One of the most anticipated fight cards this year has just concluded as UFC 280 did not disappoint at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The main card had some impressive wins and nice finishes. The main event was headlined by Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev for the Lightweight title and the co-main event featured Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw for the Bantamweight title. A lot of questions were answered at UFC 280. Let's recap what took place on the main card of UFC 280.
Islam Makhachev finishes Charles Oliveira in the second round via submission. A great fight while it lasted, Makhachev proved doubters wrong as he submits Oliveira. The fight started off with the classic Oliveira pressure and Makhachev appeared to have hurt him with an overhand left. Oliveira pulls guard and takes the fight to the ground. Makhachev managed not to get caught by any submission attempts from Oliveira and was doing a nice job with his pressure. In the second round, Oliveira came out and Makhachev knocked him down to the ground. Makhachev proceeded to follow him to the ground and get the arm triangle on Oliveira. That was the beginning of the end and Oliveira tapped. Makhachev becomes the new Lightweight champion and calls out Alexander Volkanovski in his post-fight interview in the octagon. For Oliveira, it wasn't his night, and he is determined to make a run back to the title. Oliveira is still one of the best fighters in the world and Makhachev proved at UFC 280 that he is the new man to beat in the Lightweight division.
Aljamain Sterling earns a TKO victory over TJ Dillashaw in the second round. Sterling looked incredible for as long as the fight lasted but Dillashaw did not look like himself in the octagon. He entered the fight with a left shoulder injury and Dillashaw dislocated it in the first round in the first couple of minutes. The audience can tell that he compromised off the bat and it was going to be very hard to stay competitive in the fight. Credit to Sterling for still displaying his dominant wrestling style and getting the finish in the second round. Sterling did what he had to do and looked great in successfully defending his belt. Sterling has looked dominant as of late and it'll be interesting to see whom he defends his title against next.
In the featured fight, Sean O'Malley faced his biggest test yet against former Bantamweight champion Petr Yan. The first round started off great for O'Malley as he found his range early and started to find his success on the feet. He was picking his shots while Yan was trying to find his rhythm. Toward the end of the round, Yan started to pick it up with his striking and secured a takedown at the end. Yan started much better in the second round and had the biggest moment in the fight. After O'Malley stunned Yan early in the second round, Yan fired back and rocked O'Malley hard. Yan swarmed him and was putting relentless pressure after. After two great rounds, the fight only got better in the last round. O'Malley connects with a knee to the head of Yan, and it left him with a bad cut. Yan was dripping pints of blood and O'Malley seemed to have enough stamina to still pour it on him. Yan continued to fight back and was connecting with some of his own powerful shots. In the end, O'Malley outstruck Yan while Yan secured more takedowns. The first round was controversial to score as the second round went to Yan and the third round went to O'Malley. The judges had it as a split-decision win for O'Malley in one of the best fights of the year. This is without question the biggest win of his career.
If you are a fan of grappling, this was the fight to watch. Mateusz Gamrot and Beneil Dariush started the fight in a high pace grappling affair. The sweeps and wrestling transitions between the two were so fun and technical to watch. Gamrot got the better of the grappling exchanges in the first round by securing takedowns and having more success in the scrambles. Dariush found a lot more success in the second round with his striking on the feet. He landed a few knees to the body and nice shots to the head. Dariush started to let his hands go and it was paying dividends for him. In what appeared to be a winner takes all for round three, both men came out firing. Dariush continued to have success on the feet as he dropped Gamrot late. Coming back strong after the first round left no doubt for the judges. Dariush earned a unanimous decision victory and has now won eight consecutive fights.