#1 Charles Oliveira vs #4 Islam Makhachev (Vacant Lightweight Championship)
Quite possibly the most anticipated fight of the year, The uncrowned King of the Lightweights is Charles Oliviera, and he will challenge Islam Makhachev for that title this Saturday at approximately 5 pm EST live in UFC 280. Charles missed weight in his last fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, so even though he won in dominant fashion to continue his 11-fight win streak, Oliveira was stripped of the title. Makhachev on the other end is on a 10-fight win streak and has 4 finishes in a row.
This fight is stylistically an anomaly in the MMA world. The wrestler vs the jiu-jitsu artist. Each are arguably the very best in the entire UFC at their skill. Oliveira, a 3rd degree black belt in jiu jitsu has the most submissions in UFC history by a wide margin but has transformed into a complete mixed martial artist, earning a TKO victory over Michael Chandler to earn the title. While Islam Makhachev is a Combat Sambo Master and a longtime trainer in the world famous Nurmagomedov Camp, with former champion and divisional "goat" Khabib Nurmagomedov. Islam is considered the second coming of the Nurmagomdov name and feels it's his legacy to reclaim the title his team never lost.
Prediction: Charles Oliveira by 3rd round TKO
C Aljamain Sterling vs #2 T.J. Dillashaw (Bantamweight Championship)
The return to championship fights for T.J. Dillashaw has been a long three years, but this Saturday it will come to fruition as he will challenge Aljamain Sterling for the Bantamweight strap. For Sterling, it will be his second title defense of his reign atop the 135-pound division.
In March of 2021, Aljamain became the first fighter in UFC history to win a belt via disqualification, when Petr Yan illegally kneed Sterling as the fighter was grounded. Leading up to the knee, Yan was clearly beating Sterling on the cards, making their eventual rematch at UFC 273 a fight where Yan was a 4-to-1 favorite. Sterling would end up proving all doubters wrong winning the first three rounds and cementing his title reign with his first title defense via unanimous decision.
On the other hand, in January of 2019, T.J. Dillashaw was Bantamweight champion and would challenge Henry Cejudo for his Flyweight tile trying to make champ-champ history. Unfortunately not only would he be finished in the first round, his drug sample would turn positive for E.P.O.s, a banned substance that increases red blood cell count and increase stamina and performance. He served a two-year suspension and was thrown right back to the wolves in a #1 contender fight with Cory Sandhagen in his return. Dillashaw would win via unanimous decision and be thrown right back into the title picture of the belt he never lost, trying to become the Bantamweight division's only three-time champion at the age of 36 years old.
Prediction: T.J. Dillashaw by Unanimous Decision
#1 Petr Yan vs #11 Sean O'Malley (Bantamweight #1 Contender Fight)
Before we get to the Bantamweight title fight however, we will first determine the next #1 contender for it, as former champion Petr Yan will face off against arguably the most popular superstar in the organization, "Suga" Sean O'Malley. Yan lost his title in embarressing fashion getting disqualified, then in his attempt to gain it back was out wrestled by Sterling to put two losses on his previously flawless UFC resume. With his previous 3 fights coming against the likes of Aljamain Sterling and #3 contender Cory Sandhagen, Yan is taking on a new challenger by the likes of the #11 contender Sean O'Malley.
The media hype for the 27-year old Arizona native has been nothing short of spectacular. He has been the center of every episode of the UFC 280 embedded series, (a series of youtube videos that document the biggest fights arrivals to the fights and their week prior at the venue.) He also has had a meteoric social media rise ever since he won in Dana White's contender series in 2017. O'Malley has never beaten a ranked opponent, but has faced them before resulting in a record of 0-1 (1NC). This step up in competition is drastic as he now takes on the best striker and former champion Petr Yan.
The biggest trait in this fight is the size difference. Both fighters weighed in at 136 pounds during the weigh-ins this morning, however Sean O'Malley will have a 4-inch height advantage and a 5-inch reach advantage. This bodes extremely well for the + 210 underdog O'Malley, if not for Yan's previous experience with taller and lankier opponents like Sterling and Sandhagen.
Prediction: Petr Yan by Unanimous Decision
#9 Mateusz Gamrot vs #6 Beneil Dariush (Lightweight Fight)
This fight may be the most polarizing on the card. The Newcomer prospect Mateusz Gamrot is 19-1 in his career and on a 4-fight win streak in the UFC. He will face the veteran Beneil Dariush tonight who himself is in the midst of a 7-fight win streak.
Gamrot is a big favorite in this fight mainly due to his high-level grappling which he trains for amongst the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and his camp. Another reason he is a 2-to-1 favorite is because of Dariush's inactivity over the last 17 months due to a Broken Fibula injury in February this year. The injury turned out to be not as bad as it first seemed and Dariush needed only 2 months to recover from surgery and start rehab.
Dariush comes into this fight with an extensive wrestling background and, while it may not be quite as complete as Gamrot's, is more than serviceable enough to stuff Gamrot's onslaught and keep the fight standing, where Dariush seemingly has the edge.
