Charles Oliveira will face Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title in the headline event of UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

Oliveira has long been viewed as the defending lightweight champion, though the fight will be for the vacant 155-pound belt at the Etihad Arena on October 22.

The Brazilian secured the title last year after knocking out Michael Chandler before defending his title against Dustin Poirier in December.

But Oliveira surrendered his belt after he failed to make the weight for his next defence in May against Justin Gaethje, who he then defeated by submission in a non-title fight at UFC 274.

Retired former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will be backing team-mate and long-time friend Makhachev in the United Arab Emirates, with the former winning his last 10 UFC fights in a row.

Oliveira has also triumphed in his last 11 consecutive bouts, including 10 finishes, setting up a highly anticipated fight between two of the most talented fighters in the world at present.

Yet Oliveira will pose the toughest task Makhachev has faced in UFC, given Dan Hooker and Arman Tsarukyan are the only two top-15 lightweight fighters the Russian has defeated in his 11 UFC wins.

Charles Oliveira denied Justin Gaethje from claiming his vacated UFC lightweight championship, winning via submission in the first round at UFC 274 on Saturday.

Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight belt he held after missing weight, meaning only Gaethje could win the title on Saturday.

After a furious opening exchange, the 32-year-old secured an 11th consecutive victory, reaffirming his status as the most dominant fighter in the division.

Extending the UFC record for the most submission wins (16) and most finishes (19), the Brazilian made his status in the division clear despite the vacated title.

"There's something missing here. The champ has a name and his name is Charles Oliveira," he said post-fight.

"This is a message to the entire division. I'm a problem for the entire division, look at my team.

"Dana White, I don't care who you put in front of me. I will take them all on."

Gaethje came out the blocks quickly and landed some big shots but critically allowed his opponent to stand back up after he was knocked down.

Given that breathing room, Oliveira recovered immediately, planting a right-hand to get Gaethje down on the ground and then showed composure, not seeking ground-and-pound but a submission.

Gaethje gave up his back after wriggling out of an initial attempt at a triangle, and Oliveira took advantage from there with a rear-naked choke.

Esparza wins as Chandler makes vicious KO

In the co-main event, Carla Esparza claimed victory over Rose Namajunas in a controversial 47-48 49-46 48-47 split decision, to claim the UFC women's strawweight championship.

In what was a very tepid bout, Namajunas effectively left her fate and belt in the hands of the judges, allowing Esparza to make sporadic forays and takedowns.

It was very different to the other lightweight bout of the night, where Michael Chandler scored a breathtaking knockout win over Tony Ferguson in the second round.

After an exciting first round, Chandler ended the fight early with an explosive front kick, catching Ferguson on the chin.

Charles Oliveira has been stripped of his belt after failing to make weight for his lightweight title fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. 

The Brazilian will still take on Gaethje in Nevada on Saturday but a victory would only see the lightweight belt remain vacant. Should Gaethje win, however, he would be crowned champion. 

Oliveira initially weighed in half a pound over the 155lb limit and was unable to shift it after being granted an extra hour. 

The UFC did not confirm what fine Oliveira would face for failing to make weight for the main event. 

Oliveira won the lightweight championship after it was vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov by beating Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May 2021. 

He then mounted a successful defence against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in December.

Charles Oliveira retained his UFC lightweight title as he staved off the challenge of former interim champion Dustin Poirier via submission at UFC 269 in Nevada on Saturday.

Poirier had come into the fight looking to claim Oliveira's title as champion following back-to-back wins over Conor McGregor but was beaten in the third round by rear-naked choke.

The American had started well, unsettling Oliveira and dropping him to the ground with a first-round left hook. Oliveira repelled the barrage and responded with a left hook of his own late in the first.

Oliveira, known as one of the greatest submission artists in UFC history, floored Poirier in the second round, landing hard elbows.

In the third, Oliveira put Poirier into a clinch against the cage, taking his opponent's back and finding the choke that would lead to the submission.

“I’m the world champion. I’m the man. They talk, I do it," Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC) said after the fight after his 10th win in a row. "I'm gonna walk forward. They can hit me a lot." Oliveira has the most finishes (18) and the most submission wins (15) in UFC history.

Pena pulls off massive shock over Nunes

Julianna Pena produced a major upset as she submitted double champion Amanda Nunes in the second round of their bantamweight title fight.

Pena (11-4) stunned Nunes, who had not lost since 2014, despite the Brazilian appearing well in control early, before the American started landing strikes (79-46 according to UFC stats).

The submission came at 3:26 in the second round as Pena grounded Nunes before locked in a rear-naked choke.

"Don't ever doubt me again," Pena said after the fight. "She tapped and I asked the commission, 'Is it over?' He said, 'Yes, you won.' It didn't [seem real]. It feels crazy. But I expected to win. The world is my oyster. You have the ability to do anything you want in this life."

Charles Oliveira made a narrow escape from the first round against Michael Chandler at UFC 262 before ending things in a hurry in the second. 

Oliveira (31-8) dropped Chandler with his first punch after the break and won by TKO 19 seconds into the second round to claim the UFC lightweight title in Houston. 

In his 28th UFC fight, the Brazilian earned his first strap, a belt left vacant when the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov decided to retire. 

Chandler (22-6) had won the first round 10-8 on two judges' scorecards and 10-9 on the other, but he could not put Oliveira away. 

Once the 31-year-old had a chance to compose himself, he showed his class with a single shot. 

It was Oliveira's 17th career finish, moving him past Donald Cerrone for the most in UFC history. 

In the co-headlining bout, Beneil Dariush dominated Tony Ferguson to win unanimous decision.

The defeat was the third in a row for Ferguson (25-5), the former UFC lightweight interim champion, who previously lost by unanimous decision to Oliveira at UFC 256 in December. 

The Iran-born Dariush (21-4-1) said his seventh consecutive win should put him in the conversation in the lightweight ranks, but he plans to take the next several months off as his daughter is due to be born in June. 

Also on the card, Rogerio Bontorin defeated Matt Schnell and Katlyn Chookagian beat Viviane Araujo, both by unanimous decision, while Edson Barboza knocked out Shane Burgos at 1:16 in the third round. 

For the second time in as many UFC events, an undercard fight ended with an apparent broken limb. 

Brazilian veteran Jacare seemed to break his arm in losing by technical submission to Andre Muniz at 3:59 in Round 1. It was the first loss by submission for the 41-year-old Jacare (26-10).

At UFC 261 a fortnight earlier, Chris Weidman broke his leg landing a kick on Uriah Hall. 

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