UFC 280 went down last Sat. (Oct. 22, 2022) inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, leaving several fighters feeling the post fight blues. Among them was T.J. Dillashaw, who not only suffered a shoulder dislocation, but a technical knockout (TKO) loss to bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (see it here).
And former 135-pound titleholder Petr Yan, who suffered his third loss in his last four fights after coming up on the wrong end of a split decision nod against division standout Sean O’Malley. But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into his headlining title bout against Islam Makhachev, Oliveira was riding an 11-fight hot streak with his last loss coming four years ago. Along the way, “Do Bronx” took out some of the best in the division including Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje (in that order). It’s an impressive resume to say the least, which is why many were hailing him as a better champion than Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Against Makhachev, though, he was facing an “Eagle” disciple who is Nurmagomedov’s top student and the chosen one to become future champion. And Makhachev proved all those predictions right by dominating the fight from start to finish. He showed off improved striking against an opponent who has a reach advantage and seemed more than happy to take it to the ground against one of the most feared jiu-jitsu practitioners in the game.
After Oliveira missed on a flying knee, Makhachev clipped him with a solid right hand that dropped him. Now, keep in mind Oliveira does have a knack for getting dropped in fights — only to come back stronger This time around, however, he ran into someone that was not going to let him off the hook so easily. Instead, Makhachev quickly dove in to get his position and surprised everyone by submitting the grappling expert with an airtight arm triangle that had “Do Bronx” tapping seconds into the hold.
It was a crushing loss for the Brazilian, who failed to reclaim the title after he was stripped of the belt in his previous fight as a result of a wonky scale fail. But not all is lost for the former champion because he is still just 33 years old and has plenty of time to make another run at the lightweight crown (and a potential Makhachev rematch).
As for what’s next for Oliveira, he will probably take some time to regroup before he gets back to the drawing board. He has already taken out the Top 5 (minus Makhachev) so rematches are probably not something he’s looking for at the moment. There’s always Beneil Dariush, who will have to sit on the sidelines to see how Makhachev fares against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
If Dariush doesn’t want to wait and prefers to lock down his title shot and get paid, perhaps he may want to convince his management team to seek a fight against Oliveira. For “Do Bronx,” taking out Dariush could expedite his way back to a title shot. I’m not totally convinced that’s the fight to make, but at this stage there really isn’t anyone else that makes too much sense for “Do Bronx.”
For complete UFC 280 results and coverage click here.