UFC 280 Review

Aljamain Sterling controls T.J. Dillashaw on the ground during their Bantamweight world title fight. Mandatory Credit: MMAJunkie-USAToday

The UFC 280 main card started at One PM Central time on Saturday and featured two title fights (Lightweight, and Bantamweight) as well as a number of highly ranked matchups. Islam Makhachev dethroned former Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, in the main event. Aljamain Sterling also went home victorious in his championship fight against T.J. Dillashaw.

Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveira

The main event of UFC 280 was a highly anticipated title fight between the former champion Charles Oliveira and Russian superstar Islam Makhachev. Oliveira holds the record for most submissions in UFC history, while Makhachev is a Sambo World Champion.

The first round was very close with both fighters showing their skills. Islam was able to take Oliveira down briefly at the start of round one. But Oliviera quickly got back to his feet. Oliveira showed impressive boxing while trying to keep Makhachev off of him in round one but was taken down again as the round ended.

The second round of this fight was the best of Islam Makhachev’s young career. In round two Islam was able to separate himself from the former champion. During a quick exchange, Makhachev was able to knock Oliviera down with a beautiful left-hand mid-way through round two. On paper, this was supposed to be a competitive matchup when the fight went to the floor. That is not what we saw on Saturday afternoon however as Islam Makhachev finished Oliveira in round two by Submission (via Arm Triangle). This fight improved Makhachev’s record to (23-1). Makhachev will have some interesting matchups coming very soon, it looks like he will be defending his title next against the P4P #1 fighter in the world Alexander Volkanovski.

UFC 280 – Aljamain Sterling vs T.J. Dillashaw

The title fight between Aljamain Sterling and T.J. Dillashaw had tensions flaring all week. Before the fight rising superstar and Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling took offense to Dillashaw and his two-year absence from the sport for PED’s. He believed that Dillashaw was not apologetic for his actions and taunted the former champion about his USADA violation. Dillashaw desperately wanted to silence the critics and capture the 135-pound title for the third time.

This fight was over almost as soon as it started, however, as Dillashaw’s shoulder was dislocated on the first takedown attempt in the fight. 30 seconds into round one Sterling shot for a takedown securing Dillashaw on the ground. Here you could visibly see T.J. was in tremendous pain, his shoulder sticking out and looking badly misplaced. Dillashaw was tough enough to survive the round, however, even though Sterling had his back for over 3 minutes in round one.

In the corner of T.J. Dillashaw, head coach Duane Ludwig slickly popped his shoulder back into place before the start of round two. This would only help momentarily as the injured shoulder of Dillashaw would once again fall out of the socket after a takedown by Sterling in round two. From here Sterling noticed Dillashaw was injured and finished the fight on the ground by TKO. For Sterling, this was the first defense of his Bantamweight title, a very impressive win that won him many fans around the world.

UFC 280 – Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley

Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley was an MMA fan’s dream. This fight more than delivered earning the UFC 280 Fight of the Night Bonus. Former 135-pound champion Petr Yan (20-4) took on one of the best young fighters on the roster Sean O’Malley on Saturday. This was the closest fight on the card Saturday and was truly competitive throughout.

The first round saw an incredible pace between two of the best boxers in the UFC. O’Malley used his significant reach advantage to throw effective punches from distance against Yan. While the former Russian champion tried to find a way inside the length of O’Malley, kicking him to the body and legs on multiple occasions. The second round was one of the best rounds of the year so far in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, as both fighters landed significant strikes almost ending the fight. O’Malley opened up a large cut on the head of Petr Yan, but it was actually Yan who was the aggressor in this round stumbling over O’Malley and taking him down.

Round Three was also a competitive round with both fighters not wanting to give an inch to their opponent. O’Malley controlled the action on the feet in round two with beautiful straight punches. Yan struggled with the length of O’Malley again in this round. Petr Yan landed a takedown with thirty seconds left in the fight, but it was too little too late as Sean O’Malley earned a Split decision victory in this fight.

Belal Muhammed vs Sean Brady

In a matchup of rising contenders at 170 pounds, Belal Muhammed (21-3) took on Sean Brady (15-1). This was a very interesting matchup between two highly touted prospects. Muhammad is a UFC veteran who has seen it all, but Sean Brady (-140) according to the oddsmakers was supposed to be his toughest test yet. This fight was a one-sided affair however for Muhammed, who stopped the takedown attempts of the powerful Sean Brady forcing him to stand and strike. Belal Muhammed showed that he was the more complete martial artist in this contest knocking out Sean Brady in round two of their prelim main event. Next for Muhammed should be a number one contender matchup against the likes of Khamzat Chimaev or Colby Covington. This was a major step in the right direction for Muhammed’s career and catapults him to the top of the Welterweight rankings.

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