FightWatch- UFC 280 (22/10/2022)
By Mick Robson
UFC returns to Abu Dhabi, which means a ridiculous time difference and no chance in hell of me watching this live. I think I went to bed half an hour before the first prelim. Anyway, a loaded card. Charles Oliveira has the opportunity to regain the Lightweight Championship that the scales took from him, but he has a surging Islam Makhachev in his way. TJ Dillashaw and Aljamain Sterling are both on redemption paths in different ways, fighting for the Bantamweight Championship. The rising star, Sean O'Malley, has the biggest test of his young career, taking on former champion Petr Yan.
Plus, much, much more.
Let's do this!
Fight 1: (W-135) Karol Rosa def. Lina Lansberg via majority decision (29-27 X 2, 28-28)
Fight 2: (125) Muhammad Mokaev def. Malcolm Gordon via submission (armbar) at 4:26 of R3
Fight 3: (185) Armen Petrosyan def. AJ Dobson via unanimous decision (30-27 X 3)
Fight 4: (170) Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev via unanimous decision (29-28 X 2, 30-27)
Fight 5: (205) Nikita Krylov def. Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 X 2)
Fight 6: (185) Caio Borralho def. Makhmud Muradov via unanimous decision (30-27 X 2, 29-28)
Fight 7: (170) Belal Muhammad def. Sean Brady via TKO (punches) at 4:47 of R2
Fight 1: (Catchweight- 127.5) Manon Fiorot def. Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: Most of this fight took place on the feet between two skilled strikers, but they often seemed to cancel each other out, with defense meaning that little strikes landed, a lot of strikes missed- Jon Anik noted that both fighter's striking accuracy was below 30% in R3. Fiorot was able to string together more combinations and a little more aggression down the stretch, and also briefly grounded Chookagian with a takedown in the final round. Good win for Fiorot, but this won't be in Fight of the Year considerations by any means.
Fight 2: (155) Beneil Dariush def. Mateusz Gamrot via unanimous decision (30-27 X 2, 29-28)
Thoughts: A lot of grapplng and sprawling in the opening round, with Gamrot pressuring Dariush, but the grappling defense was too good. As the fight went out, Dariush really made Gamrot pay for takedown attempts by throwing vicious knees to the body, and really started putting his striking together, scoring well with punches and kicks at various levels. In the 3rd round, Dariush dropped Gamrot with a cracking overhand, but Gamrot still fought on, looking to put on forward pressure and continuing to attempt takedowns. Very entertaining fight, where the veteran underdog cemented his spot in the lightweight rankings.
Fight 3: (135) Sean O'Malley def. Petr Yan via split decision (29-28 X 2, 28-29)
Thoughts: Regardless of what you think of the result, Suga Sean proved himself as a legit high-level fighter. Super fun fight where they traded heavy strikes and hurt each other. Yan did score some takedowns, but O'Malley was also good on defense and prevented any major damage on the ground. R3 was particularly fun, with O'Malley turning it up and Yan shooting like hell for takedowns. 6 minutes of control time for Yan, but Suga Sean gets the close nod. I could see it either way- control is the last consideration of the scoring, and O'Malley definitely got a lot of damage on the former champ. Would love to see these two run it back to get a more definitive result.
Fight 4: UFC Bantamweight Championship- Aljamain Sterling (c) def. TJ Dillashaw via TKO (punches) at 3:44 of R2
Thoughts: What a unfortunate situation this whole fight was. In the first takedown, TJ's shoulder was dislocated, and he's in visible pain defending against Aljo's ground game. He somehow survives the round and his corner pops it back in, and comments from referee Marc Goddard seem to indicate this was a pre-existing issue before the fight. In the second round, it pops back out, and Sterling takes advantage, getting him to the ground and landing strikes, forcing Goddard to call it. Can Sterling get a fight without controversy or extenuating circumstances?
Main Event: UFC Lightweight Championship- Islam Makhachev def. Charles Oliveira via submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:16 of R2
Thoughts: Makhachev had the perfect skillset to deal with Oliveira. A suffocating top game, with enough pressure and submission defence to avoid every threat Do Bronx was throwing up, and beating him up with some ground and pound. And he's got heavy hands, as we saw in R2 where the fight stayed on the feet, until a huge right hand drops Oliveira, right into the strong arm triangle choke. Islam stops Oliveira's 11 fight win streak, and really almost made it look easy!
Post-fight, UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski steps into the Octagon to congratulate the new lightweight champ. Sure looks like that's up next in Perth in early 2023!