She’s effective at what she does, which is usually the absolute bare minimum required to win on points. Not for me. The Ribas fight was more watchable but on the whole, Chooky’s awful to watch. In an odd way though that intrigues me here. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen of Fiorot so far. She’s 9-1 with 6 knockouts, her one loss was a split decision in her MMA debut against Leah McCourt. Since then she’s been on a roll. Hasn’t beat a who’s who but she got what I consider her first litmus test in March against Jennifer Maia and passed with flying colours. This is a very interesting one. Chookagian might be the trickiest fight in the division, outside Shevchenko of course, just because she’s such a spoiler and she’s happy to tap away and win a stinker sparring session if necessary. I’m looking forward to seeing how Fiorot tries to tackle that.



Belal Muhammad vs Sean Brady is an interesting one, although it mightn’t play out to be a very entertaining fight on the night. I get the feeling none of the other top names at 170 were overly enthusiastic about fighting either of these two so it’s a case of the matchmakers just throwing their hands up and saying ‘fuck it, put them against each other’. Strategic matchmaking as well because while both are good, neither have been pleasing to watch in recent fights and by pairing them off against each other, you’re guaranteed to eliminate one of them from the title race. The problem is halved overnight! In fairness, Belal did fight Demian Maia and Wonderboy Thompson back-to-back. Two guys notorious for being awkward and tricky to really shine against. They mightn’t have been great to watch but Belal won both fights. He then totally shut down Vicente Luque in their headliner in April. Again, wasn’t the best to watch though and Luque is usually in barnburners. But while his style recently isn’t gonna gain him a fan following, there’s something to be said for a guy who can just take an opponent’s strengths away and nullify the fuck out of him. It’s not my favourite to watch but in a sport where fighters only get half their potential earnings if they lose, it’s hard to hold it against guys who play it safe to get the show and win money. The UFC only have themselves to blame for that really. Brady is kind of similar as well, although not as experienced at the higher levels. He’s undefeated at 15-0 with 7 finishes. Only started to step up a bit last year when he subbed Jake Matthews and then decisioned Michael Chiesa late in the year. Good grappler but from what I recall his striking is a bit iffy.



Makhmud Muradov vs Caio Borralho is a sleeper for me on this card. It’ll get lost in the shuffle on this show and I totally get why, but it could be a real undercard highlight. Muradov signed with the UFC back in 2019 and came in with some buzz about him. A lot of it was just because he was managed by Floyd Mayweather but he’d also shown he was his own man in the cage. He was already 22-6 when he entered the Octagon for his debut and over the next 18 months or so, he won his first 3 fights in the UFC in impressive fashion. The most memorable being the fucking devastating KO he inflicted on poor Trevor Smith.


About as clean a knockout as I’ve seen in MMA. Just brutal. That was December 2019 and Trevor Smith hasn’t been seen since. I hope he’s alright, and I don’t mean that in a smart arsed way at all. It was a really bad knockout. Muradov also beat Alessio Di Chirico on points and knocked out Andrew Sanchez. Maybe the most impressive thing about these wins though, was he’d taken all of them on short notice. He was a late replacement in all 3 fights. Madness. It all went to shit in August last year though. He took on good old Gerald Meerschaert, finally had a full camp and was giving Gez a right hiding early on. But Meerschaert’s durability got him through it and he subbed Muradov later in the fight. He’s looking to rebound here and he’s in with DWCS standout Borralho. He’s 12-1-0-1 and looks a bit of a handful. He looked great in his UFC debut in April but it had a flat ending due to him throwing an illegal knee. Then in July he beat Armen Petrosyan by just grappling the arse off him for 3 rounds. Wasn’t much fun to watch as Petrosyan really had nothing for him on the ground. But Borralho looked like a force and I feel like there’s gonna be a lot better to come from him. I remember he called out Du Plessis after, which could’ve been fun, but DDP probably has bigger fish to fry for now. Maybe one for the future though.



Volkan Oezdemir vs Nikita Krylov is a decent fight at 205. Fairly quick turnaround for both as well. They both fought on the London card in late July. Oezdemir won a decision against Paul Craig, Krylov broke some hearts by ending any chance of Alexander Gustafsson having one last run.


Just crushed everyone’s hopes in 1:07. These are just supporting cast members really in the Light Heavyweight division. The kind of guys that’ll have their moments and they’ll win just enough to stick around for donkeys years, but they’ll never make real waves in the title mix. And that’s fine. Not everyone’s a title threat. And at least these guys are very rarely in bad fights. Side note but I was happy to see Oezdemir return to the slaphead look in July. The whispy hair wasn’t working for him and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he immediately got back in the win column once he got the old Bic razors out again. As the Featherweight division has found out, Bald Volks are in style at the moment.



Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. Christ almighty. Where did these two get their names from, a fucking scrabble bag? This is one of the few fights on this card that I couldn’t really give a shite about. Abubakar is surely the most underwhelming of the Nurmagomedov clan. He’s 16-3-1 and aside from a 2016 win in the PFL over John Howard, he’s pretty much done fuck all in an 11 year MMA career. He’s been in the UFC now since 2019, has only fought twice and he’s 1-1. Subbed by David Zawada in his debut, missed all of 2020, beat Jared Gooden in March 2021, then will have been inactive another 18 months or so by the time this happens. Omargadzhiev at least sounds like he’s got a bit of something about him. He’s 13-1 with 11 finishes, got in through winning on DWCS last October but lost his UFC debut against Caio Borralho. Hopefully he sends Boobcar packing.



