Islam Makhachev has had enough of the doubters.
Now, no one can question the greatness of one of the UFC’s rising superstars, with Makhachev dominating former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira to take the vacant belt.
Makhachev, who is coming into Sunday’s fight on a 10-fight win streak, silenced his doubters who would claim he has not faced elite competition to deserve a title shot.
He can now lay claim to being the first man to finish Oliveira since 2017.
Watch UFC280: Oliveira v Makhachev LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo, Sunday 23 October from 15am AEST. ORDER NOW >
Dillashaw dislocates shoulder in defeat | 01:28
Daniel Cormier said pre-fight that Makhachev’s camp had put over $1 million into preparing for this opportunity.
“They paid money to get this guy prepared,” he said.
“This guy has been in Abu Dhabi and Dubai getting ready. He has been ready to go this entire time. All the stones have been unturned. If he can’t get the job done with all that was put into this camp, he will not be a champion.”
Oliveira opened the fight with a body kick as Makhachev fired back with a few heavy hooks, including a hard left hand.
“It look like it hurt him,” Cormier said in commentary.
Makhachev was both sharp on his feet and, as expected, able to dominate on the ground while also avoiding any potential submission attacks from Oliveira in the opening round.
While Oliveira looked dangerous from his back, Cormier wondered whether it was wise for him to spend too much time on the mat.
“The longer he does that the more Charles Oliveira feels good defending takedowns,” Cormier said.
But Oliveira did not end up having any choice when Makhachev dropped him and then submitted the former champion to take the vacant lightweight title.
Speaking post-fight, his coach and UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov called out pound-for-pound king and next lightweight challenger Alexander Volkanovski.
“Now is our plan, fly all the way to Australia and fight in the pound-for-pound king’s back yard, Volkanovski,” he said.
“Where is the short guy?” Makhachev then asked, with Volkanovski then entering the octagon to accept the challenge.
Cormier believes Volkanovski could pose plenty of problems for Makhachev, although as he added, Oliveira was also expected to be a serious challenge for the Russian too.
Instead, Makhachev made the biggest statement of his career.
“That’s the issue,” Cormier said.
“That is where Alexander Volkanovski could present some problems. He builds a gameplan and the team at CityKick Boxing and Freestyle Fighting Gym build gameplans that allow for him to be so spectacular.
“I believe his footwork, his ability to follow said gameplan, could cause Makhachev some problems. Do I anticipate that? I don’t know because Charles Oliveira is as good as anyone and as good on the ground as anyone and on the feet as anyone.”
‘THIS IS MADNESS’: BRAVE DILLASHAW STUNS UFC WORLD IN DEFEAT
Aljamain Sterling did plenty of trash talking in the lead-up to Sunday’s fight but he backed it up in the octagon too, dominating T.J. Dillashaw in a second-round TKO win to defend his bantamweight belt.
There were immediate problems for Dillishaw, who was pictured wincing after Sterling secured an early takedown, with suggestions he had dislocated his shoulder.
Sterling showed no mercy, maintaining his position on top and while unable to get the rear-naked choke, he went to the ground-and-pound to keep the pressure on.
Dillashaw somehow refused to give in, eventually getting up again with his shoulder still dislocated, outstriked 70-6 in the opening two minutes of the fight.
“I can’t believe he made it,” Paul Felder said in commentary.
“His toughness is on another level.”
That toughness continued to carry Dillashaw into the latter stages of the second round but at that point he was just barely surviving, not looking any threat of taking the fight.
Sterling once again had Dillashaw down on the mat and was brutally destroying him with ground-and-pound, prompting the referee to step in and end the fight.
Speaking post-fight, Dillashaw revealed that he blew his shoulder out in April and had dislocated it 20 times during fight camp.
He also said that he had warned the referee in advance, urging him to not stop the contest because of it.
“I wasn’t going to wait another year to get a shot,” Dillashaw said, explaining why he did not pull out of the fight.
INSANE SCRAP STUNS AS O’MALLEY TAKES CONTROVERSIAL WIN
Rising superstar Sean O’Malley appears destined for UFC greatness, and his stunning surge has now seen him overcome the number one bantamweight contender Petr Yan in a stunning war.
Across three action-packed rounds, O’Malley – the 11th-ranked contender entering the fight – outlanded his rival to claim a very, very tight split decision win (29-28×2, 28-29.)
He is now on a fight-five unbeaten streak (16-1,1 NC) and looks set for a title fight, capping a truly remarkable rise in the sport but there was plenty of controversy surrounding the decision.
Sugar Sean pips Petr but cops huge boos | 01:02
UFC 280 FULL CARD AND RESULTS
Main card (from 5am AEDT)
Charles Oliveira d. Islam Makhachev via submission (arm-triangle choke) – lightweight championship
Aljamain Sterling (c) d. TJ Dillashaw via TKOs – bantamweight championship
Sean O’Malley d. Petr Yan via split decision – bantamweight
Beneil Dariush d. Mateusz Gamrot via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Manon Fiorot d. Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Belal Muhammad d. Sean Brady via TKO (strikes), 4:47 of round 2
Caio Borralho d. Makhmud Muradov via decisive decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Nikita Krylov d. Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Abubakar Nurmagomedov d. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Armen Petrosyan d. AJ Dobson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Muhammad Mokaev d. Malcolm Gordon via submission (armbar), 4:26 of roun1
Karol Rosa d. Lina Lansberg via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
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