The first PPV of 2023 has come with plenty of switchups. Initially, Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria was supposed to headline the card in Toronto, Canada, on the 20th of January. That then shifted to a potential matchup between Max Holloway and Topuria. But now, per Ariel Helwani, the UFC is looking at Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira 2 for the headliner of UFC 297.
This five-round title fight occurs in the Lightweight (155 lbs) division.
Islam Makhchev is the Champion of the Lightweight division and is ranked #2 in the Pound-For-Pound rankings. He claims a professional record of 25-1 (14-1 UFC) and holds notable wins over Alexander Volkanovski, Charles Oliveira, and Arman Tsarukyan.
Charles Oliviera is ranked #1 in the Lightweight division and #9 on the Pound-For-Pound scale, with a professional record of 34-9-1NC (22-9-1NC UFC) and noteworthy wins over Beniel Dariush, Justin Gaethje, and Dustin Poirier.
Official odds: Islam Makhachev -350, Charles Oliveira +275, per BestFightOdds.com November 4th 5:00 PM EST.
Despite Jon Jones holding the #1 PFP ranking, many fans view Islam Makhachev as the greatest fighter in the world right now. The phenom from Dagestan, Russia, has not lost since 2015 and is coming off three of the most impressive victories a fighter could claim. He started by submitting Charles Oliveira to capture the Lightweight title, and since then, has defeated the dominant Featherweight Champion, Alexander Volkanovski, by decision at UFC 284, and in his last fight, KOed the Champion with a brutal head-kick to retain the title. He now looks to make the third defense of the Lightweight title as he moves closer to becoming one of the UFC GOATs.
Charles Oliveira was heartbroken when he fell out of his fight at UFC 294, where he was supposed to get his redemption vs. Islam Makhachev after losing the title in 2022. It turns out we won't be waiting long to see Oliveira back in there. The fan-favorite fighting out of São Paulo, Brazil, captured the attention of the world during his run of title fights between 2021-2022, where Oliveira finished Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje in a whirlwind of title bouts. Now, "Do Bronx" is looking to reclaim the title in Canada, where he made a home in his last fight. Oliveira ran through Beniel Dariush back at UFC 289, also in Canada, finishing the fight via first-round TKO. Now, the stars have aligned for Oliveira to attempt to become the first-ever two-time UFC Lightweight Champion.
This is the fight we've all been waiting for, and hopefully, we'll see it go down on Canadian soil. So, who do you have winning? As a member of the Verdict Community, let us know your precision in the comments below.