UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi at the Etihad Arena is poised to be one of the best tournaments in recent years. There hasn’t been such an abundance of top fights in various divisions in a very long time. The title fights of Oliveira and Makhachev, Sterling and Dillashaw will be a real firecracker in the lineup of tough prelims. Despite Tugukhov’s failed weight, Russian fans will be able to watch Jan vs. O’Malley, Nurmagomedov vs. Omargadzhiev and Ukrainian Krylov fight. In general, there will be something for all martial arts fans to watch at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.
It will be possible to watch a free live fight on the evening of October 22 on 1ufc.net. To watch all the fights online, simply go to the site, open the UFC tournament and enjoy all the events in the octagon without registration.
Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev
In the main event, the top two lightweights according to the community will face each other: The current champion, 33-year old Brazilian Charles Oliveira (33-8) and number 4 in the light heavyweight rankings, 31-year old Russian Islam Makhachev (22-1). They will determine who will be the next UFC lightweight champion. Makhachev could repeat the achievement of his friend Khabib Nurmagomedov and win the title.
Oliveira meets Makhachev with an 11-match unbeaten streak, including wins over Michael Chandler, Dustin Porter and Justin Gagey. That trio looks incredibly impressive, but Oliveira didn’t give them a chance at a decision. Oliveira was stripped of his title before his bout with Gagey due to an undrafted weight, but even without the belt, it’s obvious that this Brazilian is incredibly strong. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt holder last lost in the promotion in 2017 to Paul Felder. Since then, only Ferguson has lived up to the judges’ decision.
Makhachev lags behind Oliveira in the number of consecutive wins, he has “only” 10. But it doesn’t detract from the merits of the Dagestani. Islam suffered his only loss in the UFC back in 2015 against Adrian Martins. The last 4 victories were gained by knockout, which indicates a strong striking technique. Many Makhachev’s haters say that Khabib arranged the title fight for him by making a deal with Dana White. But it’s silly to deny Makhachev’s excellent winning streak and his real claim to the title. Yes, in some fights he had the wrong opponents, they were taken off the card because of injuries. The level of his rivals says something minus for the Daghestani: not one of the top ten of the current rating, if we do not count Arman Tsarukyan.
The fact that Oliveira is not afraid to start fighting and likes grappling makes the fight more exciting. And with Makhachev both sides are traditionally strong. They have radically different styles, the Brazilian is sharper and more dangerous in the clinch, but Makhachev is stronger in the clinch. The main fight of UFC 280 will be powerful.
Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw
The 33-year-old American Aljamain Sterling (21-3) hopes to successfully defend his featherweight title for the second time after a solid win over another UFC 280 competitor, Petr Yang. But American veteran T.J. Dillashaw (18-4), 36, is looking to make history as the first man to win the featherweight title three times.
Sterling has two wins under his belt over Yang, one of them unrecognized due to a dangerous blow to the Russian’s head. But the second one is a well-deserved win by split decision. This win allowed him to retain the welterweight title, before beating Jan, Sterling defeated Cory Sandhagen and Pedro Muñoz. The Funkmaster looks very powerful in all aspects, including wrestling. Dillashaw’s is extremely weak.
After a break of more than two years, Dillashaw returned last summer and won by split decision over Cory Sandhagen in one of the best fights of 2021. He defended the title three times since 2014, until he fell to Dominick Cruz at UFC Fight Night 2016. He was able to regain the title nearly two years later, defeating Cody Garbrandt in two straight fights. But Sehudo at UFC Fight Night 143 snapped the veteran’s defensive streak again. Dillashaw returns to the octagon with the goal of joining Randy Couture and becoming the second man to win the same UFC title three times.
We’re in for a classic grappler vs. puncher bout. Sterling showed in his rematch with Ian that he can work effectively on the ground and has a lot of stamina. Dillashaw will have the advantage if he can impose a counter on his opponent. The 36-year-old American has experience in five-round fights.
Peter Ian vs. Sean O’Malley
Before Sterling and Dillashaw fight for the bantamweight title, two other title contenders in the same division will fight in the octagon. Ian (16-3), 29, had already taken the belt twice before, but gave it away in his next fight, both times to current champion Sterling. The 27-year-old American Sean O’Malley (15-1) is one of the new stars of the modern promotion, a bright and atypical fighter.
Ian should recover from his split-decision loss to Sterling in April, and he knows the Abu Dhabi Octagon well – he beat Sandhagen in a five-round bout last October and won the interim title. O’Malley, because of an accidental poke in Pedro Munoz’s eye, wasn’t able to show what he’s capable of.
Ian doesn’t need any publicity, he’s a tough fighter with a championship record, and O’Malley has been getting publicity from the UFC for the past few years. And now finally the champion of The Ultimate Fighter will be given a real chance to make a name for himself. This fight will be incredibly important for both fighters. The Russian has to prove to everyone that he is not a fake champion and can fight Sterling. The American needs to finally justify the advances given to him in a big way.
Volkan Ozdemir vs Nikita Krylov
In the heavyweight title fight two striking punchers will face each other: Volkan Ozdemir, 33-year-old Swiss (18-6) and Nikita Krylov, 30-year-old Ukrainian (27-9).
Ozdemir is firmly entrenched in the welterweight division and has proven he can give a fight to anyone in the top 5. He comes into his fight with Krylov after a unanimous decision win over Paul Craig, where he showed great fighter IQ, repeatedly refusing the Scottish master’s touchdowns on the canvas. All 10 fights of Ozdemir’s UFC career have come against ranked opponents, including two champions and two title contenders. Yes, his record is only 6-4, but few can boast such a challenging fight calendar. Defeats to Cormier, Smith, Prohazka and Ankalajev are not unusual, Ozdemir showed good fights, except for the knockout of Prohazka.
Krylov ended Gustafsson’s career in his last fight, but don’t consider that a great accomplishment. In his previous fight, Krylov made a serious mistake by falling to Craig’s guillotine, but he lost to Ankalaev by unanimous decision. Krylov has had a lot of fights, with a 9-7 record in the UFC. There’s no reason to believe the Ukrainian is capable of climbing to the top, but he can certainly put on a spectacular fight. All of Krylov’s recent defeats were from true monsters of the octagon, there are fewer and fewer chances to reach the next level.
The pair were supposed to meet two years ago, but Ozdemir dropped out due to injury. Both had convincing victories at UFC Fight Night in London and it will be interesting to see who will have the advantage when the opponents find themselves on the canvas this weekend in Abu Dhabi.