The vacant UFC Lightweight Title will be on the line at UFC 280 when recent champion Charles Oliveira battles top contender Islam Makhachev. The event takes place Saturday, October 22 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The main card also features a bantamweight title match between champion Aljamain Sterling and former two-time champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Makhachev (22-1) is the latest top fighter to come through the American Kickboxing Academy, a group that includes Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier and Tai Tuivasa. He is a -180 favorite to win the title at DraftKings Sportsbook.
During Makhachev’s current 10-win fight streak he stopped his last four opponents by submission or knockout, including his most recent opponent Bobby Green. Makhachev finished Green by TKO in the first round after Green agreed to the fight on about 10 days' notice.
The failure to secure big fights for Mahkachev has been a big story in itself. On three occasions Mahkachev and former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos agreed to fight, but dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19 the first time and pulled out a second time after an injury suffered in camp. Mahkachev forced the third cancellation when he had a staph infection.
Mahkachev was also scheduled to fight Beneil Darush in February, but Darush pulled out of the fight with an ankle injury, paving the way for Green as an injury replacement.