Oliveira was tapped out by Makhachev in the UFC 280 headliner on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The fight was for the vacant lightweight title after Oliveira lost the belt due to a botched weigh-in ahead of UFC 274.
Oliveira struggled to stop Makhachev’s wrestling despite a competitive first round on the ground. He managed to survive a majority of Makhachev’s early ground strikes and even attacked from the bottom position as well in the first.
In the second round, Makhachev secured a takedown off of a perfectly executed trip before sinking in an arm-triangle choke for the win. He became the latest Dagestani UFC champion and the first since his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov.
As for Oliveira, the loss ends an incredible series of wins in the Octagon, including title fight victories over Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier. Despite suffering from the jaws of defeat, Oliveira is taking the loss in stride.
Charles Oliveira Breaks Down Loss To Islam Makhachev
During his UFC 280 post-fight press conference, Oliveira gave his first thoughts after the loss to Makhachev.
“There’s nothing much to say,” Oliveira said. “Today, he was better than I was. He was able to do things when I wasn’t, and he was able to actually get his game going, which was basically put me down and work that — I mean, there’s nothing much to say.”
When further pressed on what went wrong against Makhachev, Oliveira looked ahead to a future shot at redemption.
“We are fighters. Today, Makhachev was better than I was. We’re fighters. That’s bound to happen. There are days when you’re going to be better than other people; there are days when they are gonna be better than you,” Oliveira continued. “Nothing much to do, and we’re going to meet again.”
Before the loss to Makhachev, Oliveira had won 11 straight fights at lightweight. He earned the then-vacant lightweight title over Michael Chandler at UFC 262 before successfully defending it against Poirier last December.
Assuming Oliveira remains at lightweight for the foreseeable future, he has no shortage of big-name opponents to face off with to get back into contention. He could opt for rematches with Gaethje and/or Poirier, or fight UFC 280 main card winner Beneil Dariush.
Oliveira has also previously called for a fight with Conor McGregor when he held the lightweight belt. A timetable for McGregor’s return is uncertain, although a fight with Oliveira in a non-title bout could make sense now.
For now, Oliveira will look to re-group and bounce back from his loss at UFC 280. If his previous performances are any indication, he expects to be a part of the lightweight title picture for a long time.
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