Prediction: Beneil Dariush by Unanimous Decision
#1 Kaitlyn Chookagian vs #7 Manon Fiorot (Woman's Flyweight Fight)
The only fighter not to make weight for this card is Kaitlyn Chookagian, who officially weighed in at 127 lbs, 1 pound over the woman's flyweight limit. She will take on the fastest rising fighter in their division, Manon Fiorot who is a 2-to-1 favorite. Fiorot is 4-0 in the UFC and seemingly not lost any of the 8 rounds she has competed in.
Chookagian has held the #1 contender spot for the Woman's Flyweight division for almost a full year and has pieced together a solid 4-fight win streak of her own, defeating higher ranked fighters than Fiorot all being in the top-10 at the time of the fight.
This fight will almost assuredly go all 3 rounds and will be a stand up war for every second. Fiorot's aggressiveness will contrast well with Chookagian's defensive striking. With Chookagian's length and height advantage, experience in high profile fights that go the distance and overall confidence, we're taking the underdog here.
Prediction: Kaitlyn Chookagian by Split Decision
#8 Sean Brady vs #5 Belal Muhammed (Welterweight Fight)
Let's start off by saying this fight has serious implications in the Welterweight division. However, this fight very well may be the most boring fight on the card to the general viewer of this PPV. This fight will be a grappling contest, full of tough clinch-work and takedown attempts. The trick to deciding who will win this fight is whether or not those takedown attempts will prove to be successful or stuffed.
Sean Brady will be the one instigating most of these takedowns. He comes into this fight with a record of 15-0 and 5-0 in the UFC. Brady averages 3.2 takedowns in his career and just under 3 in the UFC. What's most impressive about Brady is his ability to keep fighters down once he has him there. In his last 4 fights Brady spends an average of 42% of the time in control on the ground. That number may seem average to some of you, but we assure you that that statistic is ridiculous and proves that if Brady gets you down, you don't get up.
On the other hand his opponent Belal Muhammed has one of the greatest takedown defenses in the entire UFC. Muhammad has stuffed 23 of 24 takedowns in his last 6 fights. Granted 20 of 21 of those came from one fight against a 43-year old Demian Maia in his last fight, but that means besides the Maia fight, Muhammad hasn't been taken down in his last 5 fights. This fight will pit Muhammed against the best wrestler he's ever faced however. Muhammad is also a very good wrestler as he too has been training with Khabib but for this fight will assuredly use that to keep Brady off of him and keep the fight standing where Muhammad has a clear advantage.
Prediction: Belal Muhammed by Split decision
Caio Borralho vs Makhmud Muradov (Middleweight Fight)
This fight holds my favorite pick on this card and his name is Caio Borralho and it is by submission. Caio Borralho is 12-1 (1NC) and 4-0 in the UFC with wins against very dangerous opponents, opponents who have a very similar skillset as his opponent tonight Makhmud Muradov.
Borralho is a wizard on the ground with intense wrestling pressure that has given him 3 unanimous decision's his career. However, Muradov was a victim to a submission in his last fight and Borralho has claimed to be gunning for a submission in this fight.
Prediction: Caio Borralho 2nd Round Submission
#10 Nikita Krylov vs #8 Volkan Oezdemir (Light Heavyweight Fight)
A very under-hyped fight comes in the form of Volkan Oezdemir versus Nikita Krylov in a fight that will surely produce fireworks. Oezdemir and Krylov are both heavy hitters and are looking to make a run into the top-5 of the Light Heavyweight division.
Both fighters are 3-5 in their last 8 fights. However Krylov doesn't have a win against a top-15 fighter at the time of the their fight, while Oezdemir's 3 wins have all come against top-15ers in Illir Latifi, Aleksander Rakic and Paul Craig. Both fighters are past their prime but Oezdemir still has a lot of gas in his tank and has the ability to outlast Krylov here.
Prediction: Volkan Oezdemir by Split Decision
Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs Gazhi Omargadzhiev (Welterweight Fight)
Another Nurmagomedov is being mentioned here and the 4th fighter in Khabib's camp to compete on this card. His opponent will be Gazhi Omargadzhiev, who's only loss in the UFC is to aforementioned Caio Borralho at Middleweight, will be making his debut in the UFC's Welterweight division.
Abubakar is somewhat different form the rest of the fighters in his camp as he is more of a stand-up fighter. His only loss in the UFC came from a triangle choke after his takedown was countered into the hold. This fault amongst others has caused Nurmagomedov to focus on his highly precise striking for his fights. His opponent will look for takedowns but Abubakar should be able to stuff them and impose his will throughout the fight.
Prediction: Abubakar Nurmagomedov by 3rd Round TKO
This fight card should be the greatest of the year capped off with one of the most competitive Main Event Championship fights of the year as well. The stars are shining on this card as Charles Oliveira and Sean O'Malley are both looking to secure wins and light up the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
This card will start at 10:30 am EST and go all the way to 6 pm EST. MMA Complete Podcast will host their regular PPV Live Reactions on their twitter and Youtube channel as well as FansOnlySportz many social medias. Check them out and enjoy the PPV tonight
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