Makhachev chokes Oliveira to claim UFC lightweight crown

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ABU DHABI – Islam Makhachev scored a sensational submission victory over Charles Oliveira to claim the lightweight title and Aljamain Sterling defeated TJ Dillashaw by TKO to claim the bantamweight belt at UFC 280 at Etihad Arena on Saturday.

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Makhachev capped his rise to the lightweight throne with a brilliant arm triangle choke victory over Brazilian Oliveira, the UFC record holder for submission wins with 16.

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Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight belt in May when he missed the weight for his title clash with Justin Gaethje and although he beat the American, the title remained vacant, setting up the showdown with the Russian Makhachev.

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After spending much of the first round defending and trying to threaten with submissions on his back, Oliveira tried to keep the fight on its feet in the second round.

This tactic seemed to pay off until he was hit by a punch from Makhachev, who wasted no time jumping on his opponent, locking the choke and forcing the tap for Oliveira.

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Makhachev dedicated the victory to his late coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who died in 2020, saying: « Many years ago he told me to train hard and I will be champion », before handing the belt to Khabib Nurmagomedov who succeeded his father as Russia’s coach and is a former UFC lightweight champion himself.

His 11th submission victory puts Makhachev, 31, at a record 23 wins and one loss as a pro.

In the co-main event, Dillashaw, who had to relinquish the belt and serve a two-year suspension after testing positive for EPO in 2019, suffered a dislocated shoulder early in the first round, but managed to cross the first frame.

Defending champion Sterling didn’t let go and Dillashaw’s shoulder came out in the second round, allowing the 33-year-old Jamaican American to overpower and dominate him until referee Mark Goddard s ‘stopped.

“I probably took him out about 20 times in training camp…I told the ref in the back that my shoulder was probably going to come out so we’ll put him back in so if it doesn’t stop (the fight)” said American Dillashaw in his post-fight interview.

In the other big fight on the main card, American Sean O’Malley won a close split decision over Russian Petr Yan after a three-round fight to take pole position for a shot at the bantamweight title.


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