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.

Justin Gaethje said it is "preposterous" if Conor McGregor gets a title shot following his shock loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 as he threatened to quit the octagon.

McGregor was sensationally knocked out in the second round by Poirier in Abu Dhabi, where the Irish star was fighting for the first time in 12 months, while it was just his third appearance in the UFC since the start of 2018.

The former lightweight champion has already called for a third bout against Poirier, who he beat in 2014, and McGregor's coach John Kavanagh wants a rematch to be a title showdown.

But should president Dana White and UFC give McGregor a title contest, American Gaethje (22-3) said he will definitely consider his future.

"For them to come out and say he wants a title shot next, rematch with Poirier, they're f****** i*****," Gaethje, who has not fought since his defeat to unbeaten champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, told ESPN.

"He's been treated special over and over and he didn't capitalise on this opportunity. That event was for him, it was for him to win.

"He wants to be Mr. Humble now, but you know he would have been an a****** had he won that fight. I don't feel bad for him, I'm happy for Poirier, I'm happy Poirier went out there did his job, and finished him.

"I love seeing a loudmouth get knocked out, there is nothing that makes me happier. Seeing a piece of s*** get put down, that was great, I loved it.

"He's not fighting for a title. I will think about never fighting in the UFC again if he fights for a title. That would be preposterous. He's sitting at number six, he's won one fight in his entire life in the lightweight division.

"He picks and chooses who he fights. I would love to fight him but I don't think it should be next. But he ain't gonna fight me."

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