Armen Petrosyan vs AJ Dobson. Can’t pretend I’m arsed about this but maybe it’ll be a pleasant surprise. Petrosyan is Armenian, 7-2 with 6 knockouts. He won by headkick KO on DWCS and actually beat everyone’s favourite Barack Obama lookalike Gregory Rodrigues in his UFC debut. It was a split decision and I vaguely recall thinking ObaMMA should’ve won but whatever. Petrosyan shat the bed in his next fight when he got a 15 minute grappling lesson from Caio Borralho. Dobson is 6-1-0-1 and lost a decision to Jacob Malkoun in his Octagon debut in February. I’d never heard of him before that but he’s another DWCS guy.



Muhammad Mokaev vs Malcolm Gordon will be worth a look. The next step in Mokaev’s journey. Unbeaten at 8-0-0-1, a bunch more fights on the amateur circuit etc. And he’s just turned 22 at the end of July. He’s got so much potential but there’s a long way to go obviously. He’s 2-0 in the UFC now and we’ve only seen him fight in London. He had about as perfect a debut as you could dream of on the March card. Flying kneed Cody Durden’s face in then throttled him in just 58 beautiful seconds. In July he got a tougher test against Charles Johnson. Mokaev dominated to a shutout on the scorecards. It wasn’t the most thrilling fight to watch and there was some criticism aimed at Mokaev but it’s worth remembering he’s 22 fucking years old. He’s far from the finished product. What he’s showing now is very promising but you can’t expect him to look like prime Jose Aldo already. Give him time. He might completely fizzle out, he might settle somewhere in the middle or he might just be something special. It’s too early to judge now though and people seem to want to do that. There’s a lot of road left for him to travel. This is a decent and logical enough next step. Gordon is a decade older at 32, he’s 14-5 and has knocked about a bit winning various titles in different promotions. He’s suffered some losses so he’s got his flaws but he’s also mixed at a higher level than Mokaev has and is coming off a couple of wins including a decision over Francisco Figueiredo last summer. It’s a fight I think someone with Mokaev’s talent should be winning, even at this early stage of his career. But you just never know.



Lina Lansberg vs Karol Rosa. Nothing fight really and this card really didn’t need anything else added, did it? It’s already bursting at the seams. Lansberg 40 years old now, 10-6 record and coming off back-to-back losses. Well I say back-to-back but there was a 2 year gap in between them. She took time out to have a baby. Came back in April and lost on points to Pannie Kianzad. It was pretty low level, sloppy stuff but I remember enjoying it a bit more than I expected to. And in fairness to Lansberg, all things considered she didn’t look too bad for a 40 year old coming off a huge layoff. It’s going nowhere though sadly. Rosa’s 27 with a 15-4 record and lost a decision to Sara McMann last time out in March. She was on a 6 fight winning streak before that, although I use the word ‘streak’ loosely looking at the names she beat. Not much to see here. Lansberg’s on borrowed time and I barely remember Rosa but from what I’ve seen I’m not sold on her. Piss or snack break match if you’re watching live, or a skim through job the next day.


OK that’s enough. This has gone longer than a Monday at work. 


Edited by wandshogun09
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

Great write up Wand, fantastic stuff. Really enjoyed reading that. What a doozy of a main card that is. If that stays together as is, it'll be up there on paper as one of the top 2 or 3 cards of the year. 

I'm also a big fan of the decision to have top contender fights on the show in the divisions that the title fights are taking place in. It makes perfect sense to do that with how prevalent drop outs are. By planning ahead like this it also means the back up possibility is in camp, t aiming hard and quite likely going to be fine making weight. Still surprised they jumped Sean O'Malley up to Petr Yan level though, after he failed to impress against Munhoz. 

Edited by WeeAl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members
On 8/13/2022 at 10:54 PM, wandshogun09 said:

As the Featherweight division has found out, Bald Volks are in style at the moment.

Maybe Aleksandr Volkov should bust out the razor too, the HW division could do with a shot in the arm.

On 8/13/2022 at 10:54 PM, wandshogun09 said:


That's "Carboob" to you, sunshine.


As always, amazing write-up. You know how people were mentioning on here how Shamrock was the reason they got into MMA? 

No joke - your write-ups are the reason I got into it. Simply put, I didn't know where to start, and you made it really accessible. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, wandshogun09 said:

You’re definitely not. Social media is choc-full of Oliveira worshippers and Makhachev haters these days. Definitely seeing way more support for Charles.

Oh and cheers @Carbomb

I mean on here. Social media doesn't matter worth a fuck when it comes to MMA. This is where the real stuff happens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Paid Members

Oh I’m definitely rooting for Oliveira. I’m more of a fan of him, prefer watching his fights, prefer his personality (not that Makhachev’s even shown any) and I’ve loved his rise from weight missing, inconsistent Featherweight to the champion at Lightweight who’s finishing all these top guys in barnburners. It’s nothing to do with disliking Makhachev or Khabib or the team for me, it’s more because there’s probably not a 155er in the world I’d root for over Oliveira. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • Paid Members

Just under 3 weeks to go so plenty of time for changes but this is how the card and bout order is looking at the moment. 



When Jailton Almeida and Muhammad Mokaev are on the Fight Pass stream you know it’s a loaded card. 

Edited by wandshogun09
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...