Islam Makhachev forced the greatest finisher in UFC history to tap. In the process, Makhachev crowned himself the new undisputed lightweight champion.
Just over three minutes into the second round, Makhachev dropped Charles Oliveira with a right hand before locking in an arm-triangle choke that forced Oliveira to submit.
The loss halted an 11-fight UFC lightweight win streak for Oliveira (33-9 MMA, 21-9 UFC), who would have tied Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest winning streak in UFC lightweight history had he been victorious. Nurmagomedov, of course, had a cageside view for the fight as a part of Makhachev's corner, and he was extremely animated during the victory celebration.
Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) hurt Oliveira on his feet and the ground. Oliveira invited Makhachev to the mat, but that domain belonged to Makhachev, who also rattled Oliveira with a strike to the skull in the first round. While striking initially appeared to be an advantage for Oliveira, that was never the case in this bout.
The future for Makhachev is planned out. All signs point to him fighting featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who would move up to the lightweight division. That leaves Oliveira in a tough position, likely needing a victory – potentially against Beneil Dariush – to re-enter the title conversation.
Sterling dominates Dillashaw in title defense
Sterling's ground-and-pound was too much for Dillashaw, forcing the referee to stop the fight with just over a minute remaining in the second round. Dillashaw (17-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) entered the fight in a compromised position, as his left shoulder kept popping out of its socket. Sterling (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) applied pressure the entire first round, landing a takedown in the opening minute and controlling the rest of the round.
Dillashaw's shoulder was massaged back into place in between rounds, but Sterling stayed on the injury. The fight certainly showed the toughness of Dillashaw, which helps his reputation after getting suspended for using a banned substance, but this was a complete and utter domination.
While Dillashaw is a former two-time champion, there is no doubt that the bantamweight division now belongs to Sterling.
O'Malley earns split decision in all-out brawl vs. Yan
Yan was bloodied, bruised, and temporarily blinded in one eye during the fight, so O'Malley certainly earned the victory. But it was an unexpected decision, as Yan had over five more minutes of control time and six more takedowns. The most impressive shots took place in the second round, with a left hand from O'Malley that stunned Yan, who responded with a ferocious left. Every time Yan got hit, he landed a vicious counter – but it is O'Malley who will move on for a shot at the bantamweight title.
Yan (16-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) has plenty of reasons to be frustrated by the decision, but O'Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) put forth impressive rounds in the first and third. The sight of blood gushing near Yan's eye likely played a factor for the judges, and it is important to note that Yan was unable to capitalize on the majority of his takedowns.
O'Malley challenging for the title is an exciting proposition for the bantamweight division. Following that performance, there is absolutely no reason to doubt him.
Dariush downs Gamrot in lightweight bout
Dariush (22-4-1 MMA, 16-4-1 UFC) excelled in the second and third rounds, capitalizing on his knees and left hand to win his eighth in a row. He also ended the four-fight win streak of Gamrot (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who desperately needed this victory to place himself right outside the top five of the lightweight division.
After a competitive first round, which ended with Gamrot a slight step ahead and dictating the pace, the next 10 minutes belonged to Dariush. He landed a couple of significant jabs and a big knee to the body, his takedown defense was superior, and he took control of the pace of the fight. The exclamation point came in the third, when Dariush landed a massive left, one that could be heard from Abu Dhabi to Vegas.
Dariush solved the Gamrot puzzle in impressive fashion, taking a giant step toward the title picture.
Fiorot beats Chookagian via unanimous decision
Fiorot (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) has now ripped off 10 wins in a row, but none more impressive than this showing against Chookagian (18-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC), who had entered on her own four-fight win streak. Her grappling was strong and she never allowed Chookagian to gain momentum at any point throughout the three-round bout.
The only slight blemish on the victory is that it is recorded at catchweight instead of flyweight because Chookagian missed weight. But that is not on Fiorot in the least bit. She was outstanding, placing herself in the title conversation for a shot at Valentina Shevchenko.
Complete UFC 280 results include:
MAIN CARD (ESPN+ pay-per-view)
- Islam Makhachev def. Charles Oliveira via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:16 – to claim vacant lightweight title
- Champ Aljamain Sterling def. T.J. Dillashaw via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:44 – to defend bantamweight title
- Sean O'Malley def. Petr Yan via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Beneil Dariush def. Mateusz Gamrot via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Manon Fiorot def. Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPNews, ESPN+)
- Belal Muhammad def. Sean Brady via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:47
- Caio Borralho def. Makhmud Muradov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Nikita Krylov def. Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Armen Petrosyan def. A.J. Dobson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Muhammad Mokaev def. Malcolm Gordon via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 4:26
- Karol Rosa def. Lina Lansberg via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
This story first published at SI.com/MMA.