Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev vacant title fight set for UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi

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Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will determine the next lightweight champion at UFC 280.

Oliveira (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC) will attempt to regain the belt he lost on the scale in May when he meets Makhachev (23-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) on the Oct. 22 card at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The promotion announced the vacant championship bout on Saturday’s UFC on ABC 3 broadcast.

Oliveira, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie lightweight rankings, is currently riding an 11-fight winning streak. His involvement in title bouts began at UFC 262 in May 2021 when he knocked out Michael Chandler to claim the strap that had been relinquished by Khabib Nurmagomedov when he retired. “Do Bronx” subsequently submitted Dustin Poirier for the first defense of his reign.

But then Oliveira missed weight ahead of his scheduled title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 earlier this year and was forced to forfeit the gold. He went on to submit Gaethje, and UFC president Dana White promised he would be part of the next title fight. Oliveira has since campaigned for a showdown with Conor McGregor in his next fight, but he ultimately signed on for Makhachev.

No. 3 Makhachev, meanwhile, will bring a 10-fight winning streak into his first UFC title opportunity. The pupil of UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov has been dominant outside of a lone loss in October 2015, racking up wins over the likes of Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, Arman Tsarukyan, and Gleison Tibau.

The latest UFC 280 lineup now includes:

  • Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev – for vacant lightweight title

  • Sean Brady vs. Belal Muhammad