Islam Makhachev began his first championship reign in the UFC with an impressive submission win over former Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira at UFC 280.
Makhachev’s reign was long predicted by the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the godfather of the Dagestani dynasty in UFC and MMA, who believed Makhachev would pick up the mantle after Khabib Nurmagomedov retired.
His words came true in the second round of the main event of UFC 280 when Islam Makhachev dropped Charles Oliveira with a counter right before immediately following him to the ground, which his previous opponents were reluctant to do, to lock in an arm triangle choke, forcing a tap from the Brazilian.
Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight belt in May when he missed the weight for his title clash with Justin Gaethje before beating the American to set up a showdown with Russian Makhachev for the vacant title.
For Makhachev, it was his fifth consecutive win by submission and it came against the man with the most submission wins in UFC history which is no easy feat.
Alexander Volkanovski (25-1) is expected to challenge him next with the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound champ is coming off his fourth title defence in July and has announced his intent to move up in weight.
In the co-main event, Aljamain Sterling defeated an ailed T.J Dillashaw to retain the Bantamweight title while Sean O’Malley won a split decision over Russian Petr Yan to put himself in pole position for a shot at the bantamweight title.