Charles Oliveira, Islam Makhachev to fight for vacant lightweight title at UFC 280 in October

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 07: Charles Oliveira of Brazil prepares to fight Justin Gaethje (not pictured) in their UFC lightweight championship bout during UFC 274 at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Former champion Charles Oliveira will look to recapture the lightweight title later this year in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev, two of the greatest grapplers in the UFC, will meet for the lightweight title on Oct. 22 at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Makhachev has not signed but his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, said he’d verbally agreed to terms. Oliveira, the former champion who was stripped of the belt at the weigh-in on May 6 prior to UFC 274 for missing weight, posted an emoji of a pen on Twitter on Saturday, indicating he’d signed.

The UFC formally announced the bout shortly after Yahoo Sports first broke the news.

Oliveira has been campaigning for a fight with former champion Conor McGregor since his finish of Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, but it does not appear McGregor would be available in time. If Oliveira wins and regains the championship, it would make a fight with McGregor even more lucrative financially with a title at stake.

Oliveira’s win over Gaethje was his 11th in a row. In his last four fights, he’s decisioned Tony Ferguson, knocked out Michael Chandler and submitted Dustin Poirier and Gaethje.

Makhachev is 22-1 and has won 10 in a row since his only loss, a TKO 1:46 into a fight with Adriano Martins at UFC 192 on Oct. 3, 2015. That was just his second UFC fight.

Makhachev’s last four wins have been submissions of Drew Dober, Thiago Moises and Dan Hooker and a KO of Bobby Green.

Oliveira has clearly fought better opposition but Abdelaziz has been vocal in his belief that Makhachev is the best grappler in the UFC.