UFC 280 LIVE: Oliveira’s brutal ‘truth’ to Makachew for vacant lightweight title
Former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will get a chance to reclaim his belt when he takes on the highly-touted Islam Makachew in the UFC 280 main event on Sunday.
Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) lost his title after missing weight at UFC 274 in May, taking care of Justin Gaethje in the first round, but is still a champion without his crown.
That could change on Sunday, however, as he faces a tough test in Makhachev (22-1), one of the UFC’s rising stars.
Makachev, coming into Sunday’s fight on a 10-fight winning streak, will try to silence doubters that he is not facing the elite competition he deserves for the title.
Oliveira told UFC 280 Embedded that he believes Makhachev fought because of his association with former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I think we have to respect my opponent. Islam has a 10-fight winning streak. He’s very smart in his game,” Oliveira said.
“However, I think he’s riding his wave, it’s not his, it’s Khabib’s. That’s the truth. This match is happening because Khabib made it happen. Not because of Islam’s own merits. Because, in my opinion, he has to fight against. The top five contenders.
But here he is, with a chance to take on Oliveira, despite the two clashing earlier in the week with Makache demanding the fight take place in Du Bronx’s home country of Brazil.
“When they announce the fight in Brazil, I ask Dana, ‘Please, my team is ready,'” Makachev said.
“Let’s go. I want to do it in Brazil.” We hear about Brazil many times. If you don’t know this, ask Dana.
But Oliviera hit back: “This fight shouldn’t happen in Brazil. You are stupid all the time.
“At any point, you never want this fight to be in Brazil. You never mentioned Brazil,” he added.
Yan, a former bantamweight champion, is ranked second in the division, 10 places ahead of O’Malley, who was hoping to continue his rise with a win over Pedro Munhos earlier this year.
That fight came to an abrupt end after an accidental eye poke, and O’Malley had to wait for a chance at a signature win that would have ensnared him in a title shot.
It comes against the dangerous Yan this weekend, but O’Malley is waiting for the moment.
“I’m going to surprise a lot of people in this fight,” O’Malley told Sports Illustrated.
“You’re going to see how good I really am. People know I’m a certain level, but I believe I’m a level above what they expect. This is going to be my breakout fight, and who better to do it against than a guy who’s seen as the scariest bantamweight in the division?”
Oliveira v Makachev tape tape
MMA record: Oliveira 33-8 (1 NC), Makachev 22-1
Age: Oliveira 33, Makachev 31
Height: Oliveira 5’10”, Makachev 5’10”
Weight: Oliveira TBC, Makhachev TBC
Reach: Oliveira 74”, Makhachev 70”