UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev Preview & Best Bets

A Lightweight Championship bout headlines UFC 280, as No. 1 Charles Oliveira takes on No. 4 Islam Makhachev.

  • Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022
  • Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Etihad Arena – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | TV: PPV

No Mercy For Sugar

No. 1 Petr Yan enters this bout after losing two of his past three fights. However, both losses were to current champion Aljamain Sterling, one by disqualification. Across the cage, No. 11 Sean O’Malley is one of the most promising talents in the bantamweight division, with one loss and one no contest the only blips on his 17-fight career.

O’Malley will have substantial four-inch height and five-inch reach advantages. Sugar will have the power edge, picking up 73 percent of his wins by knockout (11 KO/TKO) and averaging 0.32 more knockdowns per 15 minutes. O’Malley lands 2.3 more significant strikes and absorbs 0.4 fewer per minute.

Yan will have the grappling advantage with 0.94 more takedowns per 15 minutes and a 90 percent takedown defense to O’Malley’s 64. Neither fighter has much of a submission history. The big question in this contest is whether or not fighting Yan (the former bantamweight champion) is too big a step up in competition for O’Malley.

Yan should have a slight edge in the odds, but the oddsmakers might be overlooking O’Malley at +230. The line is too tempting not to take Sugar Sean to win outright.

The Champ And The Cheat

The UFC Bantamweight Championship is on the line when Aljamain Sterling defends his title against former champion T.J. Dillashaw.

Sterling is one of the more undervalued champions in the UFC. He received a lot of disrespect after winning the championship due to a Yan illegal knee. However, Sterling quieted some of those critics by beating Yan in their rematch.

Dillashaw is one of the most talented fighters to ever step in the cage but carries a performance-enhancing drug suspension. Both fighters will be looking for a certain recognition in this fight, Dillashaw desiring redemption and Sterling expecting respect.

Sterling will have a one-inch height and a four-inch reach advantage. Dillashaw will easily have the power advantage, averaging 0.64 knockdowns per 15 minutes to Sterling’s zero. The former champ also lands at a higher clip, averaging 0.7 more significant strikes per minute.

The reigning champion averages 0.08 more takedowns per 15 minutes, but Dillashaw has an impressive 86 percent takedown defense rate. The numbers lean toward Dillashaw, but being 36 years old and having the positive PED (EPO) test calls his endurance in a five-round fight into question. The longer this bout goes, the more it favors Sterling.

Dillashaw would have been the favorite four years ago, but today’s most likely outcome is a Sterling decision. However, Sterling will probably not be a knockout threat, and Dillashaw still has power. There’s an outside chance Dillashaw could land a knockout, and +500 are very tempting odds.

Men’s Lightweight Championship Main Event

  • Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev
  • Odds to Win: Oliveira +136 | Makhachev -174
  • How Will Fight End: KO/TKO +240 | Submission -130 | Decision +290
  • Will the fight go the distance? Yes +300 | No -430

No. 1 ranked lightweight Charles Oliveira is champion in everything but name. Oliveira was stripped of his title after missing weight against Justin Gaethje. No. 4 Islam Makhachev comes in with a near-flawless record, his only loss being to Adriano Martins in his second UFC fight.

Makhachev has an impressive UFC resume, beating Leo Kuntz, Chris Wade, Nik Lentz, Gleison Tibau, Kajan Johnson, Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, Drew Dober, Thiago Moises, Dan Hooker, and Bobby Green. However, Oliveira has finished ten of his last 11 fights.

Do Bronx is arguably the most dangerous fighter in the UFC today. He’s not just beating top competition but running through them. There’s no doubt that Makhachev is a legit threat to the title, but having Oliveira as the underdog seems crazy.

Oliveira by submission (+320) or KO/TKO (+550) is tempting, but an outright win also pays plus money at +142.

Do you have all the intel you need to win? Free actionable info is one click away! Sign up for our daily newsletter, SportsGrid Daily. 

UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachec Card

  • O’Malley to win (+230)
  • Dillashaw by KO/TKO (+500)
  • Oliveira to win (+142)