ABU DHABI: UFC returns to Abu Dhabi on Oct. 22 as Charles Oliveira takes on Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight championship at Etihad Arena on Yas Island.
UFC 280 will be the latest event held in the UAE capital as part of a landmark partnership between the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization and the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, which began in 2019.
October will also see the return of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week running from Oct. 17-23, headlined by UFC 280 and consisting of other sports and entertainment ancillary events, organized by Flash Entertainment.
Oliveira, fighting out of Sao Paolo, Brazil with a record of 33-8-1, will be looking to regain the vacant title after his recent dominant victory over Justin Gaethje. The Brazilian became champion with a second-round stoppage of Michael Chandler in May 2021, before defending successfully against Dustin Poirier seven months later.
However, due to Oliveira missing weight, only Gaethje was eligible to take the title when the two met in May this year. Despite this, Oliveira secured a first-round submission win to cement his place at the head of the division’s rankings, extending UFC records for most finishes (19) and most submissions (16) in the process. His sights will be firmly set on taking back the title in Abu Dhabi.
Makhachev (22-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Dagestan) is already a crowd favorite in Abu Dhabi, following bouts with Davy Ramos and Dan Hooker in the UAE capital, in 2019 and 2021 respectively. A product of the famed Nurmagomedov team, Makhachev is on a 10-fight winning streak, having stopped Bobby Green in the opening round of his last outing. A gifted ground fighter, Makhachev has 10 submission wins during his MMA career, and will be looking to add Oliveira’s name to his winning streak by claiming the lightweight title in front of what will effectively be a home crowd in Abu Dhabi.
Also on the card, No. 5 ranked UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad aims to defend his spot in the rankings against fast-rising No. 9 ranked Sean Brady.
Muhammad is currently on the best run of his UFC career, being unbeaten in his past eight fights including victories over Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. He now looks to add another statement performance to his resume and stake his claim for a shot at the title.
Undefeated prospect Brady plans to continue his momentum from wins over Michael Chiesa, Jake Matthews and Chistian Aguilera and break into the Top 5 for the first time. He now intends to put his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt skills to the test and become the first man to submit Muhammad.
Tickets for UFC 280 go on general sale at 1 p.m. GST (Gulf Standard Time) on Friday, July 22.